WISHING ON WILLOWS by Katie Ganshert
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.
There’s no sophomore slump for Katie Ganshert. Last spring, Katie burst into the CBA fiction scene with her beautiful and unique romance, Wildflowers from Winter. The question was, would she be able to follow that up with another winner?
Absolutely! Not only did she deliver another winner, but in my opinion, Wishing on Willows is even better. From the first sentence, “The first time I lost my husband, we were in Italy on our honeymoon.” Katie draws the reader in, and she doesn’t let go.
Her characters come alive on paper. They’re multi-layered and authentic. And I love how Katie takes Ian who’s in a profession that stereotyped as uncaring (developer) and gives him a wonderfully empathetic heart.
Katie takes a tough issue (big city developer coming to a small town) and presents both sides of it, overcoming that stereotype.
Those characters and issues are wrapped together with lyrical prose, musical symbolism, and the periodic interlude that peers deep into Robin’s thoughts and heart.
The story is raw, redemptive, an unpredictable. Right to the end, I wondered how the characters were going to overcome the chasm separating them, but Katie pulled it off masterfully.
If you’re looking for a romance that’s redemptive and unpredictable, a story that challenges you to keep an open mind, I recommend you pick up Wishing on Willows.