Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
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.
About The Author
True grit, stamina, and complete determination, along with hidden family skeletons. We are given two young woman over hundred years apart, one a struggling teacher in a hard school, the other a freed slave who used to live on the property that our teachers renting.
Of course, they never meet, but what a connection is formed here, I felt like I was living history. These woman go to great extremes to help those they are now in charge of, and you wonder where they get the fortitude to continue.
The story has a great amount of history, showing a great deal of injustice, and if you try and put yourself in Hannie's shoes, I couldn't. There are tears and smiles, and be sure to read the notes at the end, full of information, and completion!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Ballentine Books, and was not required to give a positive review.
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