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?
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.
You can read an excerpt here.
You can read my review of Roots of Wood and Stone here. Although The Songs That Could Have Been is technically a sequel, it focuses on different people so reads well on its own.
This is a novel of romance dealing with two difficult issues. The historical story deals with inter-racial dating and romance in the mid-1950s. The current romance explores the issues of addictions and identity.
I appreciated the current romantic struggle the most. Both Lauren and Carter face dependencies and the issue of identity. For Lauren, has she recovered from an eating disorder or is she just one moment away from bingeing? And Carter, is he a recovered alcoholic or will he always be one moment away from taking a drink? Both face the issue of identity and who they really are. While I appreciated the historical romantic story, the issue of inter-racial marriage did not have the impact on me as did the contemporary story.
Wen explores how we understand ourselves and others. She emphasizes how God works to heal dependencies as well as the importance of the support of others along the journey. It is a sensitive novel about difficult issues and an entertaining read.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
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 www.amandawen.com.
Kregel Publications, 304 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)