Author: Amanda Wen
Genre: Split-Time Romance
Series: Sedgwick County Chronicles #1
Release Date: February 2, 2021
This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts
Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn't expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she's on the hunt to find out more.
Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother's historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. 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: Sloane, who's fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.
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 carries 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.
This warm, beautifully written split-time novel 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.
Reviewer: Nora St. Laurent
I instantly adored Sloane as she tries to be patient and kind to Garrett as he tries to drop a box of old items to the museum she worked at. Sloan explains the process he needs to go through for her to take these items. He slips her his business card and dashes out the door, busy answering a call. Garrett was in town to help his sister Lauren with their grandmother. Lauren has just realized the situation with their beloved grandmother is quickly getting out of hand. They needed help and a direction in how to best care for Grandma. The house required repairs, so they’d be ready to sell, and get the funds need for her care. It was hard. The house had been in his family for centuries, they were torn on many levels.
Sloane looks inside the box Garrett left her and discovers a special diary from 1861, that was written by a nine-year-old girl, named Annabelle. It was a gift that was given to her by her Uncle Stephen and Aunt Katherine. Sloane tells Garrett and Lauren about the diary. They did not know about Annabelle. “...you’d be surprised how little most people know about their heritage.” Try as they might to uncover her own. Sloane thought as she had spent years searching for her birth mother.
As I read in author notes about the inspiration for this book, I understood why this book touched my heart so deeply. The author says, “Family is at the heart of this book, and without my particular family, this book wouldn’t be here. While the contemporary characters are entirely fictional, my historical characters are inspired by three of my ancestors, painstakingly discovered and researched by my genealogist mom” ….” Although being sent to live with relatives was a common practice at the time, I couldn’t imagine it not being painful for a child, and I wanted to explore the theme of healing from parental abandonment in both the contemporary and the historical story lines.” I liked how the author explored this in both timelines.
The journey of Annabelle Collins and her family going to live in a far-off land squeezed my heart and chocked me up as Sloane, Garrett and Lauren find Annabelle’s diaries and read them out loud to each other. The author would switch to the past and readers were able to see the event in that timeline giving them a front row seat to all Annabelle experienced.
I loved the relationship Sloane has with Garrett and his family. It is fun to read. I was also fascinated by Sloane’s personal journey in search of for her birth mother using on-line sites etc. This is a beautiful story and one that hits my heart hard knowing the historical part of this expedition was based on the author’s family heritage.
Wow, grab some tissues while reading this one. You will need them as you cry happy and sad tears as the story has some surprises for the reader. This is a novel you will not soon forget. It is rich in characterization and themes of forgiveness, adoption, family drama around Alzheimer’s, and healing the past to be able to love in the future are golden nuggets in this book.
This is the first novel I have read by this remarkable, insightful storyteller, who created full-bodied characters whose situation and dialogue rings true and hits your heart in a good way. This makes for an intriguing memorable read and one that will blow your book club away. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through Interview and Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
Amanda Wen has penned a fantastic tale with her debut novel Roots of Wood and Stone. Weaving historical characters Annabelle Collins and Jack Brennan and their story, with that of contemporary Sloane Kelley and Garrett Anderson created an intriguing storyline with many twists and turns. This book was quick to capture my interest and hold on to it tightly. With a cast of realistic and endearing characters and a foray into family history, the story was both emotional and satisfying. I enjoyed the notes from the author about her inspiration for the book from the history of her ancestors.
Themes of forgiveness, healing, and hope are seamlessly entwined in the book and give it extra depth and dimension. Readers who enjoy historical fiction combined with romance and a touch of mystery will undoubtedly love this book. I’m looking forward to more great novels from this author.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Kregel Publications through Interviews & Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Adriann Harris
Headline News: Amanda Wen composed a Top 2021 Debut Christian Romance called Roots of Wood and Stone!
What a delightful dual time Amanda Wen penned for those of us who love Mysterious Christian Romances. Both the historical 1800s story of Annabelle and Jack and the contemporary one of Sloane and Garrett had me totally entranced from beginning to end. The two timelines are connected by diaries written by Annabel which Sloane and Garrett find while organizing the estate of Garrett’s grandmother.
A friend asked me, who is your favorite character? Honestly I could not pick one as they were all so exceptionally alive, which is not an easy feat. Amanda even gave us a villain, who I know you are not supposed to like, but since he was so much a part of the climax of the story, I could not really dislike him. Why you ask? You will have to read Roots of Wood and Stone to find out.
Emotionally, Roots of Wood and Stone has everything. From jaw-dropping sensational banter between the characters of both timelines that had me smiling and laughing-out-loud at times to sobbing tears at others. Amanda keeps it real as I too felt the heartache the family struggled with their grandmother’s progression of Alzheimer's disease in the current timeline.
Loved the eye-opening message we all need to remember: Trust God with your plans for your life. Do not try to do it yourself, as his plans are the foremost.
I, for one, found the title as intriguing as the story itself, and I cannot wait to read her next book.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Kregel Publications for Interviews & Reviews. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Debra Webster
I identified with Sloane in the book Roots of Wood and Stone. She was adopted after being abandoned. As a result, she had abandonment issues. I related to her difficulty and wanted to see how, or if, she resolved the angst. She did not know her roots. That theme drew me on. But there were other themes as well. Sloane was researching the history of an old house and its occupants. A series of diaries helped her learn about their lives. Assisting her in this quest was Garrett, whose grandmother was living in the house.
The story went smoothly from the present day to about 150 years earlier, weaving the threads of two eras together until the surprise ending.
Woven throughout is a love story with Sloane and Garrett. They had so much in common and such obstacles to being a couple. Obstacles that turned out to be not listening to God's voice rather than the circumstances they thought separated them. The lessons they learned are foundational to the surrendered life in Christ.
I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications through Interviews & Reviews. This has not influenced my review.
Reviewer: Liz P.
I wouldn’t have guessed that Roots of Wood and Stone was Amanda Wen's first book! This book takes you on a wonderful journey of belonging, love, and faith.
If you love old things and past family history, this is the book for you. There are things in life that- to some people- may not have much meaning, but then the story or memory behind it connects you to it. I could relate with Sloane and her love for old, seemingly insignificant things. This book bridges the gap between historical and contemporary Christian fiction. I love time-travel books. This one was like reading two books in one, but the stories were so well connected!
The author did a wonderful job with the characters. You were in their “shoes,” so to speak. You felt their pain, happiness, desires, and longing for love. Although I could have had less details about that. I don’t read a book for all the kissing.
One of my favorite lines in the book was:
“I may have given up on the Lord, love, but he never gave up on me." Good times, bad times, hard times, sad times, no matter what we face, God is always with us and is there to carry us through. That message was conveyed throughout the whole book. Sloane, Garrett, Annabelle, Jack, it was a lesson they all were reminded of. When things don’t go the way we planned, we just trust God. His plan is always perfect.
I was engrossed in this book the whole time I read it. Amanda is a wonderful writer!
I received this book courtesy of Kregel Publications through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
A fabulous debut.
I so love novels steeped in the history of the author. This lovely dual-time book is a prime example. Ms. Wen draws on extensive research into her family tree to give us an exceptional story of life, love, and lessons learned.
It is a fabulous story of Sloane Kelley, who is adopted and feels the loss of her own history. She is a curator at a historical museum in Wichita, Kansas when Garrett Anderson brings an artifact discovered when he was clearing out his grandmother’s attic. Little did Sloane know how God would use an old satchel to answer her longing heart.
Garrett is a planner, but he has forgotten to enter seeking God into his plans for the future. Together, Sloane and Garrett pour through old diaries and find their life answers. There are a lot of surprises, along with laughter and tears. This author knows how to write romance and sizzling kisses!
Past and present meld in a fascinating way. And at the root of it all is a lesson both generations of characters learn: we all have worth in God, and He can give us more than we deserve or expect.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Kregel through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
It’s hard to find adequate words to express my delight in this book. I stayed up late at night because I had to know the next thing that would happen, and the next thing, and . . .
Sloan and Garrett’s romance was made even better by their joint research into Jack and Annabelle Brennan. The dual stories of struggle and tremendous faith were well-written, bringing healing to the present through connection with the past, including a few surprises.
All of the characters were real, and my emotions were engaged to the point I felt I was stepping right into the story. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
I was given book courtesy of Kregel Publications through Interviews & Reviews and this is my honest opinion of the book.
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