Sometimes You Find Your Roots Where You Least Expect Them
Debut novel from Amanda Wen shows the beauty in God’s plan for our lives
Grand Rapids, MI — For readers who can’t decide if they would like to pick up something historical or contemporary for their next read, debut author Amanda Wen offers them the best of both worlds in her new release. Roots of Wood and Stone (Kregel Publications/February 2, 2021/ ISBN: 9780825446689/$15.99) is a warm, delightfully written split-time novel that will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.
Sloane Kelley was abandoned at birth, and while she wants more than anything to learn where she came from, her family roots remain a mystery. As curator of the Sedgwick County Museum of History, Sloane has dedicated her life to making sure others can connect with their history. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact; after all, the museum has a few on display and more in storage. However, she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now, she’s on the hunt to see if there’s more where it came from.
Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. He’s always been the responsible one, and with her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles after he takes a few things to the local museum: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the old house, and his own heart, which is drawn to Sloane. Selling the house that holds so much history will disappoint both Sloane and his sister, Lauren, who is doing her best to care for their grandmother, but Garrett finds himself in an impossible situation.
A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love—and a God who faithfully carried her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.
And Sloane may just find her roots in a place she never would have expected.
Roots of Wood and Stone is set in the area of Kansas Wen has lived in most of her life. In fact, the story is inspired by aspects of her own family history. “One of my favorite things about split time is watching the contemporary characters dig into the past,” Wen explains. “My mother is a genealogist who’s been tracing our family history since before I was born, and her passion for uncovering our family’s stories has been an important backdrop my entire life. Her research has given me an appreciation for those who came before and a desire to pass along this appreciation to my own kids.” As an homage to her mother and all the rest of her ancestors, Wen named many of the people and places in the book after family. Parts of their stories are even woven into the historical portion of the book.
Wen not only offers readers two plotlines filled with plenty of history and romance wrapped into one story, she mixes in a healthy dose of humor and strong faith elements as well. “All my characters have deep needs that they try to fill through other means (achievement, research, hard work, planning, etc.), but throughout the story they learn that only God can fill those needs,” Wen shares. “He has a beautiful plan, one that goes far beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine, and he takes all our broken pieces and loose ends and weaves those trials into a tapestry more beautiful than we could possibly imagine. He is always there, faithfully guiding our steps, even—or perhaps especially—when we’re not aware of it. I hope my readers will trust him, his individual love and care for each of us, and his perfect plan just a little bit more after they close this book.”
This was a lovely debut novel! I really enjoyed getting to know both Sloane and Garrett of the present day story, and Annabelle and Jack’s story from the late 1800’s. I especially loved how the two timeline stories wove together to create a truly beautiful story.
The characters were realistic, and the setting came alive in both parts. “Roots of Wood and Stone” is a rich story full of history and meaning. It was easy to cheer on Sloane as she searches for her own unknown family history.
I really appreciated how each of the characters had to come to the end of themselves and then ran into the arms of God. Life is often like that, and our strength can only truly be found in Him.
Looking forward to seeing what this author writes next!
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of I Read With Audra Tours. I was not required to write a positive review.
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.
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. Her debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, releases from Kregel Publications on February 2, 2021.
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. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram (@authoramandawen).