Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Songs that Could Have Been by Amanda Wen #Giveaway

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Our weather here has been a bit of a rollercoaster as far as temperatures go, we get a few days in the 90s with high humidity, followed by a few days of mid 70s and low humidity, and then back to the 90s again. When we have had some cooler evenings, I thoroughly enjoy sitting outside and reading a book. There is something so nice about the fresh air, the light breeze and the warmth of the sun, while being engaged in a good story. Most recently, i have been reading The Songs that Could Have Been by Amanda Wen.

The Songs that Could Have Been by Amanda Wen is the second book in the Sedgwick County Chronicles. Interestingly, I read on the authors Facebook post about how she actually started to write this one before the first one was even picked up by a publisher. I don't know how often that happens but I can see the risk of writing a second book without your first one being committed to. You can read my post about her first book, Roots of Wood and Stone here.

This story intertwines the story of Lauren and her grandmother, Rosie, and Carter Douglas. Lauren and Rosie were introduced in the first story, being Garrett's sister and grandmother. This book is fine as a stand-alone, no need to have read the first book - but it is good and always fun to learn more about the characters and what is happening with them as time moves forward. As with her first book in this series, the story was told within two separate time lines: a current and contemporary story, told alongside a historical story. This interweaving of the two timelines is smoothly executed and really kept the story moving and the reader wanting to learn more. The story is told from the view point of the three main characters. The view point of Rosie, who has Alzheimer's, was really interesting and well-crafted, sharing the inner thoughts of a woman somewhat trapped in her own mind and locked out of her own memories. As we meet the three main characters in current time, we learn a little bit about the past connection of Carter and Lauren and we discover that Rosie is wondering where Ephraim is, stating that he should have been here by now. It is following this brief partial memory that the historical time line is started and we find ourselves in Rosie's senior year, 1955, learning through her story about Ephraim and their connection. The story continues switching time between the present and 1955, revealing more about the history and moving the current day events forward.

I really enjoyed the story and the way in which it was told. The characters were well developed within the interwoven timelines and the use of flashbacks for the modern storyline. Each of the characters has faced adversity in their life. In the modern time line, we learn about how Carter and Lauren struggle to overcome their challenges, through both current dialogue and memories. We see how they learn the need to lean on their faith in God to find the best path forward. For Rosie and Ephraim, their struggles are more against social norms than internal challenges. We learn what the author was referring to in the title, as the story comes to a hopeful close.

I definitely recommend that you take the time to meet Lauren, Carter, Rosie and Ephraim, whether you first met them in Roots of Wood and Stone or if you are meeting them all for the first time.

About the Book

Two couples in love. Two sets of impossible circumstances. One powerful God of grace.

After a devastating tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, threatens to throw her well-balanced world out of control.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But his old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. Is he courageous enough to make a different choice this time around?

When Lauren’s elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim--a name her family has never heard before—a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie’s past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives—and Rosie’s—forever. Along the way they’ll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.

The Songs That Could Have Been is full of the same deftly handled, resonant writing that readers and critics alike enjoyed in Amanda Wen's first book in the series, Roots of Wood and Stone. Fans of Lisa Wingate and Rachel Hauck will add Amanda Wen to their must-read shelves.

Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Author

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. Her debut novel was a 2021 Christy Award First Novel finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. She is the author of Roots of Wood and Stone and The Songs That Could Have Been.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. She serves as a choral accompanist as well. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


a Rafflecopter giveaway
No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me. The giveaway is not specific to this blog and is not sponsored by this blog