The dramatic story 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.
This is what I love most about historical fiction, the chance to learn things we unfortunately aren’t taught in schools ... I’ve read a ton of historical fiction about the Civil War, but I haven’t found nearly as much written about the reconstructionist era. Here, Lisa Wingate brings this piece of history to life, and I was utterly entranced by her descriptions of the way so many lives were altered by the war. Certain passages were very difficult to read, as you might expect given the subject matter, but I never felt the author was trying to shock. Instead, she handles tough subjects with a great deal of sensitivity ... I adore dual timeline novels, but it’s not uncommon for one timeline to hold my interest more than the other...Fortunately though, Ms. Wingate managed to make both stories equally compelling. Hannie and Benny are on very different journeys, but both learn a lot along the way, and so did I ... There’s a lot to unpack as you read this book, but the engaging nature of the writing makes that super easy to do. The subject matter is understandably heavy, but the stark beauty of the prose carried me through even the most difficult passages, allowing me to identify with the characters and their various plights. Not everyone is likable, but that’s okay. In fact, it adds an extra layer of authenticity to this already excellent story, making The Book of Lost Friends one of my favorite novels of 2020.
Wingate makes history come alive ... Historical fiction fans will appreciate the authentic articles and the connection between modern times and the past, while adventure lovers will enjoy a voyage reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn.
... enthralling and ultimately heartening ... Though it can take a moment to catch on, the two intertwined narratives eventually speak back and forth ... Emphasizing throughout that stories matter and should never go untold, Wingate has written an absorbing historical for many readers.