About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Monday, July 11, 2022

The Songs That Could Have Been (Sedgwick County Chronicles #2) by Amanda Wen: Review & Giveaway with I Read with Audra Book Tours


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.


The Songs That Could Have Been is a wonderful split-time romance novel with two touching love stories. One of them is the achingly beautiful story of Rose and Ephraim, a teenage white girl and her black male classmate, growing up in Wichita, Kansas in the 1950s. This is Christian romance so the hugs and kisses are very pure but author Amanda Wen stunningly portrays their longing to be together and the obstacles that they encounter. The modern romance story between Lauren and Carter is equally painful, as their past relationship threatens the possibility of them sharing a future. Much of their current connection centers around their efforts to discover the identity of the Ephraim who floats in and out of Grandma Rose's confused mind. Lauren's deceased grandfather was Orrin Spencer, so who in the world is Ephraim?

This story is a poignant reminder of growing up in the 1950s and Wen perfectly captures the mindset of that era. Oh, how I wanted Rose and Ephraim to be together but I could understand the ramifications of their romance during that time! I was amazed by the author's ability to voice the thoughts and concerns of Carter, Lauren, Ephraim, and both young Rose and Grandma Rose. I also admired her willingness to tackle the difficult subjects of Alzheimer's, eating disorders, alcoholism, and race relations.

There are many conflicts throughout this story but they are outweighed by Wen's extraordinary portrayal of love and redemption. Best of all, we are given the perfect ending! The Songs That Might Have Been is a must-read Christian fiction novel.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Kregel Publications. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has 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. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

Amanda is a member of the 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 regular contributor to the God Is Love blog. Her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, releases from Kregel Publications on January 26, 2021.

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. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship band at ACFW conferences. 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.

Learn more at www.amandawen.com, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 


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