Margaret Butler

This is the most dull book I have ever tried to read...I'm struggling... I read the review so I'll give it a little more time...but holy cow...this is nothing like the book "Before We Were Yours." That captured my attention and kept it. This is like penance so far. I have to ask a question so here's my question: Has anyone else found this to be true with this book?

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Cathy Wow - I feel exactly the opposite. I enjoyed 'Before we were Yours", but I couldn't put down "The book of Lost Friends". It opened my eyes (and my heart) to the plight of the slaves who were scattered without any regard for their feelings. And Benny's timeline showed me that the history of the South isn't all history, there were lingering fears and prejudices from both the white and black inhabitants. I loved the book.
Alexis The topic was so interesting! I don't know how the book could have been so boring. I gave it 3 stars just based on the history and because, as a teacher, I liked Benny's lesson plan, but it was like there were 1000 words for every useful detail. I majorly skimmed.
Laura Loved it. Loved the history behind it and the way it was written. Loved Before we were yours also. There are plenty of books that get great reviews that I struggle through. I want to read more about the civil war, and slavery. There is so much that has been forgotten. I guess I just love historical fiction.
Jo I find it interesting how many agree with your assessment. I gave this book five stars, which I rarely do. I found myself rereading many of Hannie's descriptions and analogies because I thought they were beautifully written, although at first, I thought her language was tedious to read. And, Hannie's adventures held my interest from the beginning. To each her own, I guess!
Deby I definitely struggled. I pushed through, but after finishing it, I'm not sure that I'm glad that I did.
Christine Ledesma Yes I struggled as well while 3 members of my book club that I am usually aligned with loved it. So glad to read these comments, thought it was just me. Disappointed it wasn't the intrigue that Before We Were yours was, this had potential but moved much too slow and the characters at times were confusing.
Lillian I just finished it and while I am glad to have read it for my book club, I can't honestly recommend it to others. It was a lot of work to get through and I found the end disappointing.
Susan Sutton I was glad I read it, but felt that there were too many ruminations by both characters that got a little tedious for me. She could have edited those and added more at the end to wrap up Bennie’s story better.
Tammy Seyfried I couldn't stop reading it. I was caught up in Hannie's story.
Vicki Look for her beautifully written phrases, like this one on page 348:
"Sleep finally comes like a summer dry river, a trickle that's shallow and splits around rocks and downed branches and tree roots, dividing and dividing, till by morning it's the thin bead of gathered morning dew, dripping lazy off the army tent overhead." These poetic words are scattered throughout the book. I am reading Before We Were Yours and I am not finding that although the story got started faster, I agree.
Elaine Yes, reading now and struggling with whether or not I should continue reading it or move on to another one. I read "Before We Were Yours" and couldn't put it down.
Denise Yes! I usually love her books, but I struggled the whole way through this book.
KD Lisa Wingate is one of my favorite authors. I have read almost everything she has published, and The Book of Lost Friends is superb. To be bored by such a heart wrenching story is sad. This book was an absolute joy to read. The catch at the end made me cry. That is mark of a well told story - if the author can bring me to tears, she is five stars. As a high school English teacher I gave a copy to my student teacher and to my principal and both came back with positive reviews. I read this after being blown away from reading Colston Whitehead's The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize) and it did not disappoint. This a story of heartache and mystery and perseverance and a demonstration of how we are all connected in our struggles and history. Thank you, Ms. Wingate!
Denise I loved it but it could have been because I listened to the audio version and the cast was delightful!
Meg Lelvis I'm very distracted these days, and I found it hard to concentrate on the many characters in the families....who were bought and sold, etc. Very heartbreaking, but difficult to muddle through. I enjoyed Benny's story, but I'm afraid I gave up. I really liked Before We Were Yours.
Karen Klein I'm so glad it's not just me lol! Now I won't feel bad when I return it to the library unfinished.
Lisa E Ryan I fell in love with this from the beginning just like I did with "Before We Were Yours". I could tell it was well researched and I enjoyed the dialect of the time period with Hannie's story. I am sorry you struggled with it. I enjoyed both the stories and think Lisa does an amazing job with dual timelines as she does in many of her books.
Shirley Spangle I ended up loving the book but I have to admit that it dragged a bit at the beginning but that happens to me a lot recently. It's well worth the slow start!
Sandi I struggled. Loved Before we were Yours and just couldn't get into this book. We are discussing it at our next book club so it will be interesting to see if others have the same reaction as I did.
Michele Wright I wouldn't call it dull. Perhaps that is because I listened to it. The cast of narrators (one in particular Bahni Turpin who is one of my absolute favorites) kept my interest.
I agree with someone's comments that said there were "1000 words for every useful detail". If I had read the actual book instead of listening to it on audible, I'm sure I would have skimmed many paragraphs. I enjoyed the story and kept with it because I really wanted to see each characters stories Hannie and Benny all the way to the end.
Stephanie Smith Yes!! The story was great but for me the writing was not my style. It felt all over the place at times and wasn't very clear.
Kim Padan I absolutely loved it! I listened on Audible; perhaps having it read aloud was helpful.

Initially, I was confused because the real-life ads for Lost Friends were not relevant to the plot line. Once I realized that, I was consumed by the story.
Hege Herfindahl I agree. I was deeply disappointed.
Wilma Ann Totally agree! Before We Were Yours was gripping and had great characters. This one just plodded along. As a teacher, I was a bit displeased by the stereotypical principal, school board and other teachers. Usually there is at least one ally in such a situation. Basically, the plot involving Benny was predictable--rescuing underprivileged kids with a handsome male by her side.
Linda I was pleased to learn about the "Lost Friends" column in the Southwestern newspaper, and those "ads" in the book were very interesting. But this book really bombed for me. Hannie's journey is too long and complicated. And whatever actually did happen to Missie, to make her a zombie type person? And Benny, the modern day teacher, who researched and helped her students to discover their slavery roots could have been more effective, had the author not thrown in the budding romance with Nathan.

Sadly, the book was dull. I plowed thru it, hoping that it would pick up, but alas, it felt like drudgery.
Rose Brooks Me too. I was hoping for something as riveting as Laurence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, but unfortunately the voices of black slaves as rendered by a white woman just didn’t ring true for me. After a few chapters I found that I just could not reconcile that disparity and abandoned the book.
Blanche totally a struggle !
Sheryl I am reading it now and finding it too slow moving for me. I am 43% done in the kindle version and it's somewhat of a chore to pick it up everyday but I will finish it and hope it picks up. There are parts that are good, but then it just drags on. To be fair, I'm reading after work each night and part of the problem may be that I am already tired but it puts me to sleep every night after about a chapter.
Signe Anderson I too struggled with this book. I am glad I finished it, learned some sadly interesting history, but for me, it definitely was not the easy read "Before We Were Yours" was!
Kathy I had a hard time getting through this book, not sure if it was because of the back and forth between time periods, it just seemed to drag on. the history behind the Lost Friends is interesting,
Janine Tunay Ok, I thought it was just me. I couldn't put down "Before We Were Yours" and I'm 90% done with this one...I was wondering if I missed something ...but it appears not
Kathryn Once I got used to the back and forth between past and present, I plowed through the book... I enjoyed it immensely but have to say I was thrown by the detail about Benny tossed in at the end.
Maryellen Walter Me also, Struggled to finish.
Heidi Tumbarello Eek...I definitely wasn't bored with this book. As a matter of fact I absolutely loved this book, my first Lisa Wingate book and therefor can't compare to *Before we were yours* ...though I'll definitely read it.
I was captivated by both Hannie's and Benny's story.
I loved the prose and was totally immersed in the story.
Shedding light on such a difficult time period with empathy and insight was very much appreciated.
Curt R I agree with you. I enjoyed "Before We Were Yours" but there was no point in this book that I could not have set it down and walked away. For some reason the characters and the story just did not draw me in. I did finish it for book club so will wait and see how the other review it.
Rod Griffin I found “The Book of Lost Friends” to be my least favorite of all the ones that I have read by Lisa Wingate. It started very slowly and didn’t capture my attention like all of the other books that I have read by her. I struggled to continue reading it because I am not one to quit. I was glad that I didn’t give up because about 150 pages into the book it finally started moving and I became very interested in following the story. I learned so much about the plight of the slaves that I did not know and how they were separated from their families. It also showcased biases and feelings that have lingered for well over one hundred years. It was interesting to see how the lives of all the people, white and black, were interwoven. However there were many unanswered questions left at the end of the book regarding people and incidents that were introduced in the story but never followed up on or explained in enough detail. The historical information was very good but it was not one of Wingates best works, in my opinion.
Angel Yes! I felt the same way. I loved Before We Were Yours but hate this one. I struggled through it. I feel like she could have done a better job.
Stacey I completely agree. I was so excited for this book because I absolutely loved "Before We Were Yours", but it was a huge disappointment. The storyline skipped around a lot and left a lot of holes in the story.
Emily Amen! And thank you for saying this
Lori I did have a hard time getting drawn in but once I was, I couldn't put it down. I especially loved how it all pulled together at the end. Wonderful book! I hope you finished it. :)
Jenny Brown I just came back on here to see if anyone else was feeling this way (I'm not even half way through it, and I'm considering putting it down). I feel bad that I'm not more into it, but . . . I don't think I can hang.
Sheri Agreed. I was looking forward to reading this book, borrowed it on my Kindle, and after attempting to immerse myself in it several times, I returned it. This book did not interest me.
Lani Wheeler I agree with Cathy. I just finished listening to this for the 2nd time, this one for a book club. I got even more out of it this time. I found it extremely intriguing, too.

Cathy said:
I enjoyed 'Before we were Yours", but I couldn't put down "The book of Lost Friends". It opened my eyes (and my heart) to the plight of the slaves who were scattered without any regard for their feelings. And Benny's timeline showed me that the history of the South isn't all history, there were lingering fears and prejudices from both the white and black inhabitants. I loved the book.
Sandra Montanino But the premise of the story is quite insightful. It's something I never thought about and naive to think that just because the Civil was was over, families just automatically returned to each other and lived happily ever after. The book may have some rough spots, but the story is still an interesting one.
Pat Jurgens My comments about Book of Lost Friends were not printed. Only my photo. Learning curve factor?
Sherry After having read “ before we were yours”, I was excited to read something more from Lisa Wingate. “The book of lost friends” did not disappoint. Beautifully crafted and authentically narrated, I believed Hannie and Benny were real.
Lilly Novick I am struggling! I am skimming to get me through. I keep hoping it gets better since it got almost 5 stars. I too loved "Before we were yours" a little disappointed this book isnt as good.
Candace Like Cathy below, I didn't struggle. I might not have seen the places it would take me, but the trip was captivating and the stories were all so moving. It touched me. Did we know about the thousands upon thousands of people who were torn from the parents/siblings/children they loved before we read this? It was gritty and appalling and joyous and sad and full of history and beautifully turned phrases. If something moves me like this book did, I consider it wonderful. This was decidedly not dull to me.
Sandra I'm listening to the book. I found it hard to comprehend until I read the reviews. The section about the 3 escapees is read with a very southern accent. Took a bit of getting used to. So far like the teacher story but I am a retired teacher. I agree the plight of he slaves, even after they were emancipated was, and often is, dire.
Carol Van buskirk I had trouble when I got to the end of chapter 1 and chapter 2 was about a completely different person, place, and situation. So I skipped it and read chapter 3. Then I was hooked and went back and read Chapter 2...Overall a very fascinating read, it just took a little time at the beginning to orient to the characters and their stories.
Kim I struggled to get into Benny's story. I was hooked on Hannie's story from the start. I was about half way through the book and wondering if I should keep going as I couldn't quite tell where the two stories were going to come together. I will just say that I'm so glad that I persevered. It was well worth it.
Christy Amores I listened to the audio book and it was hard to keep up with every thing in the beginning. I loved the book and my favorite part was the dress rehearsal, it left me in tears!
Jennifer E McGee I'm struggling with this one too. I thought it was me. Some parts of it are so hard to read. Life is hard enough these days with Covid so I would like a book that is easier to read, but still of substance. Maybe I'll put it down for awhile and come back.
Margaret Butler Thanks for that affirmation. Did you actually like it when you finished it?
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by Lisa Wingate (Goodreads Author)
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