Letting go and moving on: Review of Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

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. willows cover

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.

ganshertHere’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.

29 thoughts on “Letting go and moving on: Review of Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

  1. Pingback: A Worry-Less Life | Katie Ganshert - wildflowers from winter

    • You’re welcome! And you make it easy by writing great stories! Hoping we can meet in person someday. Our families live in north-central Illinois, so who knows? 🙂

  2. I don’t Twitter. I am already a fan of Katie’s.

    My most surprising journey with grief has been my mom’s passing. We were not the closest mother and daughter, she was fraught with mental illness and my coping mechanism was to distance myself, I guess. She had dementia the last years of her life, and mellowed tremendously to the point where she had forgotten all of the wrongs I supposedly did her…..and she was always so glad to see me and wanted to talk to me….anyways, letting go of her was a process even as she was living. For instance, one day she no longer remembered how to talk on the phone. So in little ways, I let go of her bit by bit, I thought I was ready for her passing. About a year after she died, though, I found myself mourning all over again, because she had been so happy when I was with her in those last years and I’d never see that smile on her face when I entered her room again.

    Thankfully this stage of grief has abated…and it’s not quite as painful as we enter the third year of her passing.

  3. I shared this post on facebook and I clicked on her author page. I am always looking for a New Chrisitian Romance book that talks about Faith and Hope. I learned from Katie from Joanne Bischop. I can’t wait to read Katie’s books now. Blessings!!!

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m always pleasantly surprised when I try out a new author and then LOVE what I read. It’s good to get out of the comfort zone every now and then!

  4. I was so moved by Wildflowers from Winter and have been eagerly looking forward to Wishing on Willows. Having endured a miscarriage early in my marriage and having lost my beloved mother-in-law to cancer and my dear father-in-law five years later, I’m no stranger to grief. I find it helpful to read fictional accounts of those dealing with the heartache.

    Katie is my friend and agent mate, so I know how awesome she is. I’ve followed her on Twitter and FB for years. Just added you on those sites as well as on Goodreads, Lisa. I’ve been talking up Wishing on Willows for months. Can’t wait until my copy arrives.

  5. When my mother died 17 years ago, my family and I were serving as missionaries in the Dominican Republic. I didn’t make it “home” in time to say goodbye. How did I get through it? Only with God’s strength and help. I’ve discovered He alone can provide true peace and comfort during times like this.

    I’ve already liked Katie’s author page on FB and am following her on twitter. I’m now following you on twitter 🙂 and retweeted your tweet about this interview. I will also help promote Wishing on Willows on FB. I read Wildflowers from Winter and am looking forward to reading Wishing on Willows.

  6. Liked already, Shared on FB, pinned on pinterest……
    Greif has many meanings….for me one area of greif was not a death….but a change in perception, an accepting of change…..the realization that things would never be the same again….. when our firstborn became afflicted by a rare autoimmune disease that almost took his life, left him with heart vessel damage and an uncertain outcome…..I and My husband had to find a new “normal”….we witnessed so many kids who would not come home from the hospital…and we still had ours….but to us….he was still OURS and we felt deep greif at the pain and uncertainty ahead….and pain in dealing with people who ment well “outside” but avoided us to avoid feeling emotional and helpless themselves. NOW it has helped us be more sensitive….trust more….cherish more…..cry and live! Even now….19 years later….I still feel deep emotions of back then….and it is well….

  7. My worst time was when my mother passed away a few years ago . I don’t know how I would have made it if not for my Lord & my Husband .. She was sick for a long period of time . Love your books & would love to win .
    I am already following on face book & will share on Facebook . Thank you

  8. Pingback: 5 on Friday: inspiring quotes from books I’ve read recently | Living Echoes

  9. Thanks, everyone, for your comments and entries! The winners were Keli and Keren, and they have been notified. I hope you get your hands on this book no matter what!

  10. Pingback: An emotional journey: Review of The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert | Living Echoes

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