Title: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Genre: Christian/Inspirational, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Obtained from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Like the winter, grief has a season. Life returns with the spring.
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built the life she dreamed of during her teen years in a trailer park. An unexpected interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.
Determined to pay her respects to her past while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of five hundred acres of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. When Bethany is left the land, Evan must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.
For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace that she’s not even sure exists?
Katie Ganshert’s debut novel Wildflowers from Winter is an emotional novel about grief, love and finding one’s way back to God. It is sometimes heartbreaking, but the overall message is incredibly uplifting.
I hate to admit it but Bethany Quinn is a difficult character to like. But somehow, she manages to work her way into your heart, and by the end of the novel, you will be rejoicing as she triumphs over the tragedies of her past. While she could be self-absorbed and rather selfish, she is able to set aside some of her personal beliefs and sorrow to help someone else in their time of need. I can definitely relate to how she handles her grief through keeping busy and helping others.
Like Bethany, Evan Price lost his faith in God. Time, patience and guidance from Bethany’s Grandpa Dan helped Evan find his way back. His love of the land that Bethany rejects is a major obstacle between them and serves as a major conflict between them. But it is their love and concern for a mutual acquaintance that sometimes help them bridge the gap between them.
Robin Price is Bethany’s best friend from childhood. While not as close as they once were, Bethany provides her the support she needs when her world comes crashing down around her. It is watching Robin find peace in her faith that aids Bethany in rethinking long held beliefs and misconceptions about God.
Having recently suffered the loss of my father, Wildflowers from Winter was a sometimes difficult but incredibly healing read. The grieving process is accurately portrayed and Ms. Ganshert does a wonderful job of showing how no two people grieve the same. Working through grief happens in its own time and everyone handles their sorrow in different ways. Bethany’s way of handling her grief resonated with me but seeing how Robin deals with her grief was beneficial in understanding how others cope with their loss.
One of the aspects of Ms. Ganshert’s writing style that I greatly enjoyed was how she revealed Bethany’s past. While the present is told in third person in alternating viewpoints from Bethany, Evan and Robin, the past is told in first person in Katie’s voice. It is a unique but highly effective technique and it made the impact of Katie’s past that much more powerful.
Katie Ganshert demonstrates a very valuable and powerful lesson in Wildflowers from Winter. People must live through the barren coldness of winter to greater appreciate the beauty of the spring and through our sorrow we will once again find joy.