It seems that Bethany and Evan should have a lot in common. After all, they both love Bethany's grandfather and come from the same place. However, Bethany's determined to move on with her life and leave her past behind. When she inherits her grandfather's farmhouseâ€”sans houseâ€”she's determined to sell ... even if that means selling Evan's dream out from under him.
Sparks fly between Evan and Bethany nearly from the beginning. I could tell that this was going to be an interesting relationship and couldn't wait to see how and if it developed further ... though I hoped it would! As much as I came to like Bethany, I liked Evan from the very start. He was the perfect hero for this story and may have been the most well-developed character in the story.
The third-person vignettes were a unique touch. I enjoyed the glimpses they gave to the past and they really helped fill out the story. Additionally, Robin was a great character, and I'm excited that her story be featured in Ganshert's next book.
Katie Ganshert's debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, was fantastic! If this first novel is any indication of what readers can expect in the future, I can't wait to read what's next! [5 stars]
I did not receive this book for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
From previous experience I was beginning to think Christian fiction, by female authors, was not going to be my thing. However, in previewing for my next read, the title "Wildflowers from Winter" caught my attention. There was nothing unique about the description of the book but I noticed I had the option to preview the first chapter. That struck me as a "can't lose" option, so I clicked on the link. Not even halfway through that chapter I was captivated. Thankfully the novel was available via e-book so I was able to quickly receive a copy, which I promptly read over the course of the following three evenings. If my lifestyle would have allowed I'd have read the story in it's entirety in one sitting, because it was that good! At the end of the book I discovered the first chapter of the sequel and now, if only that novel was available, right now, to read! Katie Ganshert is the author, and in my opinion, this a a woman with great talent. The characters in her story became real to me; I felt their emotions and related to their experiences. I laughed with them, I cried with them. Each character had enough good to love them and enough flaws to seem like real people. As for staging the story, the author gave just enough description that I was able to visualize the scenes and feel as if I were there, but never so much that I could get bored. I received a preview copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group, for my review, and I'm excited to share with you about this exciting new Christian fiction novel. In my opinion, this is a wonderful read, that I highly recommend!
In her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, Katie Ganshert focuses on the life of a self-made, self-sufficient young lady with a hurtful past. Determined to live her life on her own, she sees little value in investing in the lives of others or in believing in God.
Through a somewhat long trail of mishaps and unwanted events, Bethany finds herself facing the past she wanted to bury and friends she felt she no longer needed.
However, in entered a long, lost friend in Robin, a woman seemingly living a fairy tale life until tragedy strikes.
A series of events that could only be defined as divinely orchestrated, forced the two hurting women together again, one a stoic mask of bitterness, the other a haunting shell of indescribable pain.
As the story unfolded, I found myself getting frustrated with Bethany's superior attitude and Robin's apparent unending sorrow. A part of me wanted to jump right to the love and romance. To get everything smoothed out quickly.
However, the story's realism was actually the feature that drew me in and held me fast. Grief wasn't relieved overnight. Questioning God and His purpose ran throughout the book. The messiness of life was revealed in its totality.
As I devoured the story (staying up much too late to finish it), an image kept popping up in my mind. One of a dance where several steps are taken forward and then back again. This is how our journeys through this broken world play out.
Life isn't a neat package and neither is faith.
Katie Ganshert does a masterful job portraying a bit of, I believe, all our walks in her characters. Not tying up life with a neat little bow, but revealing the fringes and tears in the wrapping. She writes the reality of redemption, not perfection.
Check out this great read! You won't be disappointed.
You know, I remember hearing a lot about this novel and I think anyone who is an avid reader of Christian Fiction can say the same thing. Many readers have talked about Wildflowers from Winters. Personally, the first impression I got from what I heard about it, was that this was a sad, sad story that would just pull you in and drown you in this pool of sorrows.
Um...No thank you!
But dear reader, after deciding to give it a try, if you are hesitating like I was- I'm hoping these thoughts might help you.
I literally could NOT put it down.
I finished it in two days and during that time, this book brought me to Iowa Peaks as I journeyed with Bethany Quinn and Evan Price on a path toward finding healing. Katie does not just write- she paints such realistic and vivid images that you're not just a reader reading a book- you're there. In the story. Living the emotions. And believe me this was NOT a depressing read- absolutely not. Yes, there were moments of intense grief, moments where Bethany, Robin, Evan and their family had to pile up tragedy upon tragedy in just a short time (death of a loved one, unexpected life-changing news). And Ganshert described what they went through very thoroughly.
But so help me, I laughed too. Out loud and many times. (Smiling as I'm thinking about it) I LOVE the author's sense of humour! Even in situations that were distressing, Katie found a way to subtly insert humour and not all of the situations were sad, mind you- score for this author!
Then the characters. Evan is a dream. What every good woman who treasures a romantic tale would want to find in it. But Bethany.. ugh! As frustrating as they come. She was so selfish, stubborn and just plain unlikable at times. 50 pages before the end of the story, I wondered how the author would put us ( me and the other characters) out of our misery with this woman.
Then I came to the part where we get a glimpse at Bethany's fragile heart and how in the end, she just struggled with one thing : trust. Something I think all of us can relate too.
While the romantic in me would have enjoyed a bit more romance (which, come to think of it, was hindered by Bethany's pride) and I found some parts to be a bit slow, I remember turning the last page of this book and thinking about the story again and again. It entertained me, it captivated me and it had a good dose of wise words.
I would recommend it.
And Ganshert, I think it's safe to say that I will be watching out for your upcoming books. With Wildflowers from Winters, you've captivated the interest of yet another reader.
and put Katie Ganshert as a new author on my must-read list!**
Wildflowers from Winter is not a easy, cute read. (I'm not knocking those books, because they are fun. But sometimes you want a real story with characters that are messy, like us.) It's a heart breaking story of the loss endured by Bethany Quinn and how she separated herself from it (or tries to). She is no longer Bethany who lives in the trailer park and tried to commit suicide. She is an up-and-coming architect in Chicago. However, the story doesn't stay there. She drawn back to her small hometown and the slow, painful process of healing begins.
"Wildflowers burst from the ground...creating a picture more pleasing than anything her hands could design. She didn't understand how it was possible... The abundance of snow had produced an abundance of wildflowers.... Somehow, those cold, lifeless winter months had prepared the land for something breathtaking. Something beautiful. Something brimming with life..."
I'm so glad that I got to know the characters in Wildflowers from Winter. They are real with both strengths and weakness. The main characters are Bethany -a wounded, scared child in woman' body who has built a wall to protect her heart- and Evan -the man who has helped Bethany's grandpa on the farm for 4 years and now loves this land.
This is most definitely a book I would recommend. I am looking forward to the next book by Katie Ganshert.
Disclosure: I received this ebook free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group's book review bloggers program, BookSneeze. The opinions I have expressed are my own.