Book Review — Roots of Wood And Stone

27 Sep

Roots of Wood And Stone was Amanda Wen‘s debut novel, but you sure couldn’t tell. At least that is what members of my book club thought. They were blown away by this dual timeline novel that focuses on identity and the power of family connectedness. They said it was the best book they have read in a long, long time. I highly recommend it!

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.

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.

In addition to her writing, Amanda is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team, and accompanying high school and middle school choirs. 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.

My Impressions:

Roots of Wood And Stone, the debut novel by Amanda Wen, was on my TBR shelf way too long. I finally read this excellent novel with my book club — we were blown away by just how good it is! It’s dual timeline tells the story of Annabelle (beginning in the mid-1860s) and modern-day Sloane. Both struggle with identity and abandonment. They become connected when Sloane discovers diaries written from Annabelle’s childhood through her adulthood. What is revealed is a faith that survives and thrives through the hard things of life. Wen does a wonderful job of making weaving both stories together.

There’s a lot to like about Roots of Wood And Stone. The characters are complex and true-to-life and offer the reader insights into their own stories. The history of the settling of Wichita and its environs was fascinating, and Wen adds wonderful details to bring it to life. Spiritual truths are woven naturally through the narrative, and I loved that Annabelle’s diaries continued to speak across the generations. And did I mention not one, but two great romances? I loved that the love stories developed naturally, with obstacles to be overcome for sure, but in very realistic ways.

This novel provided a wealth of topics to discuss — my book club talked and talked. There was so much to unpack. There’s a handy discussion guide in the back of the book to get the conversation going. We all loved this book — it was declared one of the best books we have read in a long time. Plus there’s a sequel! Everyone is excited about that! So grab some book buddies and get to reading!

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

5 Responses to “Book Review — Roots of Wood And Stone”

  1. Cindy Davis September 27, 2023 at 3:55 pm #

    I loved this one too! Great review!

    • rbclibrary September 29, 2023 at 8:34 am #

      Thanks. I loved book 2 as well.

  2. Terri Quick September 27, 2023 at 9:04 pm #

    Sounds good

  3. pattymh2000 September 28, 2023 at 3:29 pm #

    I enjoyed this one too! I actually have the sequel on my bookshelf, but you know how it is, so many books, so little time.

    • rbclibrary September 28, 2023 at 3:31 pm #

      I do!

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