The words penned by Katie Ganshert go far beyond the back cover description. When Katie shares in her acknowledgments that her second book was much more difficult to write than her first and the third was much more difficult to pen than the second, I can totally see why. I have read all three of Katie's books, and although I love her first two creations, this is by far my favorite! She has truly created a masterpiece.
Not only is the cover gorgeous and so telling, this story is breathtakingly Katie at her best! God is present within these pages. Her writing is spectacular and her passion of faith is evident throughout the story.
There are two quotes within this story that I am still pondering. I am hoping to get them copied and framed to sit on my desk where I write daily.
"If I have to choose between easy or what will bring me closer to Him, I pray my choice will be Him."
"God isn't in the business of pampering His children. He's in the business of perfecting them."
Are those not AMAZING quotes? If that was all I took from this story it would be well worth the read, but there is so much more! Katie's words flow so easily. The characters are real and memorable. Yes, this is an unforgettable story.
I must share a conversation that is found in the story. It is one that stirs my heart tremendously.
"I don't think you were messed up; I think the situation you were born into was. But you know something? God has a way of taking messed-up situations and flipping them on their heads."
"Oh yeah? Give me one example."
"Turning an executioner's cross into a symbol of hope."
Ivy hugged her knees tighter and looked at the surf.
"Trust me, God wants you."
"I promise I'm not."
"You don't get it. I'm not clean, Davis. I'm about as far away from clean as a person can get."
"He'll forgive you."
She shook her head. "If God hasn't forgiven somebody like you, what chance is there for someone like me?"
He leaned back. What did she mean, if God hadn't forgiven somebody like him?
"Ivy, God has forgiven me."
She looked at him with eyes that crashed like the waves. "You don't live like it."
When we first meet Ivy she is almost unapproachable. She keeps her distance from those around her. She comes off as being super confident. But as we see, she isn't. She is insecure and vulnerable. The more the story shared about Ivy the more I connected with her. I understood that her actions were because of her brokenness. Even though she tried to act tough and hide what was real, you could still see the tenderness in her heart. The longing she carried to just be loved. To be hugged. To be accepted for just being Ivy. I fell in love with her and related to her on so many levels. She is a woman in pain. There is so much more to Ivy than the sheer beauty of what others see.
Davis is another character I loved. I don't think there is a character I couldn't relate to on some level. Davis knows Jesus. He is forgiven, but he isn't living forgiven. He carries much guilt. Guilt that is keeping him in chains. Ivy is carrying her own kind of chains. As the story weaves of grace and mercy, we get to witness Ivy and Davis come to recognize the very chains holding each of the back from living.
Marilyn gives us a portrait of Christ's love. She is Ivy's step mother and she never gives up on Ivy. She continues to loving her even though Ivy doesn't recognize her love and affection. Ivy hates her for many reasons. Marilyn is a woman of grace I long to be. I admired her character. I love seeing strong characters. Women of faith, steadfast and sure.
Sara is the sister of Davis. She is overcoming obstacles with such a wondrous attitude. What I loved about Sara's character is that even though she is upbeat and positive, she still had her bad days. That's life. Real life. And that is the story you are going to read within these pages. A story that is life changing.
We see that beauty is more than skin deep. We see that God sees beauty much different than the world's view of beauty. To the world, Ivy, is all but finished. Her story is far from over. She is just beginning a new journey and it isn't one to miss. As we learn from Davis, sometimes we miss out on the beauty right before us because we are focused on all the wrong things.
Friends, this is a story about immeasurable love and accepting God's redemption. I recommend this novel and hope you too will check out my reviews to, "Wildflowers from Winter", and "Wishing on Willows".
This book was a gift from WaterBrook Multnomah for sharing my review with you.
Katie Ganshert Christy Award-finalist and Carol winner, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her husband and their son. When she's not busy writing or playing or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption.