I didn’t like Bethany Quinn at first. She seemed stuck-up, full of herself and operated with an attitude that she was better than other people.
But as with most first impressions, I was too quick to judge.
Bethany’s story unfolds on the pages of Wildflowers from Winter, the debut novel from Midwest (yay!) author Katie Ganshert, and the more I got to know Bethany, the more I sympathized with her. A small-town girl with some deep wounds, Bethany hightailed it out of town when she turned 18 and didn’t look back. Now, she’s an architect at a prestigious firm in Chicago with a lawyer boyfriend, living the life she imagined. A family tragedy draws her back to her Iowa hometown and Bethany finds that escaping her past, and the memories both good and bad, wasn’t as easy as she thought.
Wildflowers from Winter is a story of loss and redemption. Bethany thinks she has it all, and when she loses the “sure things” in her life, she starts to question her life and future. She gave up on God years ago but she discovers that He hasn’t given up on her.
Ganshert’s writing is simple and poetic. The story flows like the stream winding its way through Bethany’s grandfather’s property and gently carries the reader along. And there are moments, not an abundance, where her words convey a solid truth, like a giant rock perched in the middle of the stream, and you sit with the wisdom for a little while before moving on with the story.
Her descriptions of the small town and the surrounding farmland made me homesick for my hometown in Illinois. Yes, I love the beauty of the mountains here, but I will always miss the farmland scenes. Maybe that’s something only Midwesterners can appreciate. Anyway, I could see it the way Ganshert described it, and I wanted to be there. I’d call that successful scene setting.
And Evan the farmhand? Well, let’s just say he’s a gruff, charming, passionate, hard-working leading man in this story. I loved him.
The story tackles grief of all kinds in all seasons, as well as the ways people cope and move on. There are sob-caught-in-your-throat moments and bring-a-smile-to-your-face moments. I look forward to the continuing story in Wishing on Willows, coming this spring.
You can read the first chapter of Wildflowers from Winter here.
And I have a copy for you!
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win your own copy. I’ll pick a winner using Random.org and post the results on Monday, January 7.
For additional chances to win: “like” Author, Katie Ganshert’s Facebook page, or share about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. (One extra entry each.) Come back here and leave another comment when you’ve done the “extra credit.”
In exchange for my review, I received a free digital and print copy of Wildflowers from Winter from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.