Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours, delivers another historical novel based little-known events. Discover a dramatic tale of three young women on a journey in search of family in the post-Civil War South, and a modern-day teach who rediscovers their story and its important connection to her own students' lives.
In her unique style, Lisa Wingate brings startling stories from actual Lost Friends advertisements to life, based on how they appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold off.
Journey back to Louisiana, 1875, during the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction. Three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now ravished plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia's former slave. Each woman carries her own private wounds and powerful secrets ast hey head for Texas, following dangerous roads filled with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, their journey one of inheritance and financial need, but for Hannie, separated from her mother and eight siblings before slavery's end, the pilgrimage westward sparks an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas, and, improbably, hope.
Jump ahead to Louisiana 1987, where first-year teacher Benedetta Silva takes a subsidized job at a poor rural school, which seems like the ticket she needs for canceling her sizable student loan debt, until she lands in a tine, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems skeptical of new ideas and new people, and Benny can hardly comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. Amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-hold history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.