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Authors: Katie Ganshert

Wildflowers from Winter

BOOK: Wildflowers from Winter
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Praise for
Wildflowers from Winter
“From winter’s chill to the warm breath of spring,
Wildflowers from Winter
is a poignant and powerful tale of love, faith, and hope through seasons of grief. A stunning debut, Katie Ganshert has penned a breathless journey that will steal both your heart and your sleep.”
—J
ULIE
L
ESSMAN
, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series
“Katie Ganshert writes with a compelling mix of honesty and soul. With compassion and a keen eye for the dynamics of relationship, she wrestles with complex issues of love, freedom, and faith.”
—N
ICOLE
B
AART
, best-selling author of
Far from Here
“An impressive debut novel. Ganshert weaves a genuine story of love and forgiveness, family and friendship with simple but beautiful prose. She didn’t just capture my interest with this story; she captured my heart. Well done!”
—R
ACHEL
H
AUCK
, award-winning author of
The Wedding Dress
“Katie Ganshert’s debut novel is wonderfully and lyrically written. Don’t miss this refreshing new voice in book-club fiction for Christian readers.”
—S
USAN
M
EISSNER
, author of
A Sound Among the Trees
and
The Shape of Mercy

Wildflowers from Winter
offers characters displaying true-to-life emotions, a plot that engages the reader, and beautifully turned phrases. One of the best debut novels I’ve read.”
—R
ICHARD
L. M
ABRY
, MD, author of
The Tender Scar
and the Prescription for Trouble series
“With a fresh voice, Ganshert grips you from page one and takes you on a soul-searching journey. Her characters, in all their imperfections, leap off the pages and into your heart. The richness of the story will move your faith and emotions, leaving the warmth of hope long after you finish the last page.”
—J
ODY
H
EDLUND
, best-selling author of
The Preacher’s Bride

Wildflowers from Winter
will touch your heart and leave you longing for a more simple life—and more stories by this new author. Katie Ganshert has penned an impressive debut novel about family strife and going home again, even when it’s against your will. This tender story blends human drama and fragile relationships with true-to-life characters that will jump off the page and into your heart.”
—D
EBORAH
V
OGTS
, author of
Snow Melts in Spring
and
Seeds of Summer
“What a powerful story! In
Wildflowers from Winter
, Katie Ganshert gives readers a very touching tale about the power of love and faith to heal a hurting heart. The cast of characters will grab hold of your heart from the first chapter and stay with you long after you turn the last page. The issues raised and their resolutions are realistic and thought provoking. Katie knows how to write a romance with deep emotion and meaning.”
—C
ARRIE
T
URANSKY
, author of
A Man To Trust
and
Surrendered Hearts
“As soft as new snow and as beautiful as a field of flowers,
Wildflowers from Winter
is a refreshing and illuminating journey from anger and doubt to understanding and peace. Once you meet the characters of Peaks, Iowa, you won’t want to say good-bye.”
—E
RICA
V
ETSCH
, author of
A
Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas
“Beautifully drawn characters will win your heart from page one of this poignant story, lingering in your mind when you’ve finished. It’s a tale of loss and sorrow and of dreams redeemed. Novel Rocket and I give it a very high recommendation.”
—A
NE
M
ULLIGAN
, senior editor, Novel Rocket

WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER
PUBLISHED BY WATERBROOK PRESS
12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

All Scriptures quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica Inc.
TM
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
www.zondervan.com
.

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 by Katie Ganshert

Cover design by Kelly L. Howard

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York.

WATERBROOK and its deer colophon are registered trademarks of Random House Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ganshert, Katie.
    Wildflowers from winter : a novel / Katie Ganshert. — 1st ed.
            p. cm.
    eISBN: 978-0-307-73039-8
1. Life change events—Fiction. 2. Inheritance and succession—Fiction. 3. Family secrets—Fiction. I. Title.
    PS3607.A56W55 2012
    813’.6—dc23

2011049657

v3.1

For Ryan, my cute delivery guy turned husband
.
Who knew what God had in store for us
when you delivered that first package?

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Epilogue

Readers Guide

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Excerpt from
Wishing on Willows

PROLOGUE

T
he summer I turned twelve, I tried to kill myself. At least that’s what the lifeguard told the paramedics and the paramedics told the doctors and the doctors told my mother. I don’t deny I swam to the bottom of the public swimming pool. I don’t even deny I decided to stay there. I only defend my motives. My decision was much less about escaping this world and much more about joining another.

I think that should count for something.

When I regained consciousness, I opened my eyes to a pair of blurry faces. My mother with her perpetually pinched eyebrows, raking her teeth over swollen lips. And Grandpa Dan—with my father’s face, only twenty years older. His callused grip pressed through the shoulder of my hospital gown, anchoring my body to a reality I didn’t want to face, awakening my senses until I noticed stiff sheets rubbing against my toes, beeping monitors, the smell of antiseptic, and a man I didn’t recognize.

He studied me over a pair of bifocals and clicked his pen against a clipboard, jotting mysterious notes whenever I talked or sighed or breathed funny. His name was Dr. Nowels, and he had a mustache the exact same shade as the dead mouse I found behind our trailer home the previous Easter.

After I was released from the hospital, my mom insisted I sit with him for an hour every Tuesday after school. I tried to convince her that I didn’t
need to see a shrink. That she was wasting her money. Or actually, Uncle Phil’s money. But I sort of lost all credibility after the swimming pool fiasco.

At the start of each session, Dr. Nowels would lean back in his chair, cross one lanky leg over the other, and tap his pen against the bottom of his chin. “How do you feel today, Bethany?”

I would search for something creative to say. Something that might make his pen scratch in a frenzy across his paper. But nothing ever came. So instead, I stared at the same spot I always stared at. His hair. Not for a single minute did I believe it was real. Throughout the entire sixty minutes, while he asked questions, I pictured walking over, grabbing a fistful, and giving it a yank. I was dying to see what Dr. Nowels looked like bald.

Every time I told my mom this she’d bite her lip and ask me not to use that word—
dying
. Ten minutes before our time was up, Dr. Nowels would ask the same question he always asked. “Are you ready to talk about why you did it, Bethany?” It drove me nuts, the way he finished all his questions with my name.

“I don’t know why, Dr. Nowels,” I’d say, trying my best to imitate the annoying cadence of his voice. Sometimes he would look at me as if I’d said something profound and start scribbling while I narrowed my eyes one last time at his hairline. If it really was his hairline.

And so our sessions went. For an entire year.

Never once did I get to see Dr. Nowels without his toupee. Never once did he share what he wrote about me during all those hours. And never once did I explain why I did it.

ONE

M
aybe it was the angle or the proximity, but Bethany Quinn had never felt so tempted to give Jeff McKinley’s hairpiece a good nudge. At the very least, an innocuous brush with her elbow. It didn’t help that he was waving a powdered doughnut over the sketches she had worked on for the past week, leaving a sugary dust behind. She gripped the back of his chair and looked over his shoulder. “What don’t you like about them?”

He gestured with the doughnut, sliding his free fingers across her drawing of the floating ceiling tray. “It’s a little elaborate.”

She let go of his chair and straightened. “So?”

“I was under the impression this particular client was looking for something more … practical.”

“They never said
practical
. They said
cheap
.”

“Same thing.”

“It’s not a warehouse, Jeff. We’re renovating one of downtown Chicago’s most popular ballrooms. Fancy doesn’t have to be expensive.”

“If you want it to look good, it does.” He set down the rest of the doughnut and folded his hands behind his neck. His hairline shifted higher up his forehead. “How much time before we meet with them?”

Bethany’s back pocket buzzed. “We scheduled the meeting for three,” she said, pulling out her cell phone. Her mother’s number lit up the screen.
She furrowed her brow. Why in the world would her mother be calling at ten o’clock on a Monday? Mom knew better than to bother her at work. Bethany sent the call to voice mail, her mind rabbit-trailing to her brother, David.

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