Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review of "Wildflowers from Winter" by Katie Ganshert

Rating: 4 Stars
~  ~  ~
Summary from Waterbrook Multnomah: 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?

Review: Katie Ganshert's debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, is a poignant tale of relationships and reconciliation.  The circumstances surrounding the plot are sad and bleak, but beauty and promise become more evident as the plot progresses.  Ganshert clearly illustrates how even during the winter seasons of our lives, something fresh and beautiful is just under the surface waiting to blossom. Each character is bound by past or present pains, losses, and fears.  Their emotions are raw and real, lending authenticity and depth to the characters.  Ganshert employs both first person and third person perspectives to convey the story.  Bethany, Robin, and Evan are main characters connected by recent losses, and the plot is presented from each of their perspectives.  Bethany's perspective alternates between third person and first person.  At first, the change felt a little odd, but ultimately allows more insight into Bethany's inner emotions.  As she experiences the present in third person, her past is relayed in first person. Her struggles with her past become understandable as Ganshert reveals the factors that created rifts in Bethany's relationships. The background makes the slow demolition of Bethany's walls more triumphant.  

Robin, who is open and loving, is Bethany's opposite in many ways.  While Bethany feels uncomfortable re-entering Robin's life, she receives an unexpected and heartfelt welcome.  Robin's story is one of loss and hope.  Although Robin is in a deep state of mourning and depression throughout most of the book, Ganshert makes it easy to sympathize and empathize with her character.  

Wildflowers from Winter is reminiscent of real-life.  The end doesn't paint a picture of suddenly perfect lives; each character still faces healing and growth.   After spending time with Bethany, Robin, and Evan during the winter season, I wanted to spend more time with them as spring returned to their lives. I enjoy reading Ganshert's future novels.  Wildflowers from Winter is a well-written debut novel with an emotional depth that makes it memorable.   

Click Here to Read an Excerpt.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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