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Jun 13, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

A contemporary story of forgiveness and hope
Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert
WaterBrook Press (May 8, 2012)
Paperback 320 pages 978-0307730381
Contemporary Christian Romance
Review copy via publisher, and Blogging For Books

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?

I had seen this book being gushed over on the blogs and review sites, and I also attended a chat with the author along with some of the other Christian fiction authors I would like to read, but I didn't love this one as much as I wanted to. Because the author, Katie Ganshert, is really a true sweetheart. That being said, I think I really need to stick with the historical Christian theme as opposed to the contemporary, because yet again I've found myself disliking the main protagonist, probably because of their modern ways and attitudes.

The storyline follows suit where Bethany disappoints others, mostly the handsome cowboy we'll call My Hero, and she does it over and over again. She is insistent upon ignoring her roots and despising the fact that -oh no- she used to live in a trailer. I remember thinking what if there was a young woman living in a trailer reading Wildflowers from Winter feeling a little slighted by Bethany right about now? Bethany's character needs to undergo severe attitude adjustments, and the novel slowly gets us towards that.

Bethany goes back home when friends and family members sincerely need her, and she does her best to accommodate them. However, Bethany has a lot of things on her mind such as the life she had to leave behind in order to go back to her hometown, and her mind isn't ready to accept the fact that maybe she should stay in her hometown. Her best friend Robin is a good reason to stay, although Bethany is resisting all clues that show her the path to happiness. A few plot twists keep us reading, and there is a big bang at the end of the novel that was really well done, and yes, had me crying.

Finally, Bethany finds a bit of peace with her lot and is able to make a decision on whether to stay or go off to some major architect firm. But it takes a bit of faith, some extra love, and even tragedy to get her to open her eyes and her heart. Because My Hero is Bethany's hero, and I'll share him.

The point of view on this story is a bit all over, sort of third person narration with a flashback mode of first person narration during Bethany's younger life. This in itself was a little unnerving, because I noticed it each time there was this shift. It just didn't seem to be necessary to go to first person at all. I know I am in the minority for not completely gushing about this one, but it was definitely good writing, and an interesting plot with the character development of Bethany. Katie Ganshert is already planning the sequel which will follow Robin's story, and I am sure that will be a big hit as well; especially because Robin was so much more likable. Katie Ganshert is a fresh new voice in the Christian Fiction market and I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about her work.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, and I have passed it on to another blogger for her enjoyment.

And now three years later, I have bought several of Katie's other works as well.