The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a dramatic historical novel of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

“An absorbing historical . . . enthralling.”—Library Journal

Bestselling author Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away.

Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the 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, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.


From the Publisher

“Lisa Wingate makes history come alive.” – Booklist;historical fiction;gifts for her;lisa wingate

“Lisa Wingate makes history come alive.” – Booklist;historical fiction;gifts for her;lisa wingate

"Lisa Wingate is a master storyteller.” – Parade ;historical fiction;gifts for her;lisa wingate

"Lisa Wingate is a master storyteller.” – Parade ;historical fiction;gifts for her;lisa wingate

“Enthralling and ultimately heartening” – Library Journal;historical fiction;gifts for her;civil war

“Enthralling and ultimately heartening” – Library Journal;historical fiction;gifts for her;civil war

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ballantine Books (June 29, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1984819909
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1984819901
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.15 x 0.87 x 7.93 inches

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The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

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