BOOK BY: Amanda Wen
A solid debut by time slip novelist, Amanda Wen.
I’m an avid dual time/time slip reader. This novel is different from the majority of the books I’ve read in the genre, in that the ever moving target of how the past and present can possibly be related was conspicuously absent. Right up front readers are given a historical story that is completely narrated to the contemporary heroine through diaries left in an old homestead. The property and original farm house is too much for the elderly occupant to maintain, so her grandchildren prepare the house to sell or make liveable for their grandmother. As they clean, they unearth the diaries which hold all the details of the lives lived in the farm house.
What made this story interesting for me was the twist that was added in the contemporary story. Readers are introduced to several secondary characters of whom have varied interest in the property being vacated. It is within these relationships that readers discover, along with our heroine, where her true roots come from.
The narrative flows well and the descriptions are detailed enough for readers to imagine themselves in the run down farm house or in the brand new house that Jack built. Music from the jazz scenes comes alive with the detail given on the page. There are enough characters to not like and ones who endear themselves to the reader.
If you want a light time slip read that will keep you turning the pages for the sweet story, Roots of Wood and Stone will satisfy your desire.
I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
About The Book
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.
Q&A With Amanda
Q: What drew you to the split-time genre? What unique challenges does writing in two time periods present?
I’ve always loved reading both historical and contemporary books, and I’ve long been a fan of TV shows that hop from era to era. From the ‘80s sci-fi show Quantum Leap and the 2000s crime drama Cold Case to the new hit This Is Us, series like these illustrate in dramatic fashion just how deeply the past impacts the present. Split-time novels do the same thing: characters’ past decisions have ripple effects, both good and bad, for generations to come.
In addition, one of my favorite things about split time is watching the contemporary characters dig into the past. 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. Given all this, I think the split-time genre is a natural fit for me!
However, split time doesn’t come without its challenges. Instead of writing one story, I’m writing two, and they have to weave together in an organic way. If you can lift one story line out of the book without hurting the other one, then it’s not integrated well enough. With two stories come two heroes, two heroines, and two plot lines, all of which must be correctly paced and equally interesting to the reader.
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