Read With Audra’s most recent book tour has been for a book I enjoyed tremendously! Amanda Wen’s The Songs That Could Have Been, the second in her Sedgwick County Chronicles (following Roots of Wood and Stone) was a wonderful read. Let me tell you more about it; and you’ll have the opportunity to enter a copy as well!
About The Songs That Could Have Been
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.
My thoughts about this book
Regret. Who hasn’t spent time in thinking about how their lives might have been different if only…this choice, or that one, had been made instead? Or if this action hadn’t been taken? Amanda’s characters definitely do. In fact, their past decisions directly affected their relationships, their well-being, and their mental (and sometimes physical) health. And yet, each one (Lauren, Carter, and even Lauren’s grandmother Rosie) moved on and created new lives.
But now, after many years (Rosie’s entire adulthood, and 13 years for Carter and Lauren), those past decisions have come crashing into these characters’ present. Wen unfolds Rosie’s story, along with that of the mystery man Ephraim, in a dual-timeline tale alongside Lauren’s and Carter’s reconnection in the present. Perception, shame, and addictions–along with peer pressure–weighed individual choices.
And yet! I love that phrase. In my mind, it holds a place right next to the phrase, “But God.”
- “But God is faithful…” (1 Cor. 10:13)
- “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this…” (Rom. 5:8)
- “But God…was pleased to show me His Son…” (Gal. 1:15-16)
- “But God, being rich in mercy…” (Eph. 2:4)
There is a “But God” that is richly present in The Songs That Could Have Been. In Lauren’s desires for control; in Carter’s fears of failure; in even Rosie’s life in an unforgiving culture, there is a redemption at work. And it is beautiful to see.
Amanda Wen’s book deals with some painful areas of sin and weakness in us as humans, and in our society as a whole. But there is a Healer who desires to, and can bring hope and grace when we least expect it. In fact, He excels at, and glories in this.
Don’t miss The Songs That Could Have Been. Wonderful characters, beautiful read–and moments to encourage your heart. (And don’t miss the author’s note at the end.)
About the author, Amanda Wen
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 http://www.amandawen.com. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).
And, your chance to enter to win a copy!
To enter to win The Songs That Could Have Been, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Rafflecopter entry form, hosted by Read With Audra, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 7/19/22. Read With Audra will fulfill the giveaway for the winning entry. Best wishes!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Read With Audra. All opinions expressed here are my own.