Songs that Could Have Been by Amanda Wen ~ Book Review

July 6, 2022


About the Book

Book: Songs that Could Have Been
Author: Amanda Wen
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release Date: June 21, 2022

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. Fans of Lisa Wingate and Rachel Hauck will add Amanda Wen to their must-read shelves.

 My Thoughts 

This is definitely one of those stories that captures you from the first line. Not because the first line is life changing mind you but because its rather comical and intriguing at the same time. I mean it's literally " Carter Douglas hated running out of makeup." I mean if that doesn't make you stop and want to figure out what is going on I don't know what will! I definitely had to read the story and boy am I glad I did. 

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed her writing style. I know this is part of a series and I am sure I would've met some of these characters in the previous books and gotten to know more about some of them but honestly reading this story I did not feel like I was missing anything. This is a dual time line but I would not consider it a true dual time line like I am used to reading as it didn't really go back and forth but rather gave us glimpses into the past rather than a true full storyline. But the transitions between the glimpses and the present were done very smoothly. 

I really, really enjoyed this story. The are strong themes of faith throughout. The author tackles some heavy topics such as alcoholism, bulimia and dementia/Alzheimers and she does it in a matter that truly captures your heart and tugs at the heart strings. She makes it relatable and true. I personally have encountered these with people in my life and personally and so the story for me definitely more personal. The way she portrays the grandmother, Rosie, had me in tears. I mean I like to think that a person with Alzheimers has that thought process within themselves when encountering family members they cannot recall. 

The love story between both Carter and Lauren and Rosie and Ephraim were spectacular. Rosie and Ephraim was unheard of in those days. I mean we all know in the 1950's it was extremely rare and looked down upon for a white and black person to integrate much less fall in love. Their love story was beautiful and heartbreaking. Carter and Lauren's story was equally as emotional. There was some serious baggage between these two. They moved a bit too quick in their relationship but I am glad that it was a wake-up call to them as well and it truly made them see who they were supposed to be in God, in themselves and as a couple. 

Overall I thought this story was not only well written but captivating. I can't believe it was my first time reading anything by this author and it certainly wont be my last time! 

My Rating: 4 Stars/Really enjoyed it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

About the Author

Amanda Wen’s debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, released to both reader and critical acclaim, including a Christy Award nomination for First Novel. She also placed first in multiple contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others.

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

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