About the Book
Title: The Songs that Could Have Been
Series Info: Sedgwick County Chronicles, Book 2
Author: Amanda Wen
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Time-Slip Fiction
Book Info: Kregel Pulications; June 21, 2022; 333 pages
Two couples in love.
Two sets of impossible circumstances.
One powerful God of grace.
After a tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Her battle with bulimia is under control, her career is taking off, and she’s surrounded by a loving family. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, leads to old feelings returning with new strength. And suddenly her well-balanced world is thrown off kilter.
Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But the reasons they broke up aren’t lost–and those old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. He isn’t sure he’s 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.
The Songs That Could Have Been is an amazing time slip novel by new-to-me author, Amanda Wen. Wen’s characters are endearing and multi-dimensional and her dialogue is both fresh and robust. I was pulled into the story from the opening line and couldn’t read fast enough to discover how she would meld the two timelines together.
The second installment in the Sedgwick County Chronicles centers around Lauren’s grandmother, Rosie, and her friend, Ephraim, during their high school years in the 1950s. When present day Rosie, who is suffering from dementia, continues mentioning Ephraim, a mysterious man from her past, Lauren and her brother attempt to find him. At the same time, Lauren also has a chance encounter with a man from her past and the two rekindle their friendship. They must fight the demons from their past if they have any hope of their relationship blossoming into something more.
Wen deftly handles such emotionally charged subjects as forbidden love, prejudice, addiction, eating disorders, and dimentia with grace and compassion. I appreciated how the author helped the characters overcome their past by relying on their faith and trusting God’s mercy and healing in the present.
Warning: The Songs That Could Have Been has ALL the feels. Grab a box of tissues and clear your calendar, because once you begin this touching story you won’t be able to step away.
I received a copy of this book from the I Read with Audra book tour. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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.