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Authors: Katie Ganshert

Wishing on Willows: A Novel

BOOK: Wishing on Willows: A Novel
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Praise for
Wishing on Willows

“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.”

, 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.”

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.”

. A
, author of
Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

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.”

K. V
, author of
Wish You Were Here
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.”

, 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.”

, 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.”

, author of
A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas

12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

All Scriptures quotations and paraphrases are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

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

Copyright © 2013 by Katie Ganshert

Cover design by Kelly L. Howard; cover photography by Jacques Loic, Photononstop; author photo by Kinsey Christin Photography

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.

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

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ganshert, Katie.
      Wishing on willows : a novel / Katie Ganshert. — First edition.
          pages cm
      eISBN: 978-0-307-73041-1
   1. Widows—Fiction. 2. Single mothers—Fiction. 3. Real estate developers—Fiction. 4. Right of property—Fiction. I. Title.
      PS3607.A56W57 2013


For Brogan, my dinosaur-loving, adventure-seeking
laughter-inducing little man

When your dad and I saw those two lines in New York City, we had no idea
they’d become our entire world. You make life so much fun


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 rested my head against his shoulder.

“We should do this.” His chest vibrated with the words.

“Do what?”

“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 leaned 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.

BOOK: Wishing on Willows: A Novel
2.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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