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Customer Reviews for WaterBrook Press Wildflowers from Winter

WaterBrook Press Wildflowers from Winter

Architect Bethany Quinn reluctantly returns to her Iowa hometown for an "in and out" visit---but then her grandfather dies and leaves her his farm. She wants to sell the place, but even that gets complicated with manager Evan Price watching her every move. Can Bethany make peace with her trailer park past---and find love?
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Customer Reviews for Wildflowers from Winter
Review 1 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved this Debut Novel from Katie Ganshert!

Date:June 9, 2013
It seems that Bethany and Evan should have a lot in common. After all, they both love Bethany's grandfather and come from the same place. However, Bethany's determined to move on with her life and leave her past behind. When she inherits her grandfather's farmhouse—sans house—she's determined to sell ... even if that means selling Evan's dream out from under him.
Sparks fly between Evan and Bethany nearly from the beginning. I could tell that this was going to be an interesting relationship and couldn't wait to see how and if it developed further ... though I hoped it would! As much as I came to like Bethany, I liked Evan from the very start. He was the perfect hero for this story and may have been the most well-developed character in the story.
The third-person vignettes were a unique touch. I enjoyed the glimpses they gave to the past and they really helped fill out the story. Additionally, Robin was a great character, and I'm excited that her story be featured in Ganshert's next book.
Katie Ganshert's debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, was fantastic! If this first novel is any indication of what readers can expect in the future, I can't wait to read what's next! [5 stars]
I did not receive this book for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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Review 2 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great read!

Date:March 12, 2013
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GHayes
Location:Oregon
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
From previous experience I was beginning to think Christian fiction, by female authors, was not going to be my thing. However, in previewing for my next read, the title "Wildflowers from Winter" caught my attention. There was nothing unique about the description of the book but I noticed I had the option to preview the first chapter. That struck me as a "can't lose" option, so I clicked on the link. Not even halfway through that chapter I was captivated. Thankfully the novel was available via e-book so I was able to quickly receive a copy, which I promptly read over the course of the following three evenings. If my lifestyle would have allowed I'd have read the story in it's entirety in one sitting, because it was that good! At the end of the book I discovered the first chapter of the sequel and now, if only that novel was available, right now, to read! Katie Ganshert is the author, and in my opinion, this a a woman with great talent. The characters in her story became real to me; I felt their emotions and related to their experiences. I laughed with them, I cried with them. Each character had enough good to love them and enough flaws to seem like real people. As for staging the story, the author gave just enough description that I was able to visualize the scenes and feel as if I were there, but never so much that I could get bored. I received a preview copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group, for my review, and I'm excited to share with you about this exciting new Christian fiction novel. In my opinion, this is a wonderful read, that I highly recommend!
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Review 3 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Refreshing twist and an inspiring read

Date:February 6, 2013
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jsunne
Location:Iowa
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
In her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, Katie Ganshert focuses on the life of a self-made, self-sufficient young lady with a hurtful past. Determined to live her life on her own, she sees little value in investing in the lives of others or in believing in God.
Through a somewhat long trail of mishaps and unwanted events, Bethany finds herself facing the past she wanted to bury and friends she felt she no longer needed.
However, in entered a long, lost friend in Robin, a woman seemingly living a fairy tale life until tragedy strikes.
A series of events that could only be defined as divinely orchestrated, forced the two hurting women together again, one a stoic mask of bitterness, the other a haunting shell of indescribable pain.
As the story unfolded, I found myself getting frustrated with Bethany’s superior attitude and Robin’s apparent unending sorrow. A part of me wanted to jump right to the love and romance. To get everything smoothed out quickly.
However, the story’s realism was actually the feature that drew me in and held me fast. Grief wasn’t relieved overnight. Questioning God and His purpose ran throughout the book. The messiness of life was revealed in its totality.
As I devoured the story (staying up much too late to finish it), an image kept popping up in my mind. One of a dance where several steps are taken forward and then back again. This is how our journeys through this broken world play out.
Life isn’t a neat package and neither is faith.
Katie Ganshert does a masterful job portraying a bit of, I believe, all our walks in her characters. Not tying up life with a neat little bow, but revealing the fringes and tears in the wrapping. She writes the reality of redemption, not perfection.
Check out this great read! You won't be disappointed.
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Review 4 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

I applaud Katie Ganshert!

Date:January 29, 2013
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JesuSaves
Location:Canada
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
You know, I remember hearing a lot about this novel and I think anyone who is an avid reader of Christian Fiction can say the same thing. Many readers have talked about Wildflowers from Winters. Personally, the first impression I got from what I heard about it, was that this was a sad, sad story that would just pull you in and drown you in this pool of sorrows.
Um...No thank you!
But dear reader, after deciding to give it a try, if you are hesitating like I was- I'm hoping these thoughts might help you.
I literally could NOT put it down.
I finished it in two days and during that time, this book brought me to Iowa Peaks as I journeyed with Bethany Quinn and Evan Price on a path toward finding healing. Katie does not just write- she paints such realistic and vivid images that you're not just a reader reading a book- you're there. In the story. Living the emotions. And believe me this was NOT a depressing read- absolutely not. Yes, there were moments of intense grief, moments where Bethany, Robin, Evan and their family had to pile up tragedy upon tragedy in just a short time (death of a loved one, unexpected life-changing news). And Ganshert described what they went through very thoroughly.
But so help me, I laughed too. Out loud and many times. (Smiling as I'm thinking about it) I LOVE the author's sense of humour! Even in situations that were distressing, Katie found a way to subtly insert humour and not all of the situations were sad, mind you- score for this author!
Then the characters. Evan is a dream. What every good woman who treasures a romantic tale would want to find in it. But Bethany.. ugh! As frustrating as they come. She was so selfish, stubborn and just plain unlikable at times. 50 pages before the end of the story, I wondered how the author would put us ( me and the other characters) out of our misery with this woman.
Then I came to the part where we get a glimpse at Bethany's fragile heart and how in the end, she just struggled with one thing : trust. Something I think all of us can relate too.
While the romantic in me would have enjoyed a bit more romance (which, come to think of it, was hindered by Bethany's pride) and I found some parts to be a bit slow, I remember turning the last page of this book and thinking about the story again and again. It entertained me, it captivated me and it had a good dose of wise words.
I would recommend it.
And Ganshert, I think it's safe to say that I will be watching out for your upcoming books. With Wildflowers from Winters, you've captivated the interest of yet another reader.
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Review 5 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

**A debut novel that surprised me...

Date:January 25, 2013
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S Scales
Location:Texas
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
and put Katie Ganshert as a new author on my must-read list!**
Wildflowers from Winter is not a easy, cute read. (I’m not knocking those books, because they are fun. But sometimes you want a real story with characters that are messy, like us.) It’s a heart breaking story of the loss endured by Bethany Quinn and how she separated herself from it (or tries to). She is no longer Bethany who lives in the trailer park and tried to commit suicide. She is an up-and-coming architect in Chicago. However, the story doesn’t stay there. She drawn back to her small hometown and the slow, painful process of healing begins.
“Wildflowers burst from the ground...creating a picture more pleasing than anything her hands could design. She didn’t understand how it was possible... The abundance of snow had produced an abundance of wildflowers.... Somehow, those cold, lifeless winter months had prepared the land for something breathtaking. Something beautiful. Something brimming with life...”
I’m so glad that I got to know the characters in Wildflowers from Winter. They are real with both strengths and weakness. The main characters are Bethany -a wounded, scared child in woman’ body who has built a wall to protect her heart- and Evan -the man who has helped Bethany’s grandpa on the farm for 4 years and now loves this land.
This is most definitely a book I would recommend. I am looking forward to the next book by Katie Ganshert.
Disclosure: I received this ebook free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s book review bloggers program, BookSneeze. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 6 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Unforgettable Read!

Date:December 11, 2012
Customer Avatar
Christy Janes
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Bethany Quinn's life is the definition of success--cushy job at a prestigious architectural firm, great apartment in Chicago, and a boyfriend that's an up-and-coming big-city attorney. When she gets an urgent call out of the blue from her mother that she needs to return to podunk Peaks, Iowa, she sends her frustration and ranting into the universe and reluctantly makes the trip...the trip that sends her back to her Grandpa Dan, the one whom she could always depend on. What she doesn't count on is the handsome hired help at her grandpa's farm, a man who does nothing but argue with her at every turn. Bethany also doesn't count on the childhood memories from Peaks that continually flood her mind, and remind her of things she'd rather forget. Before all is said and done, the painful, lifelong decisions that she needs to make won't come without some much-needed soul searching, and the release of her own selfish control.
Few authors capture the raw tension and depth of emotion that Katie Ganshert has in her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter. She explores the intensity of grief, the hypocrisy of a church pastor, and a series of childhood events that shape an adult woman into someone cold and unfeeling. Bethany's character is complex and flawed, and when merged with stubborn Evan and grieving Robin, the combination of all three produces an unforgettable story. It's not difficult as a reader to see some of your own self in any one of these characters because as they peel back the layers of grief, hurt, and depression, the final result makes the title of this book take full shape.
It's clear after just one novel that Katie Ganshert has a very bright future Christian fiction. Wildflowers from Winter is guaranteed not only to be an poignant read for some, but a ministering read for many.
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Review 7 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

It about letting go, trusting God, your past

Date:October 14, 2012
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Lindz2012
Location:Gastonville
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I had tear running down my cheeks a bit. The story was heartfelt throughout the whole book. It was very good and I can not wait for the second book that come out in 2013 called "Wishing on Willows."
This book is about letting go, facing your past, trusting god. It really is good and it captures all them though out book and struggles of each one. The book is mainly about Bethany. It also about Robin and Evan a bit. Things happen and you need to learn to trust and let go and face the past as it comes.
You still need to find your faith though this and learn to trust God with your struggles.
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Review 8 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

So-so Cover Hides a Great Debut

Date:September 16, 2012
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Iola
Location:New Zealand
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Bethany Quinn is twenty-eight years old, living her dream life as an architect in Chicago, about to move in with her handsome lawyer boyfriend. She gets a telephone call from her estranged mother, saying that her childhood best friend, Robin, is facing the imminent death of her husband in their home town of Peaks, Iowa, population 1,539. Bethany hasn’t seen Robin since she Peaks ten years ago, so is reluctant to visit now.
But when her mother calls again, to say that her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, Bethany feels compelled to make a short visit, where she meets Evan, who works on her grandfather’s farm and is brother to Micah, Robin’s dying husband. As the story unfolds, we gradually discover Bethany's history: how she met Robin, how her father died, and why she is so set against God and religion.
Wildflowers in Winter has a compelling opening line, as Bethany describes her attempt to drown herself at twelve years old. This is the first of several scenes written from the younger Bethany’s point of view, but the bulk of the story is told in the more conventional third person viewpoint. Both are effective, and the author has done a good job of creating characters we can empathise with and understand as they struggle to reconcile tragedy with a loving God.
There were a couple of negatives. The romance side of the plot was a bit understated (although that’s obviously personal preference), as is the faith aspect (ditto). But overall, I’d encourage readers to look beyond the cover, because Wildflowers in Winter is a touching story of love, loss, and the importance of discovering God for ourselves, not relying on the words and actions of others.
This is the debut novel from author Katie Ganshert, and a sequel, Wishing on Willows, is in progress. The first chapter was included at the end of Wildflowers in Winter, and it looks to be just as good.
Thanks to WaterBrook and BloggingforBooks for providing a free ebook for review.
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Review 9 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

wildflowers review

Date:September 6, 2012
Customer Avatar
beckie
Age:35-44
Gender:female
"Wildflowers From Winter" by Katie Ganshert is a novel about an appearingly selfish and rude woman who has left her hometown with a strange fear of returning, to make it big in Chicago. She returns for the illnesses and eventual deaths of her friend's husband and her own grandfather. Bethany, had a rough childhood, but still comes across as hard to like for the most part. However, that doesn't stop "Wildflowers" from being a book you can't put down.
The basic agenda of the book is that being Christian is a good thing, and that those that judge others in the name of Christianity tend to be nutjobs and not actually Christian. This book gives the reader an understanding on the difference. It is predictible, but most romances are. Romance is a side story to the Christian vs nutjobs storyline. I like this one and I think most will too. Especially if you are on the fence about being Christian or not due to PC appearance. I received this book for free from bloggingforbooks.com.
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Review 10 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wildflowers from Winter -- Gripping!

Date:August 8, 2012
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sherrijinga
Location:Georgia
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Bethany Quinn is a mess! A wreck! And she doesn’t really know it at first. She’s an architect in a Chicago firm and her future seems bright. She’s got a boyfriend and it seems like her life will only get better. But she’s got a past that she doesn’t want to face. People she has walked away from that she doesn’t care to ever see again. But she gets called to return to her hometown and the memories of her trailer park days flood her mind no matter how hard she tries to run away from them. Her plan was to make her necessary visit and then return to her Chicago world and boyfriend. But her past wraps itself around her ankle and keeps dragging her back. She inherits a five hundred acre farm along with Evan, the farmhand. Well, she doesn’t really inherit him but she might as well have because he is as attached to the farm as she realizes she still is. It’s not going to be as easy to walk away as Bethany thought—and hoped. This woman has so many issues in her life, I wanted to jump in and help her overcome them. I found myself talking to her as I read and there were a few times I wanted to slap her, too. Katie has done a wonderful job of setting the scene and of conveying emotions. Wildflowers from Winter digs deep into the subject of loss and the grief that follows it. It also offers hope for a future.
“I received this book for free from Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”
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Review 11 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

An Enjoyable Read

Date:July 23, 2012
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BethStrand
Location:Oregon City, OR
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The theme of going home again, especially when it means confronting your troubled past, may be used frequently but it still makes for good fiction. Character Bethany Quinn has no reason or desire to go home again, until she hears that her best childhood friend’s husband has suffered a brain anyurism and is on life support. Then she receives the news that her grandfather is in the hospital. Suddenly the pull of long-neglected relationships cannot be ignored. Completely unsure as to why she needs to do this, Bethany goes home to her grandfather’s house only to find it inhabited by the brusque new farm manager, Evan.
Katie Ganshert pulls “Wildflowers in Winter” from the jaws of being just another “go back and face my past and meet my true love” story with good characters, an intriguing story line and an interesting process of personal growth on the part of Bethany Quinn. She trickles out the dark secrets of Bethany’s past with the precision of a mystery writer keeping you wondering until the secret is ready to spill out. There was a plot twist that throws the oppositional couple together that I found less than believable, but I was more than willing to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the characters and the story.
This book was provided to me for this review through the Blogging for Books program.
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Review 12 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Much more than your typical romance

Date:July 23, 2012
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Lehrerin
Location:Roxboro, NC
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Bethany Quinn has spent years building her career as an architect at a fancy Chicago firm - until her grandfather dies, forcing her to return to the tiny rural town in which she grew up. Suddenly becoming a modern-day Job, her life turns upside down as she inherits his farm but loses everything she values. Could the farm - and the man who inherited the farmhouse - restore her faith and help her find her way?
Wildflowers from Winter is a modern spin at the story of Job that shows us just how easy it is to lose sight of what's really important. Like so many Americans, Bethany Quinn was trying to improve her life, working hard at being successful and wealthy, when those things aren't what really lasts. Learning these lessons is difficult for Quinn, and that means that it's not exactly a perky read, either - Quinn really struggles with a new view of her desires, who God is, and what is meaningful and lasting in this life. Her best friend, who is trying to put one foot in front of the other after the tragic death of her husband, adds to the emotional depth of this story.
Yet this story isn't all about the difficult. Evan Price, the man who inherited her grandfather's house and surrounding acreage, is a hunk of a farmer, and he's a faithful man of God - who's intertwined with Bethany's stay in her hometown. As their paths keep crossing, Quinn grows to respect this man who tries to do the right thing, even when he's struggling himself, and their mutual attraction keeps the sparks flying throughout the story. This definitely lightens the mood when it gets somber, but also adds a great reflection to Quinn's friend's marriage - Robin had a great marriage and is mourning the end, but Quinn is contemplating a new relationship with Evan, and could it be as wonderful? Both love twists will have you reaching for your husband, in need of a hug - thankful for the relationship and that he's still here.
Ganshert writes so smoothly that I couldn't put this book down until I finished it. Quinn became real in my mind, and I was alternately frustrated at her selfishness and brainstorming ways to help her friends. I was concerned for grieving Robin, laughing at Grandfather's cunning matchmaking skills, and irritated at the arrogant pastor who led Quinn astray so long ago. I loved this book for its layers - layers of fun and frolic, depth and emotion, plans and regrets and issues.
Wildflowers from Winter is an unusually deep romantic love story with a calm and steadfast setting that perfectly reflects our Creator's love for us. Don't miss this one.
I received a free copy of Wildflowers from Winter from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 13 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A book about overcoming winter

Date:July 15, 2012
Customer Avatar
Faye
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
From the heartache of loss, comes hope.
Bethany is a young architect with a troubled past, suddenly she finds herself without a job, and the owner of a farm in rural Iowa. With the help of old friends and new ones alike, Bethany might just find what she's been searching for.
Wildflowers from Winter is a beautifully written tale, that has a gentle listless feeling to it. Each word seems to take on the emotion of the characters. It was hard at first to get into the story because of all the sad things that were happening and how the first part was rather akin to Winter. But gradually it grew on me, and I really grew to love the characters. I really loved how Ms. Ganshert used chapters written in first person to show what Bethany had gone through and it really helped me to understand her better, because at other times it was rather hard to figure out what was really going on inside her head.
I loved how wonderfully complex all of the characters were and getting to know them was rather like watching a flower bloom, each petal peeling back to reveal their full beauty.
Overall, Wildflowers from Winter is a remarkable debut from Katie Ganshert, with rich characters, and a wonderfully expressive style of writing, that conveyed so much in small ways. This book is one that took me on an entire emotional journey that I won't soon forget. Definitely a book not to miss!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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Review 14 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Moving story will touch your heart

Date:July 11, 2012
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MaryAnn
Location:OR
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wildflowers from Winter provides an intimate look into one woman’s life and her struggle to overcome her tainted past. Bethany Quinn is dealt several tough blows as her dream life of being a successful architect begins to crumble. Can she renovate herself as she has the buildings she’s worked on? She’s forced to return to her despised rural hometown for a time, where she is thrown into assisting her former best friend and her grandfather’s hired hand.
This powerful novel deals with loss and finding one’s way through grief. Don’t read the back cover copy first—it gives away too much of the story. I like the joy and adventure of discovering things as I read. And this book is one you won’t want to miss. Even though it deals with sorrow, readers will find hope in the midst of pain.
The insights gleaned can spill over into anyone’s life journey, just like wildflowers bloom profusely following a severe winter. Katie Ganshert’s strong characterization and flowing prose in this debut novel make me long for her next one.
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Review 15 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

What a wonderful book about moving on!

Date:July 5, 2012
Customer Avatar
Diane
Location:MA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Summary from GoodReads: A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built the life she dreamed of during her teen years in a trailer park. An unexpected interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.
Determined to pay her respects to her past while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of five hundred acres of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. When Bethany is left the land, Evan must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.
For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace that she’s not even sure exists?
Bethany Quinn had it all; an job as an architect, a steady boyfriend who is a lawyer and a new life in Chicago. Then rather quickly, her life changes and so goes back to her hometown in Iowa, a place that she worked so hard to forget. She promises herself that she would only stay until things are resolved when she realizes that she has nothing to go back to Chicago for. What will Bethany chose to do? Will she stay in Iowa? Can she live in a town with so many bad memories and move forward? Find out the answers to these questions by reading Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, click here to download the first chapter to read for yourself.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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Review 16 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Great Debut Novel!

Date:July 3, 2012
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Melissa
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Wildflowers from winter is the first book in a series from new author Katie Ganshert.
The story centers around main character Bethany Quinn. Bethany grew up in Peaks, Iowa - first on her Grandpa Dan's farm with her parents and brother until the death of her father, then in a trailer park with her mother and brother.
She dreamed of becoming a big-time architect and being able to leave Peaks - and her past - behind her. Now twenty-eight, she's living her dream, working for a prestigious firm in Chicago. One day, she gets a call from her estranged mother calling to tell her about a tragic situation that has happened to Micah (husband of Robin - her childhood best friend). Later that day, her mother calls again with news about health issues with her grandfather. Feeling the need to visit both Robin and her grandfather, while avoiding any emotional entanglements, Bethany decides to go back to her home town - but only for a week. However, the unexpected inheritance of 500 acres of farmland and the sudden change of things back in Chicago force her to draw up a new plan.
The book starts off with a prologue about Bethany when she was twelve years old. The first sentence is rather gripping: "The summer I turned twelve, I tried to kill myself". It was an unexpected start to the book and I was curious as to why the character tried to do that. The author doesn't let the reader know why though until much later in the book.
It was hard, at first, for me to get into the story after the prologue. I'm not sure why. It may be that it went from Bethany telling about the time she tried to kill herself to present day with her at work. I did get more into the story around the time she receives her inheritance (about 100 pages in).
The way the main characters each handled the difficult circumstances and tragedies that occurred seemed realistic. Robin definitely had the hardest time, but that's to be expected.
I thought the main characters - Bethany, Robin and Evan - were well developed with back-stories that seemed realistic. I also liked how the author showed how someone can have a totally flawed image of who God really is and how that can affect them throughout their life.
Overall, I feel this was a great debut novel from Katie Ganshert. I thought it was an interesting, good read with well-developed characters and story line that progressed at a good pace. I'm looking forward to reading her next novel, Wishing on Willows, due to release next year.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 17 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

A solid debut novel

Date:June 20, 2012
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girlsmama
Location:Edgewood, WA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Bethany Quinn is a girl who seemingly has it all- a great job as an architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, youth, beauty and a boyfriend of three years. But appearances can be deceiving as she also has a past; a past she has definitely moved on from, living in a trailer park in Iowa with a difficult, confusing relationship with her mother as well as a father that left her life too soon, leaving her with heartache and despair. The past wasn’t all bad though as her Grandpa Dan also lived there on his extensive farm where so many good childhood memories were born.
Tragedy with a friend sends Bethany rather reluctantly back to her home town of Peaks as a good childhood friend whom she has lost contact with is facing huge grief coupled with her Grandfather’s health issues and she cannot avoid her past any longer, so she returns to Peaks. While there, she crosses paths with her Grandfather’s farmhand Evan Price and as much as Bethany dislikes her hometown of Peaks, Evan loves it- the farmland, the people and the rural way of life. Peaks is a place where people take care of each other and rise up and help one another especially in times of tragedy. Bethany’s old childhood friend Robin is in need of much support. Bethany is not really sure at first if she can lend it, but several circumstances that occur draw these two friends back together and their friendship is renewed in a newer and deeper way.
Evan and Bethany are definitely an" opposites attract" kind of combination- He’s a farm hand; she’s a big city architect. He wants to farm for the rest of his life, and she… doesn’t. He has a faith in God and she’s been burned by legalistic Christians in her past and really has no need for Him. But as the story unfolds and Bethany learns the difference between who God really is and who she thought he was from a legalistic point of view, she gradually discovers that the love her Father has for her is what she really needs to help heal those past hurts.
On the whole I would say that I enjoyed the book very much. There was a sincere journey that Bethany took and I think that the back story made sense and fit together nicely. I think that Katie Ganshert as a debut novelist put in a very solid first novel. The opening is attention grabbing with the scene of young Bethany in the pool. I would say that I felt the pacing was a little slower in the first part of the novel, but I feel picks up towards the end. Ganshert doesn't tie up everything with a nice bow- there are things that still need to be worked out in Bethany's life, for instance her relationship with her mother. Overall, I would say that it was a great story with interesting characters and a good message – relationships are worth fighting for, with old friends, and especially with God.
3.5 stars
I would like to thank Waterbrook Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Review 18 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Have the tissues ready when you get to the end!

Date:June 19, 2012
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wfnren
Location:St Cloud, FL
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Bethany Quinn, now an architect in a Chicago firm, never wanted to go back to Peaks, Iowa, her hometown. Her mother and paternal grandfather still live there and when she left there 10 years ago she never looked back. She did keep in touch but never returned and never planned on returning either.
Ruth, her mother, sent her a message one day to let her know that her best friend's husband died and Robin needed her. She wasn't going to go until she learned that Dan, her grandfather, had a heart attack, so reluctantly she went for what was supposed to be a quick visit. After all who would want to go home to a town that treated her like she was crazy, all because they think she tried to kill herself.
Her father had been injured in a farm accident and that's when Pastor Fenton started tearing her family apart. When her father accidentally drowned in the bath tub, Pastor Fenton got under her skin even more.She blamed him for her mother moving them from the 500 acre farm into town, to a run down trailer in a run down trailer court, drove her to swim to the bottom of the public swimming pool, she was sent for counseling and none of the kids wanted anything to do with her anymore besides the fact that the adults all looked at her funny.
Bethany returns to Chicago and gets a call that Dan had another heart attack but did not survive this one. She returns once again to Peaks for the funeral. At the reading of the will she finds out that her grandfather left the 500 acres of farmland to her but he left the house, and the land it sits on, to Evan Price, who has taken care of the farm for Dan for five years. The two don't get along and Bethany wants to sell her 500 acres but it will be hard to do since Evan is planning on keeping the house.
When she returns to Chicago she finds out that her firm is downsizing and she no longer has a job, not only that she finds out that Dominic, her boy friend of about 3 years, is moving to Florida because he got a job offer there. Bethany returns to Peaks to take care of selling her land and stays with Robin who also happens to be Evan's sister-in-law. Robin is pregnant with her dead husbands baby and is a christian, Bethany does not like God because of Pastor Fenton.
Katie keeps things moving in this book, at first I wasn't too sure about it, but she did draw me in. Be sure you have some tissue handy when you get to the end, you'll need them! I don't normally read this genre, just once in a while, but I did end up really enjoying this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BloggingforBooks.org book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 19 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wildflowers from Winter

Date:June 17, 2012
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lv2trnscrb
Location:San Diego County, California
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I read this book through Waterbrook Multnomah and was provided a free copy to review and post a review about it on my blog and a consumer site.
I totally enjoyed this book; it caught my interest from the first page of the book and held it through the final pages. Made me laugh, made me cry. Excellent plot line, a bit predictable, but did have a few surprises along the way.
The story is about Bethany Quinn who tries to drown herself when she is 12 years old. We don't find out why she attempted to until later in the book. What we do learn is that she was very eager to leave the small town she grew up in and never to return to it.
Ten years later, she has a successful career as an architect in the Chicago area, but a series of tragic events brings her back to her hometown. The story unfolds as she deals with the tragic events and deals with her relationship with God which was nonexistent at the beginning of the book to one that developed at the end of the book to have a belief and a faith in him.
It is a delightful read; I would highly recommend it to one and all.
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Review 20 for Wildflowers from Winter
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Story of Renewal and God's Faithfulness

Date:June 15, 2012
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Scribbles
Location:Boise, ID
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Bethany Quinn finally has the life she always wanted. A relationship with a successful lawyer which seemed to be moving forward. A good job with a prestigious architectural firm in Chicago, nice car, expensive clothes, fabulous apartment. A far cry from the broken down trailer and second-hand clothes she knew as a girl. Far away from the small town life she hated. Far away from the memories of her childhood tragedy. Everything is perfect. Just the way she always wanted it to be.
Then everything starts to fall apart, and the small town she was certain she had left behind for good starts to reel her back in, kicking and screaming.
Evan Price knows Bethany's grandfather better than she does, so when she shows up to care for him after the heart attack, he is understandably resistant to the intrusion. After all, she hadn't been to visit the man in the entire five years Evan had lived and worked with him. Now she waltzes in with her designer clothes and fancy car, thinking she can make up for years of silence. He is certain she has no concern for anyone but herself. Anyone who can leave her family and best friends without so much as a word has to be a horrible person. So why does he find himself mysteriously drawn to her?
I love the way the author wove this story from start to finish, including powerful and inspirational themes that carry a message of freedom and renewal. Even though it seemed like tragedy was following tragedy for each of the three main characters, the way every one of those tragedies came together to draw each of the characters to where God wanted them to be demonstrated how God can work everything out for his perfect purpose. What was awesome was that it didn't seem overly preachy, but more as a natural proof of how He draws us to himself, even in the midst of pain we think will never end. Like the way abundant wildflowers follow the harshest winter. Love that.
The characters were true-to-life in the way they reacted and handled themselves when faced with all their personal trials, which made the development of the relationships among them progress in a way that made perfect sense. Bethany's buried anger and bitterness over her father's death and the way her mother handled it, Evan's loss of his brother and the impending loss of his dream life as a farmer, and the sudden death of Robin Price's husband, leaving her to deal with life and a new pregnancy all alone.
This is a clean and inspirational story that deals with death, grief, faith, renewal, and love. It's a well developed plot with real conflicts that deal with the human condition. If you're in the mood for a light read, this wouldn't be a good choice for you. But if you are looking for something meaningful and moving, Wildflowers from Winter is definitely worthy of a good look.
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