Category Archives: Katie Ganshert

Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

Title: Life After by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Women’s Fiction
Length: 354 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Blogging for Books


It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.


Life After by Katie Ganshert is a poignant yet ultimately uplifting novel of healing and new beginnings.

One year after surviving a train bombing that took the lives of the other twenty-two passengers on board,  Autumn Manning is struggling with survivor’s guilt and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unable to face taking public transportation, she now works from home only leaving her apartment when absolutely necessary. Despite being unable to remember the bombing or the events of the fateful day, Autumn suffers from horrible nightmares. Obsessed with trying to understand why her life was spared, her life eventually intersects with the family of one of the bombing victims.

While Autumn cannot let the tragedy go as she searches for answers, marriage counselor Paul Elliott’s wife Vivian died in the attack and he wants nothing more than leave the past in the past. However, his twelve year old daughter Reese is haunted by her mother’s death and she has turned to Autumn for help in coping with her loss. With Autumn and the Elliot family bound by tragedy, is there any way they can help each other heal the wounds from the heartbreaking events from that fateful day?

Autumn positively radiates pain and sorrow as she tries to make sense of why she lived when so many others lost their lives in a senseless act of violence. Hampered by her inability to remember the events of the day, she also cannot make sense of her complicated feelings toward her now ex-fiancé Seth Ryker. She is now facing serious financial repercussions from her decision to quit her lucrative career after she physically recovered from the wounds she sustained in the bombing. The recent one year anniversary of the deadly attack is an unexpected emotional setback and she finally gives in to her family’s pleas to seek professional assistance. Autumn is stunned when Reese suddenly shows up on her doorstep, but it is coming face to face with Paul that deeply affects her.

Paul is hoping the one year anniversary of the bombing will finally be the turning point in his family’s grieving process. He is growing increasingly concerned as Reese’s behavior begins to deteriorate. His once loving daughter has turned into a stranger as she lashes out at him and her little brother Tate. But it is not until she runs away then begins shutting him out that Paul becomes truly worried about her. He has compelling reasons to try to put the death of his wife behind him but is his desire to move forward harming his daughter? Is Paul being unreasonable after he implores Autumn to stay away from his family?

Life After is a deeply affecting novel that is quite thought-provoking. The characters are beautifully developed with realistic imperfections and strengths that make them easy to relate to. There is a spiritual aspect to the storyline but it is quite understated and perfectly complements the other elements of the plot. Katie Ganshert broaches difficult subject matter in a sensitive manner and the topics will resonate with anyone who has ever questioned God’s plans. This emotionally compelling novel delves into some tough issues without becoming overly dark or depressing and is ultimately quite gratifying. It is an absolutely heartwarming journey of healing that will linger in readers’ hearts and minds long after the last page is turned.

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Review: Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

Title: Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Genre: Christian/Inspirational, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group


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.

The Review:

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert is a riveting novel about letting go of the past and taking a chance on the future. When Robin Price’s café is threatened by developers, she digs in her heels and fights Ian McKay tooth and nail to protect the remaining link to her deceased husband, Micah.

Following her husband’s unexpected death, Robin Price channeled all her grief into getting the Willow Tree Cafe up and running. With assistance from good friend Bethany, her brother-in-law Evan (who is also married to Bethany) and her sister-in-law Amanda, Robin not only works long hours in her cafe, but she also runs a grief support group and helps out with a ministry that provides assistance to those in need. As a single mom, Robin depends on her friends’ help not just with her cafe, but also with her young son, Caleb. With Ian McKay’s plans to buy her out and build condos, Robin is determined to save not just her cafe, but the ministry that provides aid to those in need.

I really liked Robin Price, but her stubbornness frustrated me to no end! She has a big heart and her empathy for others is her best quality. Her worst qualities? Her fear of change and how desperately she clings to the past. Robin has valid concerns about the future for her cafe and how the ministry will survive. Her steadfast refusal to listen to Ian’s proposal lasts for most of the novel and she shoots down every compromise that Ian presents. But the biggest obstacle in Robin’s path is her inability to understand that letting go of Micah does not lessen what they shared.

There is a lot riding on the condominium deal for Ian. It not only presents him with the opportunity to prove himself to his father but it will also secure the future of their business. Ian has his share of emotional baggage but he is also a pragmatic businessman. Ian’s patience with Robin is endless and he is able to put her needs ahead of his own on several occasions.

The romance between Ian and Robin is slow growing and incredibly sweet. Robin tenaciously clings to her memories of Micah and it takes her a long time to acknowledge her attraction to Ian. She is also quick to pull back from their new relationship. But once Robin puts her future in God’s hands, the pieces of her life slowly fall into place.

Wishing on Willows is a beautifully written novel with engaging and realistic characters. Katie Ganshert’s stories are heartfelt and full of emotion. Her characters’ journeys are often difficult but always true to life. I highly recommend her novels to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking,faith-based fiction.

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Filed under Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Inspirational, Katie Ganshert, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Wishing on Willows

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Title: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Genre: Christian/Inspirational, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Obtained from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group


Like the winter, grief has a season. Life returns with the spring.

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?

The Review:

Katie Ganshert’s debut novel Wildflowers from Winter is an emotional novel about grief, love and finding one’s way back to God. It is sometimes heartbreaking, but the overall message is incredibly uplifting.

I hate to admit it but Bethany Quinn is a difficult character to like. But somehow, she manages to work her way into your heart, and by the end of the novel, you will be rejoicing as she triumphs over the tragedies of her past. While she could be self-absorbed and rather selfish, she is able to set aside some of her personal beliefs and sorrow to help someone else in their time of need. I can definitely relate to how she handles her grief through keeping busy and helping others.

Like Bethany, Evan Price lost his faith in God. Time, patience and guidance from Bethany’s Grandpa Dan helped Evan find his way back. His love of the land that Bethany rejects is a major obstacle between them and serves as a major conflict between them. But it is their love and concern for a mutual acquaintance that sometimes help them bridge the gap between them.

Robin Price is Bethany’s best friend from childhood. While not as close as they once were, Bethany provides her the support she needs when her world comes crashing down around her. It is watching Robin find peace in her faith that aids Bethany in rethinking long held beliefs and misconceptions about God.

Having recently suffered the loss of my father, Wildflowers from Winter was a sometimes difficult but incredibly healing read. The grieving process is accurately portrayed and Ms. Ganshert does a wonderful job of showing how no two people grieve the same. Working through grief happens in its own time and everyone handles their sorrow in different ways. Bethany’s way of handling her grief resonated with me but seeing how Robin deals with her grief was beneficial in understanding how others cope with their loss.

One of the aspects of Ms. Ganshert’s writing style that I greatly enjoyed was how she revealed Bethany’s past. While the present is told in third person in alternating viewpoints from Bethany, Evan and Robin, the past is told in first person in Katie’s voice. It is a unique but highly effective technique and it made the impact of Katie’s past that much more powerful.

Katie Ganshert demonstrates a very valuable and powerful lesson in Wildflowers from Winter. People must live through the barren coldness of winter to greater appreciate the beauty of the spring and through our sorrow we will once again find joy.

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Filed under Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Inspirational, Katie Ganshert, Rated B, Romance, WaterBrook Press, Wildflowers from Winter