Historical Fiction

Book Review – The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate


Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: None
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: 4/7/2020
Pages: 400




Goodreads Synopsis –

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 live 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.

My Opinion –

This book is exactly why I love historical fiction. I was entertained, felt for the characters, and learned something along the way!

Told in alternating time periods ,1875 and 1987, this is the story of two young women Hannie and Benedetta (Benny). Hannie is an eighteen-year-old freed slave, still working the land of her former owner. Benny is a first-year English teacher, in a school that cares more about keeping the students out of trouble than their education.

I found both of these young women just as fascinating. I found Benny’s determination incredibly inspiring. She will do whatever it takes to give her students the education they deserve, while unknowingly uncovering secrets that certain people would rather remain buried. Hannie is a very spunky, smart young woman. She finds herself in a very precarious position and on a journey of a lifetime, all while trying to protect two daughters of her former owner.

I was not familiar with the Lost Friends ads prior to reading this book! They made an incredible backdrop to this very enlightening, touching, heartfelt book. Lisa Wingate did an amazing job blending fact and fiction in a story that I will not soon forget!

*Thank you Ballentine for the opportunity to read and review this book via NetGalley for my honest opinion.

Other Lisa Wingate books I have reviewed:

Before We Were Yours

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9 thoughts on “Book Review – The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

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