Book Title: The Book of Lost Friends
Author: Lisa Wingate
Goodreads Link: Click here
Release Date: 4/7/20
Star Rating: – Really good book. Recommended.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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. – Goodreads
If you believe what Gone With the Wind and your public school education tells you then slavery and racism in America concluded at the end of the Civil War. In fact, for those who were enslaved the misery persisted long afterward. The Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and current methods of disenfranchisement has served to keep many black people from reaching their full potential.
In her book, Ms. Wingate shines a light on an aspect of the ordeals of the enslaved to reunite their families post-slavery. I had never heard of the Lost Friends ads before. In Louisiana, a newspaper called the Southwestern Christian Advocate, posted advertisements where people could search for lost loved ones who had moved or been sold away during slavery. Local churches would read those advertisements aloud in order to help people find their families again. It is heartbreaking but life-affirming. People will always find a way to try to be together again and I sincerely hope that many of them did find one another again.
In this book, a young woman named Hannie is in search of her family, but also finds herself on a journey to help a young white woman, one of her former owners, and the girl’s half-white, half-Creole sister reclaim an inheritance from a missing father.
In the present day, well the 1980’s, a young teacher finds records and the lost friends articles and hopes to use them to reach her teenage students, and allow them to make a connection with their past.
I enjoyed this book. It’s not often that I stray outside of fantasy books lately, but the synopsis for this one captured me. Ms. Wingate treats the subject with respect and skill. I’m glad I read it. I hope you will like it as well.
Bonus link: Lost Friends database at the Historic New Orleans Collection