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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

From the best-selling 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)

Best-selling 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.

©2020 Lisa Wingate (P)2020 Random House Audio

Featured Article: The Best Black Audiobook Narrators to Listen to Right Now


A skilled performer has the ability to take the written word to new heights, infusing an author’s work with empathy, warmth, and excitement. And representation matters just as much for audio as it does for any visual medium: listeners should feel and hear themselves in art driven by powerful performers and authentic deliveries. We’ve gathered a few of the best Black audiobook narrators in the business and their can't-miss performances.

What listeners say about The Book of Lost Friends

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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I want more!!!

I LOVED this book. I did not want the story to end. I wanted more of the story between the end of then and the end of now!!! My heart hurts for the Lost Friends...as my heart always hurts when I read of these injustices done to any person or animal. I am so thankful for others like me who believe that God created us all equally and one should not be treated as less for any reason. Thank you Lisa Wingate for bringing the Lost Friends to life for me.

83 people found this helpful

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Should be labeled Young Adult

This book missed the mark! After "Before we were yours" i had high expectations. This book had all the makings of a good book, contrasting post civil war life for the enslaved with modern day relations between the races in a small Lousiana town was interesting. A young teacher trying to make a difference with her students, bringing their families history to life was something that could inspire young people to pursue education as a career. Problem with the book was it fell flat - not edited well and written on a pretty low reading level. I think it would be great reading for a social studies class in 7th grade or for a parent/child bookclub... but for adults it missed the mark.

65 people found this helpful

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Best read of 2020

Excellent story and a great narrative. If you have feelings of your family history you will love this story.

38 people found this helpful

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Plot holes galore

Good concept but huge plot holes. Nothing connects without giant leaps. it reads as if there were chapters cut out without regard for the story. Very disappointing

34 people found this helpful

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Amazing story...

Lisa Wingate alwsys tells a fascinating, well written story and informs the reader of a nugget of history that needs telling

27 people found this helpful

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Great book!

As a native of LA and resident of MS this story was a wonderful story of the history and struggles by those in past and present. Had a hard time putting it down- wanted to not stop once since started!! Loved all the voices true to the time, setting and ethnicity. Have enjoyed all of Lisa Wingate’s books and highly recommend them!

25 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story

I enjoyed every moment of this book. The narration was so entertaining and drew me in from the first chapter. The story was a beautiful story of family, love and devotion, blinded by color. Just like this author’s other books that I have read, this book kept me engaged from start to finish.

17 people found this helpful

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Loved the narration of this book!

Lisa Wingate has created another historical fiction masterpiece! I am a teacher and I loved how she intermingled the present day ELA lesson to the history of our nation.

14 people found this helpful

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great story, just hard to get into

I loved the historical story, but like most "now and then" stories, I much preferred the historical "then" chapters. Loved hearing from Hannie, not Benny as much. I felt like it took a LONG time to get into the story, over 1/2 way, and even then I felt it was unevenly told and my mind kept wandering. the Hannie performance is fantastic, Benny performance too curt, raspy and depressing for me.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent Story

Lisa has pulled together a great story to bring the past to the present. She weaves the lives of people together with her amazing storytelling capability.
Great readers for the audio version!

12 people found this helpful