February 7, 2020

The Book of Lost Friends

Title: The Book of Lost Friends
Author: Lisa Wingate
Type: Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Random House/Ballantine Books
Published: 2020
Pages: 352
Stars: 5/5

This book comes out April 7, 2020

Thank you NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine Books for an advance copy of this book an exchange for an honest review.

“We die once when the last breath leaves our bodies. We die a second time when the last person speaks our name. The first death is beyond our control, but the second one we strive to prevent” 

What is this book about?
Post Civil war in Louisiana 1875… Three woman head to Texas for different reasons. Lavinina, a former slave owner, Juneau June, her free-born half sister and Hannie, Lavinina’s former slave. For the sisters, they are trying to find their father to see what his final wishes are regarding his land and who is suppose to inherit it. For Hannie, she is desperate to find her 8 siblings and mother who she was separated from before the war ended. Is her family alive and will she find them? Post civil war is dangerous in the south. Will these women find their way safely?

Louisiana 1987 Benny Silva is a first year teacher taking a job in a rural town in Louisiana. As she finishes her first few weeks she’s not sure she’s cut out for what the job entails. The students don’t trust her, they aren’t respectful, they don’t care about learning and many live in poverty. Benny is determined though and the students begin to learn about the towns rich history and the students become engaged and they become excited to go to her class.

What did I think?
Wow! Wow! Wow! It’s hard for me to articulate how much I loved this book and how much it made me think. The story goes between two different time lines. One is post civil war and the other is late 1980’s. Being born in the mid 1980’s it really put into perspective how slavery really wasn’t that long ago. It seem like we are so far removed from it but in reality its only been about 150 years. The story articulates well what the time period was like in the south post civil war and how dangerous it was for freed slaves. I also had no idea that many freed slaves wrote letters to a newspaper looking for their loved ones. It pulled at my heart strings. I can not image my boys being ripped out of my arms and sold. Wingate included these letters within her book and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking. Lastly, Benny’s storyline, a teacher in the 1980’s and how she ends up connecting her students to the towns history is just amazing. I felt so connected to these characters that I cried several times. Great read!!