Late last year, I read an interview with debut author Katie Ganshert on a friend’s blog. Her down-to-earth Midwestness caught me and I snagged a copy of her novel Wildflowers from Winter. I. Loved. It.
The follow-up, Wishing on Willows, releases this month, and it’s another not-to-miss story. Before I tell you more about the story, check this out: If you pre-order Wishing on Willows, you’ll get a bonus 7 devotionals written by the author and based on the book. What a neat extra! Click here to sign up for the bonus.
Now, back to the story.
Robin Price lost her husband, Micah, love of her life, four years ago and found out she was pregnant with the child they’d longed for at the same time. The grief sent her spiraling into a pit, but a dream fulfilled–opening a cafe in their hometown of Peaks, Iowa–pulls her out and becomes her passion. Between the cafe, a grief support group, raising her son and a community ministry, Robin is stretched. Her cafe is barely making a profit, but Robin’s commitment to it, and the dream she and her husband shared, is unwavering.
So, when developer Ian McKay comes to town with plans to help the town build condominiums to attract new residents, plans that include tearing down the buildings including Robin’s cafe, Robin fights with all she has to hang on to the cafe, the community ministry and her memories of Micah. Ian has his own past to battle and is determined to make this deal a success to prove to his father that he’s worthwhile and to forget the personal failings of the past two years.
They can’t both get their way. The question their story seeks to answer is whether they’ll let God have His way, even if His plans differ from theirs.
Want a preview? Read the first chapter here.
I’ve loved this set of books and characters because they remind of my hometown, which is not all that far from the Iowa setting. The small-town people, businesses and get-togethers make me homesick and remind of people I know and circumstances I’ve read about and reported on as a journalist. Robin’s grief is realistic and her struggle to do it all is common to mothers whether single or married.
Ganshert’s word pictures give the story a heartbeat, and I found myself nodding “yes” along with an emotion a character was feeling.
I hope you’ll check out these books. You won’t feel out of the loop if you haven’t read Wildflowers from Winter, so don’t hesitate to read this one.
And just for you, I have TWO, yes TWO, advanced reading copies to give away. Find details about the giveaway at the end of the post.
But first, I’ve got a short interview with the author to share with you.
Here’s a fast five with Katie Ganshert.
I grew up in the Midwest and after moving to Pennsylvania, I found I missed my homeland (except for the bitter cold!). What do you love about the Midwest? And what could you do without?
I love the Midwest. I love the friendly people. I love the four seasons – even if spring and fall are too short. I love the country roads and the farmland (that is sadly becoming less and less). I could do without winter in April, although that didn’t happen last year.
What authors do you enjoy reading?
So many! One of my favorite new authors, as well as a good friend, is Becky Wade. We’re discovering that readers who read and enjoyed My Stubborn Heart also seem to enjoy my debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, and vice versa. So if you haven’t checked her out yet, I highly recommend! My Stubborn Heart made me laugh and cry and I seriously could not put it down.
Who would you cast to portray the main characters in your novels?
Oh, what a fun question! I imagine Robin to resemble a slightly younger Jennifer Connelly and Ian is a taller, tanner version of Matt Czuchry, complete with that adorable squinty-eyed smile. In Wildflowers I always imagined Bethany to look like a not-so-stunning version of Kiera Knightley and Evan as a scruffier, hazel-eyed version of Chris Pine.
What story in the Bible inspires you?
Rahab. She is “that girl”. The one who seems hopelessly lost and beyond redemption. She’s a prostitute. Her reputation is scandalous. Women would most likely cross the street to avoid her. Yet God used her in a huge way. He invited her to be a part of His story and she said yes. Through her lineage, came our rescue–Jesus Christ. I can’t get over that story. It just goes to show that God can use anyone, even the most broken among us.
How do you feel when you come to the end of a novel you’ve written?
Giddy and satisfied with a tiny twinge of sadness, because it’s hard to say goodbye, even to fictional characters.
And now for the giveaway (for US and Canada residents only).
1. Leave a comment here. You can tell me a) an experience you’ve had with grief and how you got through it or b) a dream you have/had that you would fight for no matter the cost. That’s one entry.
2. Like Katie Ganshert’s author page on Facebook, then come back here and leave a comment that you did that. That’s an extra entry.
3. Follow @katieganshert on Twitter, and tell me that you did that. Worth one extra entry.
4. Follow me @lmbartelt on Twitter. Worth another entry.
5. Share about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Help spread the word about this book and author! Worth one total entry.
Five chances to win! I’ll pick TWO winners on Saturday, March 9.
In exchange for my review, I was given a free ARC of Wishing on Willows from the author and Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.