counter create hit The Book of Lost Friends - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Book of Lost Friends

Availability: Ready to download

A new novel inspired by historical events: a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students' lives. Lisa Wingate brings to life stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers a A new novel inspired by historical events: a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students' lives. Lisa Wingate brings to life stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold off. Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia's former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery's end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope. Louisiana, 1987 For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt--until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.


Compare
Ads Banner

A new novel inspired by historical events: a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students' lives. Lisa Wingate brings to life stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers a A new novel inspired by historical events: a story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students' lives. Lisa Wingate brings to life stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold off. Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia's former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery's end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope. Louisiana, 1987 For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt--until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

30 review for The Book of Lost Friends

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is a wonderful story based on true facts and records. I felt the beginning was a bit slow but this book is very much worth sticking to it. It can’t and shouldn’t be rushed. There is a lot of humanity and history here. Each chapter is begun with an ad from the original “Lost Friends” newspaper columns. This story takes place in post civil war Louisiana and Texas, although the ads in the “Lost Friends” column will take us back years earlier. It’s Louisiana in 1875 and we fi ***NOW AVAILABLE*** This is a wonderful story based on true facts and records. I felt the beginning was a bit slow but this book is very much worth sticking to it. It can’t and shouldn’t be rushed. There is a lot of humanity and history here. Each chapter is begun with an ad from the original “Lost Friends” newspaper columns. This story takes place in post civil war Louisiana and Texas, although the ads in the “Lost Friends” column will take us back years earlier. It’s Louisiana in 1875 and we first meet Hanie Gossett standing behind a stockade log fence where slaves are being held during an auction to sell some of them. She’s a young girl and watches as her family is taken from her one by one. Her mama told her never to forget her family, she had made “fifteen tiny poke sacks, hung with jute strings they stole out of the wagon. Inside each bag went three blue glass beads off the string that Grandmama always kept special”. Circumstances all come together after the emancipation so that Hannie is able to escape. Hannie is going to search for her family and the other “sacks with beads”. She is not alone, she has with her Lavinia Gossett, daughter of the owners and a creole girl, the illegitimate daughter named Juneau Jane. These characters come together under really unusual and incredible circumstances that I will leave you to discover. They stumble across an old church which is papered inside with newspaper columns. At first they think this is just a covering for the walls until they read the ads and understand that this is a history of many slaves' lives. While searching for her family Hannie also looks out for those she has found are missing and Juneau Jane adds more names and ads to a book that she has created. The other timeline is that of a young, inexperienced teacher, Benny, who is starting a new job as a teacher in an impoverished area of Louisiana where the school’s curriculum has little to do with her students real life. They are often absent because there are no parents to make sure they attend school and sometimes they are needed at home to watch younger siblings. Benny is smart enough to quickly discern that she has to find a different way to get through to these kids. She talks about “The Lost Friends” newspaper columns. Once she introduces them to the book and what it is all about they decide on a project to research and reenact one of their ancestors in a program to try to raise money for the school. Miss Wingate has again written a captivating and intelligent historical fiction novel which teaches while it takes hold of the reader’s heart. I learned so much about the South post civil war and it made that history come alive for me with these characters. I think that these characters were believable and I found both storylines to be interesting.. In the author’s notes she states that the idea for the book came “to me in the most modern of ways--via e mail. The note came from “a volunteer with the Historic New Orleans Collection”, she’d been entering database information gleaned from advertisements well over a century old. The goal of the project was to preserve the history of the “Lost Friends” column”. From this e mail and the author’s imagination this novel was born. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. This book is set to publish on April 7, 2020

  2. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Colored Tennessean (Nashville), Oct. 14, 1865 information wanted of Caroline Dodson, who was sold from Nashville Nov. 1st 1862 by James Lumsden to Warwick, (a trader then in human beings), who carried her to Atlanta, Georgia, and she was last heard of in the sale pen of Robert Clarke, (human trader in that place), from which she was sold. Any information of her whereabouts will be thankfully received and rewarded by her mother, Lucinda Lowery, Box 1121, Nashville, Tenn. ***Real Ad posted by a family Colored Tennessean (Nashville), Oct. 14, 1865 information wanted of Caroline Dodson, who was sold from Nashville Nov. 1st 1862 by James Lumsden to Warwick, (a trader then in human beings), who carried her to Atlanta, Georgia, and she was last heard of in the sale pen of Robert Clarke, (human trader in that place), from which she was sold. Any information of her whereabouts will be thankfully received and rewarded by her mother, Lucinda Lowery, Box 1121, Nashville, Tenn. ***Real Ad posted by a family member looking to reunite with a loved one. Just one of many ads placed after emancipation. Can you even imagine having to write such an ad? Can you imagine having a child, a spouse, a parent, a sibling torn from your life to never have word from them again? Can you imagine being bought and sold? Can you imagine having family members who were slaves? Can you imagine what it must be like to have ancestors who owned slaves? Can you imagine going on a journey trying to find your father to have the unimaginable happen to you so that it renders you unable to function? Can you imagine trying to inspire and motivate your students? Find a project which will make them want to learn and be proud of themselves? Inspired by historical events, The Book of Lost Friends is a story of three women on a journey in the post-Civil war south, it is also the story of a teacher who rediscovers those women's story and its connection to her students’ lives. Louisiana, 1875 - Lavinia, a spoiled heir to a destitute plantation goes on a quest with her illegitimate Creole half-sister, Juneau Jane, and her former slave, Hannie. While Lavinia and Juneau Jane are searching for their father and their possible inheritance, Hannie desperately wants to know what happened to her mother and eight siblings who were sold before the end of slavery. Will she ever see them again? Having seen ads along the way placed by freed slaves looking for family members, she wonders, could she find them this way? Louisiana, 1987 - Benedetta (Benny) Silva is a first-year teacher who is desperately trying to get her student's attention. Absences, hunger, and poverty keep many from getting a good education. Looking through an old plantation for books that her classroom and local library might use, she finds a book - a history of three women. Could this change everything for her class? The three women's journey changed their lives but will also have an impact on Benny and her student's lives as well. Slow to start this book packed a powerful punch. The story is told in two timelines with the Lost Friends ads placed in between. These ads pack a powerful punch that resonates throughout the book. BTW, all the ads placed by freed slaves have been made into a book titled " Last Seen: Voices from Slavery's Lost Families" Wingate did a great job building her plot and joining the two-story lines. They are moving and powerful. I found this book to be captivating, thought-provoking, and emotionally moving. I loved books that not only teach me something but affect me emotionally as well. Fans of Wingate and Historical fiction will find this book appealing. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4.5 stars To tell a tale of loss is never an easy task. The heartbreaking moments are many, and the realization hits the reader that these things so well related in a fictional setting did indeed take place in our country. These are things never to be forgotten, never to be relegated to the back pages of history. These are things in which a living nightmare was experienced. I have been having a bit of a time lately with the historical fiction genre. I have found it to be more on the fiction end of 4.5 stars To tell a tale of loss is never an easy task. The heartbreaking moments are many, and the realization hits the reader that these things so well related in a fictional setting did indeed take place in our country. These are things never to be forgotten, never to be relegated to the back pages of history. These are things in which a living nightmare was experienced. I have been having a bit of a time lately with the historical fiction genre. I have found it to be more on the fiction end of things than on the historical and for me that has been disappointing. However, with Lisa Wingate's, The Book of Lost Friends, I am very pleased to have found a generous believable mixture of both history and fiction. Told in two time periods, 1875 and 1987, we are transported to Louisiana. It is ten years after the Civil War and the slaves have been emancipated but in essence while they are free their struggles have not abated. It is the South with the attitude of the Klan running rampant. It is also the South where slave families have been brutally separated never to see their loved ones. Sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents have been torn from each other and not a day goes by where one of our main protagonists does not feel that all encompassing loss. Hannie, the former slave, now sharecropper, and two women, Lavinia, the heiress to a run down plantation and her half sister, Juneau Jane, a mixed race child, set out upon a journey to find their father, to settle an inheritance, meeting dangers along the way and hardship. Hannie, rekindles, as they travel, that question that plagues her constantly, could my family, that was torn from me and sold off, be out there? Hannie so desires connections just as the two half sisters do. Hope dwells in the heart of Hannie and of course the sisters as well. As they travel the book of lost friends takes on a great importance for it is in that book that people pour out their loss of family pining for the time when they can reunite with loved ones. The people in the book pledge their anguish which is then printed in a paper distributed to churches far and wide and read aloud in churches. Names are read, lineages are given, and perhaps some day families and loved ones will be reunited. The other part of the book which alternates with the 1875 component, deals with a teacher, Benedetta Silva, hoping to cancel her student debt by teaching in a run down poorly serviced school. She is the teacher to a group of high school age disadvantaged children who see no value in learning. She becomes discouraged, disappointed, and bereft as she combats apathy, hopelessness and despair. Bennie trips onto an idea, a glimmer of something that might spur her recalcitrant students. Can a project reconnecting the kids with the past of their town, ignite something in them? It's a risk but one Bennie feels in her heart is well worth taking. Connections are drawn, family is discovered, and there is renewed interest, understanding, and love shared as the happenings of 1875 unite with those of 1987. I recommend this book for the gentle telling, the awakening to the horrible instances that happened to so many in our country's history, and the part that history can and does play in the realization that remembrance brings so much into our learning of life. Thank you to Lisa Wingate, Random House-Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for a copy of this wonderful book due out April 7, 2020.

  4. 4 out of 5

    marilyn

    The Book of Lost Friends has become my favorite historical novel and, in fact, one of my favorite books that I've read.  The book includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black congregations by their preachers, searching for relatives of former slaves. The last time many of these people saw their families was in sale pens and auction yards, as they were being sold off to new owners, one or two at a time, dividing families forever, with no way of ever finding eac The Book of Lost Friends has become my favorite historical novel and, in fact, one of my favorite books that I've read.  The book includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black congregations by their preachers, searching for relatives of former slaves. The last time many of these people saw their families was in sale pens and auction yards, as they were being sold off to new owners, one or two at a time, dividing families forever, with no way of ever finding each other again. The words are so heartbreaking, so heartfelt, and some of the ads in the book even tell of family members that has been reunited through the ads. I read this book with the Traveling Sisters, more specifically, Mary Beth and Paige, of the TS because others are still reading it, and we discussed that all the brutality and cruelty of man is evident in a manner that doesn't stop us in our tracks. By reading the words of the actual people who lived as slaves and went through being bought, sold, traded, beaten, etc. all of it is so obvious but not gratuitous and also not so in your face you can't keep going. It's real, it happened, you feel the heartbreak of the people who are looking for their families, hoping for news, even if it's bad. Such strong people, white, black, Indian, mixed, being treated badly or treating each other badly. The 1875 portion of the book follows former slave Hannie, white Missy, whose family had owned Hannie for her entire life, and Juneau Jane, Missy's illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister. Missy and Juneau Jane's father has disappeared and the girls need to establish their claims to their inheritance before Missy's uncles can steal their inheritance from them. When the two girls steal off on a dangerous journey that is a mystery to Hannie, she disguises herself as the wagon driver so she can make sure she doesn't lose her claim to what she's earned as an indentured servant. In the 1987 portion of the story, young teacher Benedetta is tasked with teaching the kids of Augustine, LA, the poor kids that the rich side of town has neglected, forgotten, and expects to never amount to anything. In fact, these kids believe they will never amount to anything and have never even thought of trying to dig out of the hole of their poverty. Benny is renting a house on the land that belongs to the former plantation of Missy and Juneau Jane's father and she discovers papers that show how these children have a past and a legacy to live up to and to remember. The book starts very slowly but I think the built up and the background is worth the time it takes to show the link of the two timelines, to bring things together. If there was anything more I'd like from the book, it would be that we got to follow Hannie, Juneau Jane, and Hannie's friend Gus, into the years after the book ended. I didn't want to leave these strong, amazing, people. Hannie and Juneau Jane, while fighting to stay alive, also bring the Book of Lost Friends to all the people they meet. And young Gus vowed to pass on what he learned from Hannie, about her missing people, wherever he went and he was one to never break a promise.  Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for this ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    Told in dual timelines, Hannie is an 18 year old slave living during the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana in 1875. Having been taken from her family before slavery ended, Hannie joins the plantation owner's daughters on an odyssey of sorts to find the two girls father while Hannie herself quests to find her own mother and siblings. Benny is a first year teacher in 1987 who wants to make a difference in the lives of her Louisiana students. Benny is working on a school project about local family li Told in dual timelines, Hannie is an 18 year old slave living during the Reconstruction Era in Louisiana in 1875. Having been taken from her family before slavery ended, Hannie joins the plantation owner's daughters on an odyssey of sorts to find the two girls father while Hannie herself quests to find her own mother and siblings. Benny is a first year teacher in 1987 who wants to make a difference in the lives of her Louisiana students. Benny is working on a school project about local family lineage when her timeline crosses Hannie's past. It was very slow moving and I really struggled with the pacing. The beginning really dragged, but around chapter 9 something happens and it picks up....momentarily. After that moment of excitement, I found myself twiddling my thumbs for quite a few chapters waiting for the story to progress. It had a few more moments of ups, but most of the time I felt disinterested because it was so wordy. Hannie's story was powerful, and I wanted more from her. I didn't look forward to Benny's chapters as much as Hannie's. Graphic violence and gory details are completely left out. There is a scene that hints that something derogatory happened, but it must be inferred by the reader. I would describe this as a lighter historical fiction about family, courage, loss, and friendship. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher. Opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Lisa Wingate has woven together two wonderful stories to make this absorbing historical novel set in 1875 and 1987. Following the abolition of slavery in America, many freed slaves had no idea where there families were as they were previously sold off and dispersed by their owners. In 1875 young Hannie is the last of her large family left on the Louisiana cotton farm where they were slaves. Accidently forced to accompany her previous owner's daughter, Lavinia and half daughter, Juneau Jane on a Lisa Wingate has woven together two wonderful stories to make this absorbing historical novel set in 1875 and 1987. Following the abolition of slavery in America, many freed slaves had no idea where there families were as they were previously sold off and dispersed by their owners. In 1875 young Hannie is the last of her large family left on the Louisiana cotton farm where they were slaves. Accidently forced to accompany her previous owner's daughter, Lavinia and half daughter, Juneau Jane on a quest to look for their father, she wonders if any of her family are still alive and looking for her. Along the way she discovers a Southern newspaper that publishes a column of ads called "Lost Friends" published for freed slaves looking for their families. In 1987 a young teacher, Bennie Silva is trying to get her disengaged students in an impoverished rural Louisiana school interested in reading. She discovers that her students don't know anything about their family trees but are fascinated to learn about their ancestors and their lives. With many of the students being the descendants of slaves they soon become engaged in researching the stories of the freed slaves who stayed in the area and Hannie's story comes to life. This is a wonderful, well written and heartfelt novel with very realistic characters. Both stories made for compelling reading, particularly as they were based on real history from a time I knew very little about. With many thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for a digital copy to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars History has much to teach us. At the beginning of this book, there are notes from Lisa Wingate, about Dialect and Historical Terminology, which is where the above quote is taken from. She goes on to say: ”That was one of the reasons for the inclusion of the real-life Lost Friends ads in this book. They are the stories of actual people who lived, and struggled, and who almost inadvertently left these small pieces of themselves for posterity.” Told in two different !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars History has much to teach us. At the beginning of this book, there are notes from Lisa Wingate, about Dialect and Historical Terminology, which is where the above quote is taken from. She goes on to say: ”That was one of the reasons for the inclusion of the real-life Lost Friends ads in this book. They are the stories of actual people who lived, and struggled, and who almost inadvertently left these small pieces of themselves for posterity.” Told in two different time frames, this begins with one of the Lost Friends letters to the editor, a plea to anyone reading or hearing their story, the family they seek to find some word from, or about, knowing that the possibilities are slim, and how often names were changed along the way as names may have changed along the way. Pastors were requested to read these pleas to their congregations. ”At the very least, we must tell our stories, mustn’t we? Speak the names? You know, there is an old proverb that says, ‘We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name.’ The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we can strive to prevent.” As this story begins, the initial timeframe is 1875, in Louisiana, with Hannie Gossett sharing her story, through the retelling of a dream - a memory of when she was six years old and watching buyers gather to buy her family a little at a time, she sees them being carted off one by one and two by two, listening as her mother recites their names, and the names of those who took them, and where they were being taken. Along with Hannie, the stories of Lavinia, the daughter of Hannie’s former owner, along with Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s half sister, the daughter of Lavinia’s father and Juneau Jane’s mother, who was also owned by Lavinia’s father. The other timeframe in 1987, also in Louisiana, and this time is shared through a new teacher, Benedetta, Benny, Silva, teaching students from seventh to twelfth grade. Students who don’t want to be there, and frequently don’t show up. She begins searching for a way to motivate these students, to reach them on some level so that they will want to learn. It is a struggle, for both the students, and the teacher, until she discovers a book that will change everything. There’s so much more, but this is the kind of story that deserves to be discovered by each reader. Very moving stories are shared in both timeframes, and the Lost Friends letters are especially poignant, as these are letters that were written by real people who were searching for their lost loved ones – lost because their families were scattered, one from another, by those that purchased them as slaves, sending husbands away from their wives, mothers from their children. Listen, the road seems to admonish. Listen. I have stories. Pub Date: 07 APR 2020 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine / Ballantine Books

  8. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    5 just right stars This dual storyline book drew me in right away! I found both storylines interesting and the characters fascinating. They connected in a fantastic way and the conclusion of this book was done just right. The storyline from the past features Louisiana and Texas post-Civil War and still a very tumultuous time in this country. We have three unlikely characters thrown together on a quest to track down the head of the Louisiana plantation. One character is Lavinia, the spoiled daughte 5 just right stars This dual storyline book drew me in right away! I found both storylines interesting and the characters fascinating. They connected in a fantastic way and the conclusion of this book was done just right. The storyline from the past features Louisiana and Texas post-Civil War and still a very tumultuous time in this country. We have three unlikely characters thrown together on a quest to track down the head of the Louisiana plantation. One character is Lavinia, the spoiled daughter; next up is the illegitimate Creole daughter Juneau Jane; and finally, a former slave from the plantation, Hannie. These women set out on a dangerous journey to figure out what has happened to Mr. Gossett. Throw in dangerous men, marshals, soldiers, and river voyages and you have a journey to take with these young women. We learn of the tragic past for Hannie – torn apart from her large family when she was very young as they were stolen and sold off at different auctions all through the south. This journey might shed some light and help her find some of those lost family members. The modern-day story features a woman trying to carve a niche as a new teacher at an impoverished school in Louisiana. This town is already wary of strangers, Benny finds it tough to connect with her students who have little interest in books like “Animal Farm” and don’t see the relevance to their lives today. She starts to find a way to get them all interested in their family history and hopes to connect that to writing and literature, but it stirs up a lot of the past that some in town would like to see buried and forgotten. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this book is for you! I loved “Before We Were Yours” and this one is just as good! Highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley, Lisa Wingate, and Random/Ballantine for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest review. This one is out 4.7.2020

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    When still a child Hannie had seen her complete family sold to other plantation owners, leaving her alone on the Gossett plantation, filling her days with work from dawn to dusk. Hannie had kept Miss Lavinia, daughter of the plantation owner, company as her slave when Lavinia was a baby. In 1875, at eighteen years old, Hannie accompanied Miss Lavinia and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s free-born Creole half-sister on a journey the three of them took in search of answers. After encountering ruthless men at When still a child Hannie had seen her complete family sold to other plantation owners, leaving her alone on the Gossett plantation, filling her days with work from dawn to dusk. Hannie had kept Miss Lavinia, daughter of the plantation owner, company as her slave when Lavinia was a baby. In 1875, at eighteen years old, Hannie accompanied Miss Lavinia and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s free-born Creole half-sister on a journey the three of them took in search of answers. After encountering ruthless men at one of their stops, Hannie became the rescuer. As they journeyed further, always on the trail of Mister William Gossett, their troubles were many. But along the way Juneau Jane started jotting in a book they named “The Book of Lost Friends” where advertisements were published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a Methodist newspaper, and the many names and details which were collected, paralleled Hannie’s own story of losing her Mama and eight siblings. Benedetta Silva arrived in Augustine, Louisiana in 1987 for her position at the local school. Benny was an English teacher, and at first, she didn’t think it was the job for her. The children took no notice of her, but she knew if she didn’t find the answers, she would be out of a job. The Mississippi river town had a history, and when she discovered the old Gossett homestead near to the cottage she was renting, Benny was intrigued. Gradually, Benny and her students discovered a story of ancestors – a story of three young women, a long and tragic journey, and a book… The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate is a heartfelt, intriguing story of the days of slavery, the Civil War, and connections. A story of cruelty, of sadness, of heartbreak – and a string of beads. I found Hannie to be an amazing character; her courage and determination was outstanding. The diary entries within this book are actual advertisements which were found in the “Book of Lost Friends” which Hannie and Juneau Jane carried with them throughout the journey. And the Author’s Notes at the end explains how it all came about. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kerrin Parris

    The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate unfolds two parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the 19th century after slaves have been emancipated. The prologue opens with a student who is afraid to give a speech to an audience. This scene is repeated in the epilogue. The teacher encourages her student by saying: “Where will they hear the story if not from you—the story of being stolen away from family? Of writing an advertisement seeking any word of loved ones, and hoping to save The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate unfolds two parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the 19th century after slaves have been emancipated. The prologue opens with a student who is afraid to give a speech to an audience. This scene is repeated in the epilogue. The teacher encourages her student by saying: “Where will they hear the story if not from you—the story of being stolen away from family? Of writing an advertisement seeking any word of loved ones, and hoping to save up the fifty cents to have it printed in the Southwestern Paper so that it might travel through all the nearby states and territories? How will they understand the desperate need to finally know, Are my people out there, somewhere?” The first story is set in 1875. It is narrated by Hannie Gossett, a former slave on the Gosswood Plantation in Augustine, Louisiana. The plantation’s owner, Mr. Gossett has been gone a little too long, and there is a worry that he has died in Texas. Hannie wants to find the sharecropper papers showing the land she and her friends have been working will belong to them next year. Through a series of unfortunate events, Hannie ends up on a wild journey with Lavinia, the plantation owner’s legitimate daughter, and Juneau Jane, his illegitimate half-black daughter. Hannie continues on the journey propelled by her hope of finding her family that she was torn away from during slavery. I especially enjoyed the part of the journey through Fort Worth, Texas which was known as “Hell’s Half Acre” because of the violence and lawlessness. The contemporary story is set in 1987. It follows first-year teacher Benedetta “Benny” Silva who has just moved to Augustine, Louisiana from California. She is an English teacher who needs to work at a low-income school for debt forgiveness of her student loans. Augustine is a town where people are immediately divided into groups based on race and income. The students at Benny’s are unruly and uninspired. One of the students tells her about a library full of books at an abandoned plantation house. Benny gets permission from the young grandson who has inherited the house to use the books in her classroom. The library contains records of slave births, sales, and deaths. From there, an idea springs to life to have Benny’s students research their family history and give a live presentation of their findings. However, many in the community do not wish for that history to be remembered. The author begins each chapter with actual advertisements that were placed by former slaves who are trying to find their families. These are very poignant. 5-Stars. Book Club Recommended. This will definitely be one of my favorite reads of 2020.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “Dear Editor—I wish to inquire for my people.” After the Civil War ended, many former slaves were desperate to find family and friends from whom they had been separated when they were sold. The Southern Christian Advocate newspaper provided a space to publish letters (some of which are quoted in this book) from the seekers asking for any information as to the whereabouts of the missing. These letters were a brilliant idea. This book is written in dual time periods. Generally, I find that to be a “Dear Editor—I wish to inquire for my people.” After the Civil War ended, many former slaves were desperate to find family and friends from whom they had been separated when they were sold. The Southern Christian Advocate newspaper provided a space to publish letters (some of which are quoted in this book) from the seekers asking for any information as to the whereabouts of the missing. These letters were a brilliant idea. This book is written in dual time periods. Generally, I find that to be a strictly commercial decision rather than a literary one. Dual time period books seem to sell extremely well, even when one time period is totally unnecessary. In this case, I initially thought the story set in 1987 was a waste of time. It involves Benny Silva, a new high school English teacher in Augustine, Louisiana. The beginning of the book was very slow, and I skimmed the Benny chapters until around the 38% point when the author finally linked her story with the much more compelling story set in 1875. In 1875, 3 teenaged girls go on a journey to find the father of 2 of the girls. It is told from the point of view of Hannie Gossett an indentured servant and former slave who hasn’t seen her mother or siblings since she was six years old. Hannie works for the father of Missy Lavinia Gossett. He also fathered an illegitimate mulatto daughter, Juneau Jane. During their journey from Louisiana to Texas, Hannie and Juneau Jane compile a list of the Lost Friends notices and also added to the list by helping people they met to write their own letters to the newspaper. This search for heritage becomes linked to a class project that Benny creates to engage her indifferent students. The Lost Friends letters continued to resonate in the present. The actual Lost Friends letters were very moving and Hannie’s journey was entertaining. I could have done without the first third of Benny’s story, the not-so-surprising secret she had been carrying around and her tepid (but apparently compulsory) romance with one of the current Gossetts. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I loved this book! The Book of Lost Friends will be hard to beat for 2020. I suspect that it will be my favorite for the year. Each chapter is written in alternating timelines. In 1875 we meet Hannie, a former slave and 1987, Benny a new school teacher, trying to get through to her kids, in a very rural area of Louisiana. Sometimes reading books with alternating timelines like this can be very confusing and you simply wonder how they are going to intersect, WELLLLLLLLL, Ms Wingate did a wonderfu I loved this book! The Book of Lost Friends will be hard to beat for 2020. I suspect that it will be my favorite for the year. Each chapter is written in alternating timelines. In 1875 we meet Hannie, a former slave and 1987, Benny a new school teacher, trying to get through to her kids, in a very rural area of Louisiana. Sometimes reading books with alternating timelines like this can be very confusing and you simply wonder how they are going to intersect, WELLLLLLLLL, Ms Wingate did a wonderful job of tying the two together. I loved everything about this book. I knew nothing about post Civil War and the "Lost Friends" newspaper article. Apparently, the freed slaves would post family names in the hopes of reconnecting with family members that had been ripped from their lives. These posts would circulate through the Black churches to be read by the pastor. The chapters that begin with the "lost friends" adds were heartbreaking. I rarely (almost never) quote from books that I read, however, this is a quote that has stayed with me: "We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name." Many thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballentine Books for this advanced readers copy. This book is due to release in April 2020.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur

    ⭐️4 Stars⭐️ The Book of Lost Friends is a wonderfully written historical novel inspired by real events and set in two timelines of 1875 & 1987. Hannie Gossett was 6 years old when her entire family including aunts, uncles and cousins were sold off in trader yards on the road from Louisiana to Texas. They were supposed to be moved into a refuge during the American Civil War but instead they were re-sold by a deceitful man of greed, Jep Loach. All of her family members secretly carried three blue gl ⭐️4 Stars⭐️ The Book of Lost Friends is a wonderfully written historical novel inspired by real events and set in two timelines of 1875 & 1987. Hannie Gossett was 6 years old when her entire family including aunts, uncles and cousins were sold off in trader yards on the road from Louisiana to Texas. They were supposed to be moved into a refuge during the American Civil War but instead they were re-sold by a deceitful man of greed, Jep Loach. All of her family members secretly carried three blue glass beads in a poke sack that was a sign of their own people so they could find each other again one day. At the end of the Civil War former slaves were trying desperately to find their lost relatives that had been sold, most of them didn’t know where their relatives had ended up. ‘The Lost Friends’ were advertisements that appeared in newspapers and they would be read out in churches to help find families torn apart to be reunited again. Louisiana 1987 – Benny Silva is a young first year teacher who has moved into the area as she has been given a teaching position at the poor rural school there. She is trying hard to make a difference in the lives of her disadvantaged young students who come to school unfed and bored with her lessons. Benny is feeling like an outsider to the community and is renting an old farmhouse next to a graveyard and an abandoned plantation where she finds a private library that changes everything. Themes in this novel include slavery, poverty, loss, family separation, bravery and hope. I wish to thank Netgalley & Quercus for a providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Rated 4.5 rounded up. In Lisa Wingate’s last book, Before We Were Yours, we learned about the heart-wrenching and true circumstances involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It is an incredible book. Wingate’s latest, The Book of Lost Friends, which is also inspired by true stories, is another winner. It’s 1875 in Augustine, Louisiana. Hannie and her family were slaves to the Gossett family at Goswood Grove, their plantation. After slavery was abolished, the family was abducted and tragic Rated 4.5 rounded up. In Lisa Wingate’s last book, Before We Were Yours, we learned about the heart-wrenching and true circumstances involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. It is an incredible book. Wingate’s latest, The Book of Lost Friends, which is also inspired by true stories, is another winner. It’s 1875 in Augustine, Louisiana. Hannie and her family were slaves to the Gossett family at Goswood Grove, their plantation. After slavery was abolished, the family was abducted and tragically sold to different families in Texas. Only Hannie was returned to the place she was raised vowing to find her lost family one day. She is now 18 years old and while free, her life has barely changed. She finds herself in a dangerous journey to Texas with the plantation owner’s daughter Lavinia and her half daughter, Juneau Jane looking for their missing father. Hennie is hoping to locate any lost family members. While traveling, they learn of a newspaper that lists letters written by people also seeking lost family. The paper is sent to area pastors to read the letters to their congregations. Hennie is inspired by these stories and hopes to be able to place her own letter in the paper one day. In 1987, Benny (Benedetta) Silva, a young English teacher, takes a new job in Augustine where the high school has limited resources and the children, mostly from poor homes, are not focused on education. The Gossetts remains a powerful force in Augustine. Benny is renting a house on the former plantation. In an effort to connect with the students, she creates a project where they research their own histories. She learns that many of her students are descended from Goswood Grove’s slaves. The elder Gossetts are unhappy about this young, upstart and want the family’s history to remain buried. Many of the actual letters published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate are included in the book. Be sure to read each one. Hattie’s letter and her family are fiction but were inspired by a real family. This story is tragic yet uplifting. The characters are strong and remarkable. An old proverb is noted twice in the book, “We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name.” The Book of Lost Friends reinforces the importance of remembering those who came before us and the need to honor our past. And most importantly, the history and horror of slavery needs to be told time and time again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Overall: A well written and gripping dual timeline account centered on a small town in Louisiana in post Civil War and (close to) present day. Well developed characters and a plot that captures and holds you in. Highly recommend to fans of historical fiction. 8.5/10 or 4+/5 Triggers to be aware of: rape, abuse, slavery Summary: This is a dual timeline novel which centers on two heroines. 1875: Hannie Gosett is a freed slave who works at Goswood Grove as a sharecropper. She was separated from her m Overall: A well written and gripping dual timeline account centered on a small town in Louisiana in post Civil War and (close to) present day. Well developed characters and a plot that captures and holds you in. Highly recommend to fans of historical fiction. 8.5/10 or 4+/5 Triggers to be aware of: rape, abuse, slavery Summary: This is a dual timeline novel which centers on two heroines. 1875: Hannie Gosett is a freed slave who works at Goswood Grove as a sharecropper. She was separated from her mother and family and keeps hoping for a reunion. IIn hopes of finding her family, Hannie follows the daughters of the man who once owned her to Texas, where he disappeared thus starting an incredible adventure that will change her as well as her two traveling companions' lives. 1987- Benny Silva arrives in Augustine, LA., to teach an unmotivated and apathetic high school classroom. As a way to try and motivate and capture their imaginations, she researches Goswood Grove and finds records about Hannie’s journey to Texas. The story follows both women and switches back and forth each chapter. The Good: “The great thing about literature is that it's subjective. No two readers read the same book, because we all see the words through different eyes, filter the story through different life experiences.” I loved the writing in this book. The author has an amazing way of capturing your senses and making you feel like you are actually at whatever location she is describing, yet does it without being too flowery in her writing style. I really liked both main characters as well as their accompanying storylines, and felt myself engaged (especially in the second half) and wanting to know what happens. Based on true stories and facts, I really enjoyed the real newspaper clippings from the Book of Lost Friends throughout the book. Engaging, fast paced, overall an easy yet interesting and gripping read. The Bad: I felt there was overall a lack of depth in some areas. Never felt particularly attached to either of Hannie's travel companions. My other major critique were the romances, especially the one in Hannie's storyline. Favorite Quotes: “We encourage vigorous debate. Civil debate is a healthy and democratic process. If one cannot make one’s point without yelling, name-calling, or insulting others, one should develop a stronger argument before speaking further.” “We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name.’ The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we can strive to prevent.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    Nothing that I say will do this book and justice. I can't even find the words to write to explain how great this book is. This was a hard typic to write about in the first place but Wingate never disappoints. I can't write a review for this book, but to say if you only read one book this year let it be this book. I gave if 5 stars two times and I HIGHLY recommend this book. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed Nothing that I say will do this book and justice. I can't even find the words to write to explain how great this book is. This was a hard typic to write about in the first place but Wingate never disappoints. I can't write a review for this book, but to say if you only read one book this year let it be this book. I gave if 5 stars two times and I HIGHLY recommend this book. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Hannie Gossett is a young eight year old girl caught up in a terrible situation, she’s waiting to be sold in a slave pen, and she has slowly witnessed her entire family been torn apart by greed and slavery. Her mother Mittie, her Aunt Jenny, her brothers, sisters and cousins had all been sold and scattered all over the country as they reluctantly traveled west. Her mama told her to never to forget her family, she gave each of them a little sack with three blue glass beads to link them together f Hannie Gossett is a young eight year old girl caught up in a terrible situation, she’s waiting to be sold in a slave pen, and she has slowly witnessed her entire family been torn apart by greed and slavery. Her mother Mittie, her Aunt Jenny, her brothers, sisters and cousins had all been sold and scattered all over the country as they reluctantly traveled west. Her mama told her to never to forget her family, she gave each of them a little sack with three blue glass beads to link them together forever and to remember how much she loved them all. Louisiana 1875, Hannie is still plagued by terrible nightmares of her entire family being sold; she desperately wants to find them, she has been working hard as a sharecropper and she should own the land in a years time. She finds herself saving two two young women from awful fate and Missy and Juneau Jane are both connected to a southern plantation called Goswood Grove House in Augustine. The girls are half sisters; both share the same father William Gossett and have different mothers. The three girls embark on a dangerous journey traveling to Texas; the two sisters want to find their father, to determine which one of them will inherit his plantation and Hannie wants to know if she owns the land she has been working hard to earn for almost 10 years. After the end of the American Civil War, so many former slaves wanted to desperately find their families and relatives that had being sold and scattered all over the south. Most had very little information about where their parents, husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters could be. The Lost Friends advertisements appeared in newspapers, black preachers would read out the columns in churches in the South, it was one way of trying to find members of families torn apart by slavery and finally reunite them. Louisiana 1987, Benedetta Silva is a young teacher, she needs to pay her student loan and she’s employed to teach at a poor school in Augustine. Her students are stuck in the cycle of poverty, they often miss school and much to Benny's horror they’re sent to school hungry. They find Benny’s lessons boring she needs a way to get through to these kids; the school has little resources and especially books. She contacts Nathan Gossett her reluctant landlord, about using the books she discovers left abandoned in a library in an old plantation house he inherited. Once she, Nathan and her students start to delve into the past, they discover long lost links between the old plantation, residents of Augustine and their teenage children. The Book of Lost Friends has a dual timeline its goes between 1875 and 1987 at first I found it very confusing, I wasn’t sure if I would like the book at all and I decided to keep reading. I’m glad I did, as once it’s was all linked together at the end of the story it all makes sense and you understand why Lisa Wingate used two timelines. Its story about slavery, loss, separation, family, love and a new generation discovering hope. I gave the book four stars, I have shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Twitter, Australian Amazon, Kobo and my blog.https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vonda

    A beautifully written historical novel set in Texas and Louisiana and told from two points of view, and two time periods. 1875, Hannie is separated from her large family and is looking to find them. 1987. Benny is a single teacher making a powerful difference in the small community. It's a story of slavery and searching for lost friends, family members...loves. Amazingly it includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black churches by their preachers for those sea A beautifully written historical novel set in Texas and Louisiana and told from two points of view, and two time periods. 1875, Hannie is separated from her large family and is looking to find them. 1987. Benny is a single teacher making a powerful difference in the small community. It's a story of slavery and searching for lost friends, family members...loves. Amazingly it includes actual ads that were published in Southern newspapers and read to black churches by their preachers for those searching for relatives of former slaves. The last time many of the people had seen their families were in sale pens or auction yards being sold off to separate owners one or if they were lucky two at at a time. On the bright side some of the ads told of reunions, but regardless of the ad they were all heartfelt and heartbreaking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    Lisa Wingate has brought readers another wonderful story based on true happenings from the past. What’s even better about this one is that readers will find themselves on an adventurous journey with three young women in search of missing family. I must admit, I was more interested in the timeline from the past. These three young women find themselves traveling into the rugged state of Texas in post-civil war days, at times facing treacherous situations. Reading about Texas in those days was inter Lisa Wingate has brought readers another wonderful story based on true happenings from the past. What’s even better about this one is that readers will find themselves on an adventurous journey with three young women in search of missing family. I must admit, I was more interested in the timeline from the past. These three young women find themselves traveling into the rugged state of Texas in post-civil war days, at times facing treacherous situations. Reading about Texas in those days was interesting to me, especially because my ancestors were in Texas some years before. The present day timeline focused on a young teacher in a struggling school district in Louisiana. She is trying to find ways to interest her students in learning. When she hits upon an idea that will teach them their local and family history, the students become engaged and help come up with a way to present their stories that strikes a raw nerve with some of the people in the community. What links the two timelines together is the Lost Friends ads that were published in the Southwestern Christian Advocate. Printed in Louisiana, from 1877-1929, the focus of the ads was to help people search for their loved ones that they became separated from during the years of slavery. Because of these ads, people were able to preserve their family genealogy. Of course, the family secrets of many slave owners were outed through this process, which is what some folks in the community were not happy about. I loved finding out about the Southwestern Christian Advocate because I had always wondered about those slaves that had their families torn apart. I know that not everyone was reunited, but at least some families had the opportunity to find one another. This is a very engaging story and I highly recommend it to readers who love history and historical fiction. Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Selena

    I received a free e-copy of The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate from NetGalley for my honest review. This book takes place in Louisiana during 1988 and also in Louisiana and Texas in 1985. It is a story of the freed slaves that are trying to find their family members who were sold in slavery. A story to remind us that our past is as important as our future. A beautiful and emotional read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    Lisa Wingate sure does deliver when it comes to blending historical and contemporary fiction.    Though she's authored more than 30 books the only two I've read have both been in this format and I've loved them both.   The first was Before We Were Yours which I read in 2017 and, unlike many I've read in the three years since, my recollection of it remains vivid.   Now having just finished The Book Of Lost Friends I feel sure I'll be able to say the same thing of this title many years down the t Lisa Wingate sure does deliver when it comes to blending historical and contemporary fiction.    Though she's authored more than 30 books the only two I've read have both been in this format and I've loved them both.   The first was Before We Were Yours which I read in 2017 and, unlike many I've read in the three years since, my recollection of it remains vivid.   Now having just finished The Book Of Lost Friends I feel sure I'll be able to say the same thing of this title many years down the track.    In both cases her novels have built upon factual events.    As one of the two main characters pointed out about history ... Just because we’re not always happy with what’s true doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know it. It’s how we learn. It’s how we do better in the future.  Hopefully."      So very true and, as this was in part one of Wingates goals, she has surely succeeded with this wonderful book. Set in the post Civil War era of 1875 Louisianna, Hannie Gossett had spent the past twelve years separated from her mother and eight siblings.   Together they had been slaves at the Coswood Grove Plantation but when Hannie was only six her family was all stolen then sold off.     She alone was returned to her master at the Plantation and since that day three glass beads on a leather strap around her neck and her memories have been her only source of hope that someday they'd be reunited.   Now at age eighteen she  finds herself in the midst of a life threatening escapade - one born of both curiosity and a misplaced sense of responsibilty for Missy Lavinia, daughter of the master and mistress of the Plantation.     On the run and holed up in a remote cabin Hannie first learnt of the Lost Friends advertisements in the Southwestern Christian Advocate.     These advertisements provided a possibility for indivuduals to locate the families they'd been separated from and gave Hannie enormous hope that someday she too might find her own "lost friends".   In 1987 Benny Silva is a first year teacher who has agreed to spend five years in a low income high school in Loisianna in exchange for wiping out her student debt.   To say she's  struggling to make a connection with her peers and her students is an understatement.   However Benny is not a quitter and she's determined to provide these kids with the education and opportunities they deserve.    Her love of books and newfound interest in the local history gets the children interested but ruffles the feathers of the owners of the Coswood Grove mansion. I really enjoyed the dual timelines and was engaged in both stories.   I particularly liked the inclusion of actual Lost Friend advertisements which worked in two ways for me.    Firstly they acted as a signal for when the story was about to alternate from the past to the present.  Secondly, they stimulated my mind to think about the incredible number of families who had been wrenched apart and to consider their slavery stories.  As another character in this novel said"Sad thing when stories die for the lack of listenin’ ears."     Bravo Lisa Wingate for breathing life into the Lost Friend stories and for bringing them to thousands of listening ears.   Thanks too to Quercus and NetGalley for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review which it was my pleasure to provide.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    This story is based on factual events. Two women, Benny and Hannie lives intertwine in different circumstances. Benny is a struggling first year teacher in a rural Louisiana school. Hannie is a former slave whose still working for her former owner. She's searching for other members of her family. Lavinia is the spoiled heiress to her father's estate. Her illegitimate half sister turns up claiming her share of the inheritance. Hannie discovers the two women in a perilous situation and comes to the This story is based on factual events. Two women, Benny and Hannie lives intertwine in different circumstances. Benny is a struggling first year teacher in a rural Louisiana school. Hannie is a former slave whose still working for her former owner. She's searching for other members of her family. Lavinia is the spoiled heiress to her father's estate. Her illegitimate half sister turns up claiming her share of the inheritance. Hannie discovers the two women in a perilous situation and comes to their rescue. The story has two timelines. The 1800's where we learn about Hannie and 1987 when Be my is reaching in Louisiana. The story is captivating and fascinating. It's inspired by true events,when families searched for each other that had been separated by slavery. They had to pay to p,ace an advertisement looking for "lost friends". The story is told from Benny and Hannie's perspectives. A well written, thought provoking and interesting read. I would like to thank NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author Lisa Wingate for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joan Happel

    This is a captivating dual-time period work of historical fiction. Lisa Wingate’s newest work alternates 1875 and 1987. In 1875 we meet Hannie Gossett, a former slave, who is now a sharecropper on her former master’s decaying plantation in Louisiana. Her mother and all her siblings were traded away, and though she memorized who bought them and where, she does not know how to begin to look for them. In 1987, Benedetta “Benny” Silva has taken her first teaching job in a poor rural community in Lou This is a captivating dual-time period work of historical fiction. Lisa Wingate’s newest work alternates 1875 and 1987. In 1875 we meet Hannie Gossett, a former slave, who is now a sharecropper on her former master’s decaying plantation in Louisiana. Her mother and all her siblings were traded away, and though she memorized who bought them and where, she does not know how to begin to look for them. In 1987, Benedetta “Benny” Silva has taken her first teaching job in a poor rural community in Louisiana, where the she struggles to find a way to connect with her students through literature. In 1875 Hannie, Lavinia Gossett, the plantation owner’s legitimate daughter and Juneau Jane (Lavinia’s illegitimate half-sister) are thrown together in a quest to find Lavinia and Juneau Jane’s father. Taking them through post-civil war Louisiana and Texas, they face a myriad of dangerous men, from horse thieves to modern day slavers looking to fill the brothels. While on their journey the trio happen upon a church whose walls are covered with what appears to be random newspapers. Upon closer inspection, Juneau and Hannie discover that they are actually published letters from former slaves telling the stories of their lost friends and families, seeking to be reconnected. Moved by the letters, they gather them up and take them with. While on their journey, the book they have created with the letters becomes longer and longer as those they meet on the way, tell them their own tales. Benny’s struggles in 1987, seem insurmountable. The student’s in her classes are uninterested in what she is attempting to teach, and the problems of their own lives and struggles seem of more importance to them. Coming upon a history of the town and its inhabitants, Benny and her students come up with a project to each research an ancestor and put on a “cemetery walk” to tell the stories they have uncovered. However, the former plantation’s white descendants and others in the community do not want these stories to come out. In this wonderfully crafted mix of fiction and fact, Wingate brings the two-story lines together in a moving and heart-felt ending. The story intersperses real letters from the “Lost Friends” column that lasted into the early 20th century. This is well-researched and beautifully written. Both heart-breaking and inspiring, this is a novel that will leave every reader richer for having lived in its pages. For historical fiction fans, fans of post-civil war novels, and those who enjoy literary fiction. This will be a favorite of book groups everywhere. Thank you to Random House Publishing-Ballantine Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Lisa Wingate's The Book of Lost Friends begins slowly, but the payoff for persevering is big. The last few chapters twine the plot's twin narratives together in an effective, moving way. Let's start with the Book of Friends at the heart of The Book of Friends. After emancipation, thousands upon thousands of formerly enslaved people found themselves searching for family and friends from whom they'd been separated through sales. The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran advertisements on behalf of th Lisa Wingate's The Book of Lost Friends begins slowly, but the payoff for persevering is big. The last few chapters twine the plot's twin narratives together in an effective, moving way. Let's start with the Book of Friends at the heart of The Book of Friends. After emancipation, thousands upon thousands of formerly enslaved people found themselves searching for family and friends from whom they'd been separated through sales. The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran advertisements on behalf of those seeking loved ones, and Black clergy read these ads aloud from the pulpit every week in hopes of bringing about reunions. The ads ran from immediately after the Civil War into the first part of the 20th Century. You can view a contemporary database of these ads here: https://www.hnoc.org/database/lost-fr... In one story line, Hannie, a former slave finds herself traveling through Texas with her former owner's two daughters—one legitimate, the other born to his "high yellow" mistress—searching for their father. Hannie is worried the former owner's wife will cheat her family out of a sharecropping contact, which would grant them a plot of land after sharecropping it for ten years. The two daughters are both determined to prevent the other from collecting inheritance. The three travel, disguised as men, and on their journey find themselves collecting "lost friends" stories to share in hopes of facilitating some reunions themselves. In the second story line, set in the 1980s, a naive teacher takes a job at a rural Louisiana school in order to earn student-loan forgiveness. The school is miserably under-resourced; the students are disengaged, with few hopes for the future. At this moment, the book could have turned into a "white savior" narrative, but Wingate avoids that by having the students find their own way out of disengagement, conducting family histories and research on the history of the town they live in and its Black Library (now desegregated), built with Carnegie funds when the town refused Blacks admission to the single library available during the late 1880s. As I said at the start, this book opens slowly, and I considered leaving it unfinished at several point, but I'm very glad I didn't. The book is sentimental in places, but there's something larger and more challenging at its heart that is worth reading. I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Told in alternating chapters, the story is based upon "Lost Friends", the advertisements of freed slaves looking for family members who had been sold to various new owners. 1875. The Civil War is over and Hannie is working hard to gain their small plot of land promised them after ten years of sharecropping. But she doesn't trust the Missus to honor the agreement. When Lavina, the pampered daughter of the plantation owners, schemes to disinherit Juneau Jane, her father's daughter with his Creole m Told in alternating chapters, the story is based upon "Lost Friends", the advertisements of freed slaves looking for family members who had been sold to various new owners. 1875. The Civil War is over and Hannie is working hard to gain their small plot of land promised them after ten years of sharecropping. But she doesn't trust the Missus to honor the agreement. When Lavina, the pampered daughter of the plantation owners, schemes to disinherit Juneau Jane, her father's daughter with his Creole mistress, she puts their lives at risk. Hannie inadvertently becomes embroiled in their venture and search for their father. Despite: "I got no reason to care about either of these two girls, and I don't. All I am is somebody to tend their field, or wash their clothes, or cook their food. What do I get back for it, even now that the emancipation's come? Belly that's hungry more often than not and a roof that leaks over my head and no money to fix it till we can pay off the land contract. Just skin and muscle and bone. No mind. No heart. No dreams." Hannie continues to care for Lavina and Juneau Jane. Their search takes them from Louisiana through the Texas frontier. While on their journey they record the "lost" stories they hear along the way to post when they can. Hannie too is looking for her lost family members. 1987. Benedetta, "Benni", Silva is anxious about her first teaching assignment in Augustine, Louisiana, a poor, rural town along the Mississippi River. Neither the town or the students are quick to embrace the new teacher. What Benni finds is: "The thing about so many of the kids here-country kids, town kids, a sad majority of these kids-is that their norm is constant drama, constant escalation. Conversations start, grow louder, get ugly, get personal. Insults fly and then lead to pushing, shoving, hair pulling, scratching, throwing punches, you name it. Broken homes, broken neighborhoods, financial stress, substance abuse, hunger, dysfunctional relationship patterns. All too often, children in Augustine grow up in a pressure cooker". Benni is desperate for a way to connect with these kids, and finds it in a history project where the kids trace their roots and the history of the town. What they discover is heroes, ugly truths and how they are interlinked with each other. I loved the strength and fortitude of both Hannie and Benni and how their stories were intertwined. They both discovered: "We all have scars. It's when you're honest about them that you find the people who will love you in spite of your nicks and dents. Perhaps even because of them. "

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    This story is based on factual events. Two women, Bennie and Hannie's lives intertwine in different circumstances. Benny is a struggling first year teacher in a rural Louisiana school. Hannie is a former slave whose still working for her former owner. Shes searching for other members of her family. Lavinia is the spoiled heiress to her father's estate. Her illegitimate half sister turns up claiming her share of the inheritance. Hannie discovers the two women in a perilous situation and comes to t This story is based on factual events. Two women, Bennie and Hannie's lives intertwine in different circumstances. Benny is a struggling first year teacher in a rural Louisiana school. Hannie is a former slave whose still working for her former owner. Shes searching for other members of her family. Lavinia is the spoiled heiress to her father's estate. Her illegitimate half sister turns up claiming her share of the inheritance. Hannie discovers the two women in a perilous situation and comes to their rescue. This story has two timelines. The 1800's where we learn about Hannie and 1987 when Benny is teaching in Louisiana. The story is captivating and fascinating. It's inspired by true events, when families searched for each other that had been separated by slavery. They had to pay to p,face advertisements looking for "lost friends". Thr storybis told from Benny and Hannie's perspectives. A well written, 5hought provoking and interesting read. I would like to thank NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author Lisa Wingate for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Contrary to other readers I just couldn’t finish this. The story line did nothing for me, the characters were flat, and the writing was mediocre. That’s too many flaws for me to move beyond the halfway mark. I have other complaints but I’ll just move on rather than rant.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book moved me beyond words. Nothing explained slavery more to me than the real ads run by a black newspaper after the Civil War. The ads cost 50 cents and were from people trying to find their families. How sad that you had to save up to try to find your parents and your siblings. They broke my heart of people sold from one place to another and then listing their missing families. Some had huge families, one 19 children, and all had been sold to different people. These ads ran between the t This book moved me beyond words. Nothing explained slavery more to me than the real ads run by a black newspaper after the Civil War. The ads cost 50 cents and were from people trying to find their families. How sad that you had to save up to try to find your parents and your siblings. They broke my heart of people sold from one place to another and then listing their missing families. Some had huge families, one 19 children, and all had been sold to different people. These ads ran between the two stories, one from Hannie, a freed slave after the War and one from Benny, an idealistic young teacher in 1987. They both center around the local plantation in Augustine, Louisiana. Hannie is a remarkable person who helps the two young daughters of the plantation out of some very risky situations. Their journey to help the daughters inherit and find find their father take them to Texas in a very rough, unsafe time. 100 years later, Benny has student loans to pay off so she takes a job teaching at a low performing school. The supplies are almost non-existent and most of the teachers have given up. Benny stumbles into a project that has the kids researching their history. It's inspiring. The stories fluctuate between their stories. I normally don't like this but the stories are so intertwined that it makes sense in this book. Reading the book is like floating down the Mississippi River, soft but impactful and every once in awhile there is a punch to the stomach. This is a lovely book that I couldn't recommend more highly. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you, Lisa Wingate, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book! I immediately snagged The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate because I loved her previous book Before We Were Yours. This book follows two timelines. The first is post-Civil War Louisiana where three women embark on a journey to Texas. The first is Lavinia is the heir to a plantation that is facing financial difficulty. The second is Juneau Jane who Lavinia’s illegitimate half-sister. Then finally, H Thank you, Lisa Wingate, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book! I immediately snagged The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate because I loved her previous book Before We Were Yours. This book follows two timelines. The first is post-Civil War Louisiana where three women embark on a journey to Texas. The first is Lavinia is the heir to a plantation that is facing financial difficulty. The second is Juneau Jane who Lavinia’s illegitimate half-sister. Then finally, Hannie. Hannie is Lavinia’s former slave. Lavinia and Juneau Jane are looking to find information regarding their inheritance. Hannie is just looking for family that she was separated from when she was sold into slavery. The second timeline takes place in Louisiana in 1987. Benny Silva is a teacher at a local school and is desperate for them to become interested in literature. After finding a local treasure trove of books from a local plantation that contains local history, she may have just found a way to get to these kids. I absolutely loved Before We Were Yours. It still haunts me and I read it years ago. I wanted to love this book just as much. I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. There are so many parts of the story that are so slow that it is almost hard to follow. The switching of timelines didn’t come together cohesively and was a bit jarring. Although, the storylines are quite beautiful individually. Hannie discovering letters and her desperation to find her family moved me to tears more than once. Reading the real letters throughout the book broke me. But it is a part of history that is so important to learn about and puts things into perspective. I did absolutely adore Benny and her determination to ignite passion in her students. I know so many teachers that have this same drive and I love how the author really depicts Benny fighting for her students. I love her creativity with her students. Honestly, it would be a dream to stumble on a treasure trove of old books filled with history. This made me almost giddy while reading the book. Overall, I liked it but I wanted to love it. So I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    2.5 STARS rounded up! So it's with a heavy heart that I leave this not so favorable review and by the looks of it I am definitely in the MINORITY so far. I am heartbroken and disappointed that I didn't take more away from this book than I hoped to. This is my third novel by Lisa Wingate and I have absolutely adored her previous books. "Before We Were Yours" will forever be a favorite of mine. I commend these types of authors for putting in the work and research it takes to make a book like this 2.5 STARS rounded up! So it's with a heavy heart that I leave this not so favorable review and by the looks of it I am definitely in the MINORITY so far. I am heartbroken and disappointed that I didn't take more away from this book than I hoped to. This is my third novel by Lisa Wingate and I have absolutely adored her previous books. "Before We Were Yours" will forever be a favorite of mine. I commend these types of authors for putting in the work and research it takes to make a book like this as authentic as possible, Unfortunately, I continuously struggled the entire way through and had difficulty connecting to any it. From the pace, to the flow of language, it was all very disjointed for me as a reader. Of course it's well-written Lisa Wingate is a brilliant author, it just lacked anything compelling for me to keep my attention. It is a courageous story and a time in history that continues to fascinate me as a reader. The Book of Lost Friends, historically was something I had never heard of and if this book is able to bring that to light and make people aware than it prevails. I do think this book will have great success with readers but regrettably my opinion was less stellar than I would have hoped. Again a special thanks to NetGalley and the publishers at Random House- Ballantine books for providing me with an early digital copy.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.