Wishing on Willows: A Novelby Katie Ganshert
A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the/b>
Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?
A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.
“Have you ever been through a painful season in life and wished for something new, something fresh, or even something healing to come along? Take this journey with Robin Price, a widow and single mother with a big heart and passion for those closest to her, as she wades through trying to live, let go, and love again. Wishing on Willows is a story of hope that will find you stepping up to the willow tree and daring to make wishes.”
—Cheryl McKay, coauthor of Never the Bride and author of Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting
“What I’ve come to admire about Katie Ganshert’s writing is how skillfully and compassionately she creates memorable characters and weaves into their lives authentic struggles. From the very first line, “The first time I lost my husband…,” to the last line, “The whispered words came without fear or guilt or hesitation,” we are given the gifts of grieving and letting go told with humor; realistic trials; characters I want to go on telling their stories; and the longings of the human heart. This is a fine, fine novel.”
—Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times best-selling author of Where Lilacs Still Bloom
“Just like a willow tree, Wishing on Willows evokes grace, humility, and beauty. A well-penned story of sacrifice, second chances, and love, Ganshert’s second novel is as poignant as her first. This is a must-read for any reader seeking to find comfort beneath their own proverbial willow.”
—Betsy St. Amant, author of Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK
“In Wishing on Willows, Katie Ganshert delicately weaves together a story of healing and renewed hope. Will young widow Robin Price choose to fight for what she had or to relinquish the past for the chance to love again? Ganshert deftly writes of grief and wounds that leave us shattered, pointing her characters—and her readers—to the One who provides the strength to embrace life again.”
—Beth K. Vogt, author of Wish You Were Here and Catch a Falling Star
“Katie Ganshert’s Wishing on Willows is rich in symbolism but as down-to-earth as its Midwestern heroine, a young widow juggling the roles of single mom, business owner, and ministry volunteer. I was thoroughly drawn into her changing seasons of love and loss, memory and hope. Like a May basket left at a neighbor’s door, this is a generous story filled with charm and surprises.”
—Meg Moseley, author of When Sparrows Fall
“Katie Ganshert has created an interesting cast of characters that are likable yet flawed. Fans of inspirational romance are sure to enjoy this novel.”
—Kathryn Cushman, author of Almost Amish
“Katie Ganshert is a fresh and powerful new voice in contemporary Christian romance. Her writing wraps itself around your heartstrings and refuses to let go.”
—Erica Vetsch, author of A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas
- The Crown Publishing Group
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- Random House
- NOOK Book
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Read an Excerpt
The first time I lost my husband, we were in Italy on our honeymoon. For the briefest of moments, as he walked toward me with our train tickets tucked in the back pocket of his jeans, the sunlight swallowed him. Even though he came back into view not more than a second later, my breath caught. I had this terrifying thought that something could happen. That moments were fleeting, and with the snap of a finger, he could be gone.
Before the idea could settle, Micah wrapped his arm around my waist and we boarded a train that took us up the coast to Cinque Terra—a cluster of five towns precariously built atop cliffs rising from the sea. With Micah’s warmth beside me and our train window framing a fire-burning sunset over the Mediterranean, life felt so intensely beautiful and limitless and vibrant that my heart ached. I understood why my mother had never wanted to vacation anywhere else.
We stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in the town of Riomaggiore. The next morning, instead of joining the tourists walking the main road, Micah and I went exploring, holding hands while a gentle breeze carried the scent of baking bread through the streets and church bells chimed in the distance and multicolored clothes danced on lines outside opened windows. That’s when we discovered Caffe di Luca.
It was small and squat, and not nearly sturdy enough to support the jumble of buildings stacked on top. But happy chatter lured us inside and we ordered in broken Italian. Then we sat by the window and drank the world’s best coffee, wondering out loud how anyone could tend and harvest vineyards that grew on vertical hills. We stayed through another two cups until we were giddy with caffeine.
Discovering Caffe di Luca was like finding a pearl in the belly of a clamshell—wonderful and unexpected. Like dedicated pearl divers, we spent the rest of our honeymoon searching for more, making a game of who could order in the best Italian, and later, French. Sipping café au laits. Eating pasticiotti and macarons. Taking silly pictures and dreaming about the children we would have and the memories we would collect with each passing year.
Ending such a magical time in Paris felt too cliché. Too American. So instead, Micah picked the second largest city in France. Which is how we wound up in Marseille at Café de Petit, an inconsequential establishment hidden behind a pair of olive trees.
In what I still claim to have been impeccable French, I ordered coffee—black for me, a double shot of espresso for Micah, and chocolate brioche to share. We took our treat outside and sat beneath one of the trees. Even now, eleven years later, I can still taste the flaky brioche melting over my tongue. I can hear the canopy of leaves rustling with the warm breeze. I can still feel Micah’s arms around me as I rest my head against his shoulder.
“We should do this.” His chest vibrated with the words.
“This.” He motioned toward the doors behind us, his arms tightening around my body. “A café.”
I laughed. “You’re nuts.”
“No, seriously.” His lips brushed my temple. “I’ve seen you fall in love with every single one we’ve gone to. Your eyes light up. I’ll miss seeing that when we go home.” He turned me around and kissed my nose, ran his knuckles across my jaw. “I want you to have a café, Robin.”
I melted into his touch.
“Plus, you’d be the world’s sexiest café owner.”
He kissed my lips then. Long. Slow. Delicious. One of a thousand delicious kisses he’d given me over the last three weeks. And this magical, light, tantalizing feeling captured me—that even though we would soon be leaving, even though our honeymoon was drawing to a close, this was just the beginning. Micah and I had the rest of our lives to plan. To have children. To open a café. To come back here when we were old and gray, to Marseille and Cinque Terra and every other town we stopped at along the way. To celebrate the life we would build. The life we would share together.
Meet the Author
Katie Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband and their young son. She is the author of Wildflowers from Winter.
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Let Go and Let God!! I LOVE Christian books, mainly non-fiction. It has been a little hard to get into the fiction Christian books, but this book was good! I don't know how the author did it, but she made me cry! I cried because even though I have not lost a husband to death literally, I have lost a husband to divorce and it crushes your soul! This is the story of Robin and Ian, each going through very painful seasons, but very different seasons. I can relate with this story so well. The pain of praying and praying for something and it seems as if God does not hear and does not answer. It's only after your season has passed, you realize God did answer and in a way that was even better than you hoped for. This book speaks of life's messiness, our fallen world and God's grace and love. Life a lot of the times, does not work out the way we intended. My favorite part of the book involves Ian and his mother. She is speaking of her son's pain and she says, *"If that pain brings us to the throne of God, if it brings us to our knees before the King of Kings..."Oh, honey, there's amazing grace in that."* Not only did Robin learn to "*Be Still because God will fight for her.*"...It reminded me of my favorite bible verse *Be Still and Know That I am God*. We all need to remember during difficult times to Let Go and Let God. God will fight for us and His love is Amazing!! Robin's beloved cafe, which holds very dear memories is threatened. Her fragile heart cannot take anymore pain and it is here, the author Katie Ganshert had my tears flowing-- *Maybe it was time to turn away from this mountain of fear and her past and the man she once loved bigger than the moon so she could take whatever journey God had for her.* Trust me Ladies, this is a beautiful story of trusting God and His plans for your life...they are always so much better than our own! Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
I have a really awesome book to tell you about tonight called Wishing on Willows and it was written by Katie Ganshert. She also wrote Wildflowers from Winter which I also got to read and I loved both of these books written by an obvious talented writer. I will be looking out for new books in the future that she writes. Very heartwarming and feel good books. Maybe not your fortay but in this world we live in, I would rather have a little fun fantasy than all of this gloom and doom stuff. I need a break, how bout you? These are the kind of stories that just make my blood boil, what about you? I think it's always big business pushing out the little man so that they can make the big bucks and share none of it with the person they screwed over. Robin has had alot on her plate lately with her husband dying a few years back and she has a son, Caleb, who is three years old to raise and the last thing she needs is some developement coming in and wanting to get rid of the whole block where her Willow Tree Cafe is just so they can make condo's! It was the only thing she had left that belonged to her and Micah and they had wanted to run the Willow Tree Cafe for their whole life before retiring. Can she fight them and does she really want to? Sometimes, when things happen to us, it is always safest to hold onto the dreams you made with someone else but in the real world, it doesn't really help the situation. I think Robin needs to reflect on was this really her dream or her husband's? And would he want her to fight over trivial things instead of spending time with their son and making sure he is okay? Will Robin be able to see another chance when it's right in front of her face? Or will she run? She thinks this man named Ian is a bad man but in actuality, he is a fair and decent man and hopefully Robin will figure this out before it's too late for her and Caleb to have a stable, secure life with someone who will take care of them. What do you think? Well, here is where I say that old saying of mine, Happy Reading!
I've enjoyed all of the books by katie ganshert! I especcially could not put this one down!
Plot: I really enjoyed the plot. It was real and simple, but it was intriguing and entertaining at the same time. There wasn't too much happening, but enough to stay engaged with the story. Characters: I really enjoyed the character development in this story. It really was essential to the story. Watching the characters grow and change as the story develops and learning things about the characters and how they fit together was in itself romantic and beautiful. Themes: The main theme in this book would be moving forward. Robin is stuck between who she was with her husband and the dreams they shared and moving ahead with her life and taking the next steps. Emotion: The emotion was great at times and only okay at others. It was easy to identify with the characters, but not always in a deep intimate way. Overall: I really enjoyed this book and the characters. As I said, it was just a simple story, but it was very well written and entertaining. ---I received this book for free from the publisher for this review.---
This book is so good! I had been waiting for a few weeks to get the book and it was well worth the wait! "Wishing on Willows" tugged at my heart with Robin's grief and Ian's pain! Both of their stories were so heart wrenching, but also a wonderful journey of love and healing! I thoroughly enjoyed Robin's son Caleb! Katie Ganshert did such a wonderful job of lightening the moment when Caleb would appear "on the scene"! Amanda would also lighten the moment were her funny quirks (I hope to read her story next)! One of the things I enjoyed the most about this novel is that it wasn't your regular romance story! Robin and Ian were so stubborn, determined, and hard-headed in their ideas of what should happen concerning the Peaks! Because of their attributes I absolutely loved the romance! I thought it was a refreshing read for me in that sense because I have not read a novel with two VERY determined characters! The story line was also refreshing too even if it was hard to read about Robin's pain! I could not imagine being a single mother who struggles with the lost of her husband! I could not even imagine being in Ian's shoes either concerning his circumstance! However I am so glad that both of these characters found grace and were able to live out God's plans for their lives! If you are looking for a good romance where the characters go through a journey of healing and grace, then this novel is one you do not want to miss! It is definitely a must read! I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review!
Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert Katie Ganshert has done it again! Wishing on Willows picks up where Wildflowers from Winter leaves off and touches on grief, recovery, getting "over" oneself, and moving on. This is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming novel! Katie's writing is smooth and creative, very descriptive and engaging. Her characters are real and so are the feelings she provokes in her readers. You don't want to miss out on these two books! About the book: In Wildflowers from Winter, the main character Bethany's grief-stricken friend, Robin, has lost her husband and delivered their first child after his death. With much encouragement from Bethany, Robin builds a café in memory of her lost husband. Wishing on Willows begins with the potential demolition of her café, Willow Tree, and Robin's fight to keep it (and the memory of her husband) alive for their now three year old son. Robin clearly can't move forward for hanging on to the past. Ian, a big-city developer, offers to buy her café. His company wants to build a condominium complex where her café is situated in anticipation of a growth spurt in the community once a manufacturing plant opens nearby. The town, which has suffered hard from the economic downturn, needs this condo complex. The mayor is pushing for it. But Robin can't let them tear down her café and the ministry she helps serve through it. It seems like the entire town is for Ian and is against Robin. Just like Robin, Ian has a past that he can't let go of either and he's walking in the shadow of his father's footsteps although he'd rather be pursuing his own dreams. It doesn't help that the two of them are attracted to each other. When they put their differences aside, they manage to get along. But those moments are fleeting. Robin just can't get past the fact that Ian wants to tear down what she built to keep her husband's memory alive--all for the sake of a fancy building and to earn another dollar. Things are complicated by the fact that it seems like everyone in the town and Robin's family has moved on. Robin begs God to save her café and her heart doesn't budge, refusing to believe that there is another way other than her way. She learns that God's way is mysterious and always best! “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
Wow, just wow. Katie Ganshert has done an excellent job with Wishing on Willows. The writing is excellent, and pulls you into the story with little effort on your part. It is a heartwarming story of grief and second chances at love. Sometimes a dry, empty desert becomes our familiar place and no matter how good the alternative is, making a change is scary. Taking a chance on love, for a second time, can be even scarier, but Ms. Ganshert has done an excellent job of showing us that it can work. ***I received this book from the publisher/author for purposes of review. The above is my honest opinion.***
I have found a new favorite author! Katie Ganshert sure knows how to deliver a power-packed book! I enjoyed her first book, Wildflowers From Winter, and I enjoyed my most recent read of Wishing on Willows. Robin, a widowed single mother, lives and owns a cafe called Willow Tree. She has a few workers and a few customers and loves to play the piano that was given to her by her mother. Ian, a development contractor, who works for his father out of Peoria, has been called by the mayor of Peaks to build condominiums. Due to the recession Peaks has to had a lot of people coming to town, and Ian's father's business isn't doing so well either. Ian needs to make the sale for the development of these condominiums in order to help his father's company and redeem himself in the eyes of his father. However, there is one person standing in his way, Robin. As Ian gets to know the town and the people living there, he comes to feel a sense of home there, except for the one person standing in his way whom he also is starting to get feelings for. Through the experiences of working with such an intimate town and seeing how family sticks together Ian learns more about himself and so does Robin. Ganshert really knows how to write a conclusion as well. She gives you just enough and allows your imagination to fill in all the missing pieces, which I love. I am excited to read more books by Katie Ganshert. She writes like all of my favorite authors and keeps me interested to the very end.
Katie Ganshert really is an ARTIST. She strings words together in the most lyrical, fresh, and heart-touching ways. My hat's off to her!This story picks up the tale of Robin, who some of us were lucky enough to meet in Wildflowers from Winter. Robin is a widow who adores her three year old son and is still struggling to recover from the devastating loss of her husband. When developer Ian comes to town with plans to re-purpose the space where Robin's beloved cafe is located, Robin is forced to take a journey of the heart and decide what's best for her, for her little boy, and for her town. Wildflowers from Winter is touching and emotional, real and relatable. Written with grace and skill. Well done, Katie!!
Wishing on Willows was an incredibly moving book that emphasized the message of love and second chances. With colorful words, meaningful content, and a few challenges here and there, the author was able to grab my attention and keep it. I love how generous Ms. Ganshert was with her expression of emotion. This book did much to communicate what taking risks, living with hope, and walking toward unknown possibilities are all about.
Wishing on Willows By: Katie Ganshert What do you do when you have suffered so much loss and pain you don’t know how to move? Robin knows how that feels, and when Jed Johnson shows up in her café after his wife has died, Robin wants to treat him to a hot egg soufflé. But, her oven won’t work. The Willow Tree café was started by Robin and her husband. When he died, it was just her and their son Caleb. Now, Ian McKay wants to tear down her business and build condos. Will she let him? Not a chance. What she doesn’t know is that he is just as stubborn and determined to pull this deal off so his family will be proud of him again as she is to hold on to her cafe. Robin is told by many people that things will work out, God will provide, but how is that possible if she loses her café? She will hold on to the end and fight everybody that stands in her way. Will she discover what God’s way is before it is too late? Can Ian talk her into selling since he has so much more at stake? Katie Ganshert does a wonderful job in Wishing on Willows, drawing you in and creating characters that you can’t wait to read more about. If you haven’t read Wildflowers from Winter you don’t have to read it first. Wishing on Willows teaches how to let go and let God. You can’t control outcomes, cancer, deaths, or developers. Even though you are overcome with loss, there is still hope. Hope in God, faith, love. Ian’s mother says that if that pain brings us to the throne of God, if it brings us to our knees before the King of Kings, there is amazing grace in that. Reading Robin’s story has given me hope that even though things don’t work out as I expected, God still loves me and is still in control. God has perfect timing, even though we may not be able to see it at first. Enjoy Katie Ganshert’s latest novel and see how Robin discovers God’s will for her life in the midst of her sorrow and confusion and how God equips Robin and Ian to move past their pain and loss to find the hope, peace, and love that God has for them.
This sequel picks up the story of Bethany's best friend Robin from "Wildflowers from Winter" as she lives as a single Mom raising her son after losing her husband. When to let go of the past and move on is explored in this novel that does not disappoint with strongly developed characters and a realistic plot revolving around a city development plan that threatens her livelihood.
* a complimentary copy of the book was provided for the review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. How often do we meet someone and come to a conclusion about who they were before really getting to know them or where they come from? I found the risk of this to be a common theme in the book Wishing on Willows. Robin has faced a lot of challenges and disappointments in her life. She now is a mother of a young son and the proprietor of a coffee shop, that is located in a sought after section of town for a new condominium project. When the developer, Ian, comes to town, she sees him as a corporate man with little care or concern for the well-being of those in her community, only in the interest of his company. As the story unfolds, they slowly learn more about each other and come to have a different view of one another. Through this process of discovery, they both start to reconsider their position and priorities and come to enjoy each others company. Throughout the story, the reader is able to witness their faith and their compassion for helping others, both of which shaped their past and future. One of the things that I enjoyed about the story is that the reader was learning about the characters along with them. There was less mystery in Robin, as her story was the start of the book, but many of the experiences and events that shaped who they were we learned as they were learning about each other. It really helped to create a bond with the characters and an evolution of experience and perspective of the characters and their intents. As my perspective evolved, I really started to cheer for a desired outcome...some of it resolved as I had hoped, but there were parts that I had other thoughts about. Still, it was a great ending. I recommend the book Wishing on Willows to those that enjoy a good story. There is the right balance of tension and friction, self-doubt, love and faith. I look forward to checking out Wildflowers From Winter and future books by Katie Ganshert. Wishing on Willows is the second book in the series, so you might want to check them out in order - although, you certainly can start right in with this book.
Katie Ganshert’s debut novel, Wildflowers in Winter I anxiously awaited the sequel. Katie certainly did not disappoint! Wishing on Willows was beautifully written. This book captivated me from the first chapter. I was so excited to be reacquainted with Robin, Bethany, and Evan! Katie’s ability to describe her characters made them feel like true friends or family. I often thought about them during the day and also thought that I should be praying for them! Katie also made me feel that I had been to Peak’s, Iowa! We are reminded in this book that we need to lean on God’s grace and not to ignore it. You can find grace in every encounter and situation we just need to look for it. Grace may also be painful at times. Since finishing this book I have often thought about God’s grace in my life. I have reminded myself that God doesn’t give us anything that we cannot handle. Thank you Katie for writing such an inspirational book! I highly recommend this book to anyone. I can’t wait to share this book with my family, friends, and Library patrons!!
Wishing on Willows is a story about a widow holding onto the past who discovers that God has good gifts in store for those who seek Him. I absolutely loved this story. It's impossible to not love Robin and her 3-year-old son. As a mother of young children, I loved the way their relationship was portrayed--realistic, funny, and tender. The male lead, Ian, had a lot of baggage, but it was revealed in a way that kept me curious without making me frustrated. I was rooting for him to overcome the challenges and follow his heart--both with his career and with Robin. The romance moved at a slow and steady pace, but the reward was worth it in the end. Because of Robin's and Ian's separate emotional journeys, the story would have felt forced any other way. So for diehard romance fans who like to see the love story jumpstart right at the beginning, stick with this one until the end. You'll be glad you did. All in all, a book that made me laugh, cry, and swoon. I hope to see more from this author in the future!
Away on their honeymoon, Micah and Robin dreamed big dreams of opening their own café. Micah saw how her eyes lit up every time they entered one. He knew she was made for this. What Micah didn’t know was that his life would end sooner than they knew and they would never be able to fulfill those dreams together. With determination to keep that dream alive, Robin buys a rundown building and pours her heart and soul into building a café. A handsome developer, with emotional turmoil of his own, has approached Robin about selling her café to allow for condominiums to be built in Peaks. She has so much invested in her café financially, physically and emotionally though. How could she possibly throw that all to the wind? Another turn of events makes the loss of her café seem inevitable. With a three year old son and the café struggling to survive, only the willow tree knows her deepest thoughts. The willow tree has, after all, been the one thing that has remained throughout her life. Wishing on Willows is a beautiful and touching story that portrays romance in a pure and innocent way. Emotional healing is God’s gift to us when we find ourselves at the end of ourselves. Will Robin’s emotional turmoil find that healing? How will her decision effect the emotions of others? God often brings people together to bring healing to each other. He often shows us that what seemed most important to us at the time was leading us to an even greater place – the place where God wants us to be – in the midst of His love and healing. He gives second chances!