About the Book:
Author: Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Source: Author Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2014
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review: When you read review after review of an author’s work you have yet to read and friends rave about that author, once you eventually get around to reading said authors works, the result can go one of two ways – either the book is subpar and you’re left wracking your brain for what it was you missed or (more preferably) you have one of those bop on the head moments in which you berate yourself for not taking heed of all those glowing reviews. One of these reactions was my own after finally reading a novel by the rising contemporary romance star Katie Ganshert. The story follows a 24-year-old model named Ivy Clark whose life has been a whirlwind of photo shoots and a string of broken hearts left behind in her wake. Now her career is starting to fade with fresh-faced teenagers rising up to take her place, and in a desperate effort to save face, Ivy succumbs to her agent’s advice and returns shortly after her father’s death to his home and the unwanted comfort of his wife, Marilyn. The last place Ivy ever wanted to return, she agrees to model Marilyn’s growing in popularity bridal gown line and has to put up with another face from her past, Marilyn’s nephew, Davis Knight as her photographer only to learn that sometimes what you want the least is really what you need the most.
Because we live life every day, I tend to be a reader who has the mentality that my fiction should be entertaining – if I’m not finding joy in the pages of a book, I confess to struggling to get through it as well as I do one that is entertaining and yet may still present in itself a challenge that will touch its readers. This book encapsulates all of this in breathtaking fashion, and so much more. In Ivy and Davis, Katie has created some of the most genuine characters I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. They’re both fleeing and protecting their scars from something and everyone while not wishing to be seen as raw or vulnerable underneath this façade. Ivy has carefully constructed a protective layer that she lets no one penetrate, preferring instead to use the one thing that has gotten her everything she wanted since she was fourteen; beauty. Davis is not such a cynical character counteracting Ivy’s materialistic mind though he is in fact a man not without burdensome secrets of his own, carefully buried. This is what makes this novel so poignant. Ganshert has brought together two very real individuals who are broken, searching for meaning in a life that didn’t go as they had wished and placed them in situations uncomfortable to them, where they challenge each other with their respective insecurities, something that is both inspiring and poignant to experience slowly bloom into the story this was meant to fully embrace.
It takes a special kind of person who can take such a tough subject as Katie has found in Ivy and pull the most redemptive qualities from the story of what it means to be emotionally broken and “ruined” beyond what she thinks a Savior could forgive and turn it into a moving image of hope. This may not be the most “pleasant” of novels to read merely because it’s a story each of us can relate to, it’s the kind of saga that in many instances will slap us with its reality – even if not because we’ve lived the life Ivy has, but because we’re searching for something or in need of saving – and this is what Ganshert captures to paper so elegantly. She has a flair for genuine characters and digging the best sensation out of every situation. From its setting (not the location but the fashion industry which is unique to my reading and brave) to its messages of Christianity and hope for a new future, this book is far and above one of 2014’s best. It vividly reminds of a song I like that has this line in its lyrics, “heal the wound but leave the scar…” and indeed that is just what Katie does with her latest. It’s broken in the most stunning ways and leaves a scar as a reminder of what we can overcome – what we can be redeemed from.
A version of this review appeared on Fiction Addict.
Synopsis: Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. – Goodreads
Coming Next from Katie Ganshert, An October Bride: She wants to make her father’s dream come true. She doesn’t realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.
Emma Tate isn’t a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father can walk her down the aisle.
While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications—the biggest being their true feelings for each other.
In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father’s dreams with her own dreams for love and her future. – katieganshert.com, September 2014
Sincere thanks to the author, Katie Ganshert for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.