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The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Audio Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

  • 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Wonderful! Just wonderful!

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  • 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Great book!

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  • Candace W.

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

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  • Susan H.

    Absolutely marvellous

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  • Gretchen C.

    Enjoyed the story and narrators.

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  • Kathryn T.

    Good book, wish the ending was a bit better

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  • 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.

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  • Ann D.

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

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