Date: April 2020

Duration: 15 hours 8 minutes


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.


  • Vonda P.

    I love this story. The language of the narrators brought depth to the characters. I would not know if it would be the same story had I not listened to it. The readers made me feel closer to Hanna and Bennie. I love the weave and connection of the century of story and suspect it is what we need more than anything else today. A personal story to connect us so we may be more, a part of something bigger and more meaningful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Pat E.

    Wonderful tale written by a true story teller, Lisa Wingate. The narrators - and I love that they used more than one for this story - were absolutely fabulous. I have never heard of the Book of Lost Friends and am so grateful it actually exists. What a treasure house for those looking for their family members who were enslaved. Our history, all of it, even the parts that make us uncomfortable, needs to be told and understood as it was in the framework of its own time. This book does that brilliantly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Gaynell S

    Wonderful book. Well written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful! Just wonderful!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    I could not stop listening to this book. I was angry each time to be switched back and forth between time periods because I wanted to stay with each, simultaneously. That is the sign of two powerful narratives told in harmony and distinction. I highly recommend this book and excellent narration.

  • Marcia Bear

    Well-written story of a dark time in history.

  • Nikwill1

    Great book! Enjoyed every minute.

  • Sharon H.

    This was a great read’

  • Debra B.

    Engaging book. Hard to put down. Interweaving lives from post slavery to modern times and how the past impacts the present.

  • Anonymous

    Great book!

  • Candace W.

    So we’ll written. Amazing story. Narrated by an excellent group!!

  • Susan H.

    Absolutely marvellous

  • Gretchen C.

    Enjoyed the story and narrators.

  • Kathryn T.

    Good book, wish the ending was a bit better

  • Karen H.

    Excellent fictional story woven around a fascinating, though tragic, historical activity by which formerly enslaved people emancipated during the Civil War tried to find their families separated by auction, trading, and kidnapping, even after the war. The story brought in other historical events, such as the Mason County war, images of new Ft Worth and Austin, the sharecropper equivalent to slavery, deprivations and scams experienced by many, painted a detailed picture of life in Louisiana and Texas after the war. The outrageous prejudices continue 100 years later as attempts are made to prevent economically disadvantaged children of color and white children from learning of their ancestors who once owned the local cotton plantation or were enslaved by its owners. While this sounds sounds grim, the story is uplifting. Superb narration caused me to cry near the end of the story because I could feel the character’s emotion. Includes author notes at the end.

  • Ann D.

    Beautiful wrote book. The story keeps you interested and engaged to hear more.

  • Cindy P.

    This story came to life and I was enthralled from beginning to end. I loved the connection that the author made that brought the lives of the people from the late 1800’s to the 1980’s together. The narrators made the characters believable and lifelike.

  • Whitney C.

    great book, great narrators

  • Peggy T.

    Enjoyed this book.

  • Gina W

    Please don’t ever stop writing books, Lisa Wingate . You are a supreme story teller . I was so entranced back & forth into time periods. I loved Hanny’s story the most. Her narrator was so excellent!!! I loved every description, nuance , WORDS! Thank you for taking my mind away

  • Veronica J.

    Another amazing story from Lisa. We chose the book for the road trip to our only sons wedding. My husband, who is not a reader by nature, was immediately engrossed in the story. We loved all the characters especially Hani and Benny. This time in history that you so beautifully represented should not be forgotten, taken for granted, or minimized. Loved the book and hats off to the narrators who brought it to life. Can’t wait for the next one.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could give this read 10 stars! I enjoyed ALL of the narrators. The story was wonderful. I would recommend this as a listen just to experience the voices. I will be thinking of this book for a long time!! More kids should read this book to know their genealogy. Again, I just loved it all!!

  • Molly W.

    I loved this book. It was easy to follow which time period they were in due to different narrators being used. I didn't want the book to end.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent read! Outstanding narration!!!

  • Ferraris79

    This was so slow moving, I just couldn’t stand to listen to it anymore. I was disappointed that I wasted a credit on this. The story is an important one to be told, but it was told in such a boring manner.

  • LCaldwell

    I could NOT have loved this book any more. I laughed, I CRIED. Absolutely beautifully written and narrated. If this isn’t a best seller, I will loose faith in the list.

  • Lisa S.

    Absolutely loved this book! Loved the narrators! Ended too soon for me! I needed more Hanna and Bennie in my life!

  • Mary T.

    Listening to this book is an advantage over reading it. In alternating chapters, we bond with both the former slave of the late 1800’s & with the young teacher in the 1980’s. Hearing their stories allows us to personally know them through the feelings & influences pronounced in their voices. They become friends to us. As in true Wingate fashion, we develop empathy as readers & there is, of course, “the message” we internalize as we read. Whether it is through the suffering of a slave or a teacher attempting to teach & guide minority kids, we realize the bigotry which existed in the 1800’s, continues in modern times. It is a message we need to realize before we deliberately work toward change. Lisa Wingate does not disappoint.

  • Nicole N.

    Narrators were fantastic. The writing was slow and wordy, but the audio performance made up for it.

  • Kathleen A.

    I had a hard time getting into it, but ultimately really enjoyed it. Narrator did a great job.

  • Barbi N.

    Amazing book. Had a hard time getting into it. Once I did I was hooked. I didn’t want it to end. Wonderful history tied into modern day.

  • Edwina M.

    I enjoyed this book tremendously until the las couple of hours. It ended as the action was still rising with no real climax and much of the resolution taking place off stage. Nicely written and engaging, but ultimately disappointing.

  • Vicki K.

    Lisa Wingate never disappoints! This book was well written, with well-developed characters that the reader can’t help but care about. I loved how she wove past and present into a touching, beautiful novel. Great readers, as well. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

  • Rita F.

    A wonderful book It was so interesting and so much to learn I really loved the book.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to see this as required reading in our high schools. Everyone knows there was slavery, but the characters in this book make it so personal and real. I've seen some of my own family's documents that showed which slaves were expected to go with a daughter as she marries to help set up her home. What a disgrace! I desperately hope my family was at least kind to these precious people they thought they were entitled to. Thank you Sue Monk Kidd for such an enlightening book!

Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

by Lisa Wingate

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Book of Lost Friends: A Novel, Lisa Wingate
Book of Lost Friends: A Novel, Lisa Wingate
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