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.
Has a book character ever really annoyed you? To the point where you wanted to scream at them – or worse – to get some sense knocked into their heads? This is what I wanted to do to Robin after reading just a fragment of this book. I had sympathy for her as a widow of almost five years trying to play the role of both parents to her son. I can only imagine what that must be like. In other areas of her life, however, I felt she behaved like a petulant child wanting her own way. She had too much on her plate, but didn’t want to relinquish any of it. Her café didn’t appear to have a business plan and some important decisions regarding it were made without thought. It was though she used the café as a crutch for her life. Without it, what would she do? Also, despite having a three year old, she didn’t seem to be much of an encouragement or help to her sister in law who was a new mom. But, as someone said to me, if a writer makes you feel that strongly about a character then they’ve done their job in bringing the character to life!
Ian, in sharp contrast, was a much more likeable character. He’s supposed to be the big bad businessman wanting to destroy Robin’s life. You could tell, however, that he was caught between the rock and the proverbial hard place. He tried to see the situation from all sides and come up with solutions that would work for everyone. His father and colleague, as well as the town’s mayor, were pushing him on one side, and Robin’s stubbornness was pushing him on the other. In the meantime, he faced a family crisis and was trying to work through a particularly heart wrenching time in his former marriage. You knew he and Robin had things in common, but it didn’t seem like they had much of an opportunity to learn this for themselves. It was only once they began to see each other as more than enemies that this knowledge was revealed.
Wishing on Willows is set almost four years after Wildflowers From Winter and is the second book by Katie Ganshert. It’s a story about life in a small town, a town that needs to change in order to remain relevant in today’s America. The choice is change or die, a choice faced by many small towns in the current socio-economic climate. It is also about change on a personal level. When we embrace the future, must it mean letting go of the past?
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: 19 March 2013
Page Count: 320
Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for my free advanced reading copy of Wishing on Willows, which I received in exchange for an honest review.