When reading realistic fiction, I most enjoy a book that develops believable characters and situations, and “Wildflowers in Winter” does just that, incredibly well.
I connected so much with author Katie Ganshert‘s characters that I found myself throughout the story identifying plot lines that I’d like to see her explore in future books about these same characters. The good news? This is the first in a planned series; the second book “Wishing on Willows” is to be released March 2013.
There is such richness and depth in the characters, yet they are easy to relate to and sorta down to earth, like people I could really know. Bethany, the big city architect who couldn’t wait to leave her small town roots. Bethany’s childhood best friend Robin, who’s dealing with the sudden death of her husband while carrying their much-wanted first child. Evan, the man in the middle, so to speak, as Robin’s brother-in-law and the man who stands in the way of Bethany finally ridding herself of her old hometown once and for all.
The events in the book are genuine, and the spiritual elements from Ganshert are also genuine. She doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. Her characters are seeking and I believe so is Ganshert and she knows that her readers are too. And that’s OK.
After events in her young life turned Bethany away from faith in God, experiencing with Robin the loss of Robin’s husband and the birth of their child tugged at Bethany’s heart.
“Which God would she believe? Which God would she embrace? She gripped Pastor Fenton’s God in one hand — a God who made her mother cower, a God who showed no mercy to a broken man in a wheelchair, a God Bethany spent the last 16 years ignoring. She examined Robin’s God in her other — a God who brought peace when there shouldn’t be peace. A God who brought joy when there shouldn’t be joy. A God who didn’t leave a widowed woman alone in her grief. … How could she accept this God-without-boundaries and remain who she was? But how could he deny the truth lying before her?
I enjoy that Ganshert and the book does not assert to have all the answers like so many Christian fiction books try to do. I found it refreshing to read a Christian fiction that wasn’t neat but started and stayed frayed, like real life, and the characters’ stories were not tied up in a nice neat bow at the end but they were going to continue to search and learn and grow, just like real life.
I look forward to the next volume and to future books. Ganshert did an amazing job setting up characters and potential plots for many, many volumes to come, I hope.
Check out Ganshert’s author page for all kinds of “extras,” like the story behind some of the names and characters, outtakes, music related to the story, and more. You can also read the first three chapters right on Ganshert’s page!
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.