I chose this historical novel from Libby because I’d heard it was a good read (Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction). Lisa Wingate used true events related to Georgia Tann’s Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis, TN. The story is set in the late 1930’s, and as I later researched, Georgia Tann committed these secret horrors for about 26 years. The public believed she was a wonderful woman who helped childless couples adopt orphans. Instead, we find out she kidnapped and sold children to interested wealthy couples. She believed in the blank slate theory in which children are molded mostly from their environment; impoverished children can be created into productive citizens. Meanwhile, the children were starved and lived in a “house of horrors.”
The author weaves the story of one poor family that was separated, with an elite family decades later. Two major themes include the beauty of a family bonded together in love and how our pasts influences our current lives. While the story was heartbreaking, Lisa Wingate did a fabulous job creating a satisfying conclusion. Indeed, this is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.