Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter - by Katie Ganshert

Bethany Quinn has worked hard to leave her small town behind, not just the location, but her family, her friends, and the girl who she was when she lived there.  Yet, when her mother calls to tell her that her best friend from childhood is going through a tragedy and her grandfather has had a heart attack, Bethany finds herself back in the town she managed to escape.  Trying to keep her new persona of a professional architect from the big city of Chicago, she finds it difficult to handle the challenges being thrown her way, and she struggles with letting go of her independence to let either people, or God, into her life.

Although Bethany is the main character of Wildflowers from Winter, the author does a good job of developing the other characters well. The story shifts points of view from Bethany, to her friend Robin, and to Evan, the man who has been living with her grandfather and taking care of his farm for the past five years.  I felt that the characters of Bethany and Evan were especially well-developed, with the reader slowly learning all of the pertinent facts from their respective pasts.  Not so slowly as to be frustrating, but at an expected pace, in line with the story.  The only character-development I would have liked to have seen more from was Bethany's brother David.  She references him frequently, but he never makes an actual appearance in the story, and we learn very little about him.

Bethany's struggles felt very real, especially her struggle with God and how she felt that the people in her life who had turned to God had let her down.  It takes patience from those around her to demonstrate that not all those who call themselves Christians will hurt her and judge her.  And it takes some lessons in trust for Bethany to learn that being vulnerable to God in her life will make her stronger.

I also enjoyed the love story plot in this book.  It was not unexpected, but it did feel secondary to the plot, which made me enjoy it more.  Connecting the two characters was not the point of the book, nor did the author use it as the solution to Bethany's (or Evan's) problems.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  I felt invested in the characters enough to hope that there might be a sequel someday (?).  I would really like to follow them further, maybe to see how Robin's cafe turns out, or see what happens to David in Afghanistan, or see Bethany and Evan work the farm together.

I give the book 4 stars.
Try the first chapter HERE to see if you like it!
The author has a blog HERE (and she's doing a giveaway right now - of another good book!)
Let me know if you read this book - I would love to talk about it!

Please take a minute to rank my review - you could WIN a copy of this good book!

I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.

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