Memphis, 1939: Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge — until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’t Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parrents — but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s real-life director, the cruel Georgia Tann, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together.
Aiken, South Carolina, Present Day: Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, a handsome fiance, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when she returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
This book is gut wrenching at times. To think of the horrors children lived through in the orphanage is unbearable, especially knowing that all of them didn’t survive. Rill Foss is a character that I will not soon forget about and this extraordinary story will stay with me for a long time. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2020 than reading this book which is also the January pick for a book club I belong to. Please, if you haven’t read this book and you enjoy historical fiction, get this book and read it!
If it wasn’t apparent from my thoughts, I gave this book 5/5 stars.