Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate

The Book of Lost Friends

Ballantine Books

A dramatic story of three women in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students’ lives.

Louisiana, 1875: Three young women set off on a perilous quest: Lavinia, 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 with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a lost war. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from family before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage reignites the question: Could her family still be out there?


Louisiana, 1987: First-year teacher Benedetta lands in tiny, out-of-step, Augustine, Louisiana. The town seems suspicious of new ideas and new people and she can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantations lies the history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

“Wingate is a compelling storyteller . . .”
Publishers Weekly