I wanted to review this book because I have come to love and appreciate the author. I follow her blog and have watched her steps over the last year to get to this point of her debut novel sitting on bookshelves. Unfortunately I was unable to acquire a copy of the book for reviewing so I did something better ... I bought my own!
Wildflowers from Winter tells a poignant story of a young woman's travels through a murky past and into a better, albeit unknown future. Katie Ganshert's ability to pull you into her story is incredible. Her voice is rich in description and littered with passion.
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an 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 while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance 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. So when Bethany is left the land, he 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 she's not even sure exists?
Some of the things I loved the most about the story was the character of Evan. He is strong and secure, yet with a thread of insecurity which seems to be tugged on by the very presence of Bethany. I loved watching their romance bloom like a field of wildflowers - haphazard, unplanned yet breathtakingly beautiful all the same.
I also adored the authenticity to Bethany's fears. It wasn't only a tainted reputation from her past that made her run. There was depth to her story that made the lies she believed about herself, her family and mostly about God vibrant. She struggles through the story to come to terms with a God she cannot understand. I particularly love that, even though at the end of the story she has chosen to surrender to God, it isn't a bed of roses for her. God is real. God is active but like many of us (even if we aren't ready to admit it), Bethany appears she will struggle to fully relinquish control of her life to God long after the last pages of the story. A true testament to the reality of life and love.
There were no negatives that were noteworthy in reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was moved to tears more than once. I would encourage anyone who enjoys Christian romance that tugs at your heart to pick up this book. You won't be disappointed. I wasn't and I paid $12 for it! :) Can't wait for the next one, Wishing on Willows!
You also won't be disappointed by checking out Katie and her blog. She is adorable and engaging. She was one of the four debut novelists involved in the Story Soiree May 15. You can watch in action there or on her Youtube channel for more Katie fun.
Tune in later to hear a couple other thoughts I had on Katie's awesome book, Wildflowers from Winter.