21 September 2012

Review: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Bethany Quinn is twenty-eight years old, living her dream life as an architect in Chicago, about to move in with her handsome lawyer boyfriend. She gets a telephone call from her estranged mother, saying that her childhood best friend, Robin, is facing the imminent death of her husband in their home town of Peaks, Iowa, population 1,539. Bethany hasn’t seen Robin since she Peaks ten years ago, so is reluctant to visit now.

But when her mother calls again, to say that her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, Bethany feels compelled to make a short visit, where she meets Evan, who works on her grandfather’s farm and is brother to Micah, Robin’s dying husband. As the story unfolds, we gradually discover Bethany's history: how she met Robin, how her father died, and why she is so set against God and religion.

Wildflowers from Winter has a compelling opening line, as Bethany describes her attempt to drown herself at twelve years old. This is the first of several scenes written from the younger Bethany’s point of view, but the bulk of the story is told in the more conventional third person viewpoint. Both are effective, and the author has done a good job of creating characters we can empathise with and understand as they struggle to reconcile tragedy with a loving God.

There were a couple of negatives. The romance side of the plot was a bit understated (although that’s obviously personal preference), as is the faith aspect (ditto). But overall, I’d encourage readers to look beyond the cover, because Wildflowers from Winter is a touching story of love, loss, and the importance of discovering God for ourselves, not relying on the words and actions of others.

This is the debut novel from author Katie Ganshert, and a sequel, Wishing on Willows, is in progress. The first chapter was included at the end of Wildflowers from Winter, and it looks to be just as good.

Thanks to WaterBrook and BloggingforBooks for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Katie Ganshert at her website .

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