Title: Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Genre: Christian/Inspirational, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?
A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.
Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert is a riveting novel about letting go of the past and taking a chance on the future. When Robin Price’s café is threatened by developers, she digs in her heels and fights Ian McKay tooth and nail to protect the remaining link to her deceased husband, Micah.
Following her husband’s unexpected death, Robin Price channeled all her grief into getting the Willow Tree Cafe up and running. With assistance from good friend Bethany, her brother-in-law Evan (who is also married to Bethany) and her sister-in-law Amanda, Robin not only works long hours in her cafe, but she also runs a grief support group and helps out with a ministry that provides assistance to those in need. As a single mom, Robin depends on her friends’ help not just with her cafe, but also with her young son, Caleb. With Ian McKay’s plans to buy her out and build condos, Robin is determined to save not just her cafe, but the ministry that provides aid to those in need.
I really liked Robin Price, but her stubbornness frustrated me to no end! She has a big heart and her empathy for others is her best quality. Her worst qualities? Her fear of change and how desperately she clings to the past. Robin has valid concerns about the future for her cafe and how the ministry will survive. Her steadfast refusal to listen to Ian’s proposal lasts for most of the novel and she shoots down every compromise that Ian presents. But the biggest obstacle in Robin’s path is her inability to understand that letting go of Micah does not lessen what they shared.
There is a lot riding on the condominium deal for Ian. It not only presents him with the opportunity to prove himself to his father but it will also secure the future of their business. Ian has his share of emotional baggage but he is also a pragmatic businessman. Ian’s patience with Robin is endless and he is able to put her needs ahead of his own on several occasions.
The romance between Ian and Robin is slow growing and incredibly sweet. Robin tenaciously clings to her memories of Micah and it takes her a long time to acknowledge her attraction to Ian. She is also quick to pull back from their new relationship. But once Robin puts her future in God’s hands, the pieces of her life slowly fall into place.
Wishing on Willows is a beautifully written novel with engaging and realistic characters. Katie Ganshert’s stories are heartfelt and full of emotion. Her characters’ journeys are often difficult but always true to life. I highly recommend her novels to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking,faith-based fiction.