The Songs That Could Have Been is a dual time novel that takes the reader from the present time back to the 1950s where it tells the story of Lauren’s grandmother Rosie and Ephraim during their high school years. Present day Rosie is fast sinking into dementia. When she continues to bring up the name Ephraim, Lauren and her brother decide to attempt to find the mysterious man. At the same time, Lauren has also encountered the man she once loved and has somehow begun to renew their friendship. Both have unresolved issues from their past that could once again destroy their relationship.
Beautifully expressed, this novel covers a lot of territory from racial prejudice and forbidden love, to addiction, to eating disorders. There were times during their search that I felt that Lauren and her brother were intruding into their grandmother’s privacy but the touching end overcame my trepidation. This is a wonderful book with endearing characters. I was encouraged by their tenacity and how each of them was able to overcome their past through the help of others and their faith.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Audra Jennings PR. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
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.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:
“A reading experience both heartfelt and heart-tugging, a timeless exploration of young and enduring love and the grace found in second chances. Amanda Wen is a rare and remarkable storyteller, and this is a novel I will not soon forget.” –Amanda Barratt, Christy Award-winning author of The White Rose Resists
“A stunning journey of loss, love, and yearning. . . . Past and present are deftly woven together in this dual-timeline narrative that will leave readers flying through the pages.” – Amanda Cox, author of the 2021 Christy Award Book of the Year, The Edge of Belonging
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.