In Amanda Wen’s sensitive Christian novel Roots of Wood and Stone, a nineteenth-century diary draws a Kansas pair closer as they unearth personal pains.
Sloane, the curator of the Sedgwick County Museum of History, is an adoptee, drawn to the past because she herself was abandoned. Garrett is a financial planner who’s helping his sister to declutter their Grandmother Rosie’s farmhouse, even though he questions whether it’d be better to place her in a memory care facility.
When Garrett drops a satchel off at the museum, he meets and sparks a friendship with Sloane. She finds the diary of Annabelle, a frontier woman, inside of the satchel. Together, they delve into the details of Annabelle’s life, and how her story ties into Rosie’s farmhouse—a project that invites the thrills of piecing together the past, and brings surprises, too. Meanwhile, Sloane learns more about her birth mother, and she wrestles with feeling unwanted.
Throughout, vulnerable and multifaceted characters deal with the heartbreaking realities of eldercare, but also learn to trust God’s plans over their own well-intentioned decisions. Characters’ thoughts and emotions are pulled between their desires to cling to old habits and fears and their needs to risk opening up to others. And Wichita’s historical charm and pioneering past faces the threat of suburban development: Rosie’s farmhouse’s legacy is a poignant point of contention when its future is in doubt. Coincidences suggest that God in pulling Sloane and Garrett through their setbacks, and their story’s joyous culmination is restorative.
With a resonant, alternating timeline that highlights the past’s continuing influence on the present, Roots of Wood and Stone is a satisfying, moving novel that combines ancestral stories with a new romance.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.