Saturday, July 9, 2022

[Review] - 'The Songs That Could Have Been' by Amanda Wen

Available on Paperback and Kindle

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 threaten 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.

My Review

Anymore, I have to be in a specific mood to read a romance novel, and The Song That Could Have Been fitted the bill for my current reading mood. That said and out of the way, let's get on with final thoughts.

The story begins with Carter Douglas, a TV meteorologist who has a quick run-in with his past love, Lauren Anderson, a photographer, and food blogger. The chances of running into your first love again are slim to none in the real world, but remember, this is a fictional romance, so anything is possible. He invites Lauren to be a guest on his morning show for a food segment, and soon their past feelings for each other begin to emerge. Yeah, it's a sappy Hallmark-style plot, but not as campy, and it works well for this story.

I live east of Kansas City, Missouri, so I got a kick that the story is set not too far away in Wichita, Kansas. The Carter Douglas reminds me of the local news anchors, which is why I liked the character for the get-go.

There are two romance stories in this novel. I already mentioned Carter and Lauren, but there is another romantic tale - Rosie and Ephraim. Rosie is Laren's elderly grandmother, who has dementia. One day, out of the blue, Rosie says the name "Ephraim" to Lauren. There's nobody in their family with that name. With Carter's help, Lauren goes on a road of discovery to learn about her grandmother's past.

My grandmother passed away earlier this year from Alzheimer's and Covid-19-related symptoms. Towards the end, she couldn't recognize faces or remember names. Grandmother Rosie's plot hit a little too close to home, and I got emotionally involved. The interracial love story between Rosie and Ephraim was well-written and heartbreaking.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Songs That Could Have Been. It's one of those feel-good books you can't put down until you read the entire thing.


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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 Readers can also follow her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).


  1. Great Review! The book looks good and the cover is gorgeous!

    1. Yes, it has a standout cover. It's one of the better romances I've read in recent years.


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