Monday, November 1, 2010

White Roses

debut novel by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
(White Rose Trilogy #1)

Heartsong Presents
174 pages

More Than Romance

Back cover:
Grayson can't seem to move on.

Pastor Grayson Sterling loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. Grayson knows he needs to move on, that the continuing depth of his grief is not healthy for him or his young son. Desperate, he convinces his church to hire Mark Welch as associate pastor to relieve him of some of his load. When Adrea Welch arrives at his church with her brother, Grayson cannot deny his attraction to her.

For years, florist Adrea Welch has been artfully arranging white roses for Sara Sterling. Now those flowers are carried to the cemetery by a faithful, grieving husband. How can Adrea be so attracted to a man still devoted to his dead wife?

When secrets from Adrea's past collide with their budding relationship, both she and Grayson must learn to lean on God's abiding wisdom.


As a Literature major, I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to be snobbish in my literary tastes. While I love strong romantic elements in a story, I typically cringe at the thought of reading straight romance. Give me lyrical prose or action/adventure or messy contemporaries, but please no romance. I want more than that.

Well, God has a way of opening my eyes.

A few years back I was blessed to be placed in a critique group with two other excellent writers: Shannon Taylor Vannatter and Lorna Seilstad. (You can find my review of Lorna’s debut novel, Making Waves, in a previous posting.) Lorna writes historical romance, and Shannon, contemporary romance.  Both Shannon and Lorna proved to me that you can write a sweet romance AND include authentic, broken lives.

White Roses begins in Romance, Arkansas, on February 14. The heroine, Adrea Welch, is a floral designer who dreads this day every year as it's the anniversary of the day she and her ex-fiancé were to be married. A marriage called off when she caught him with another woman shortly before the wedding. Ouch.

As Adrea’s arranging flowers at a church for a wedding, she meets Pastor Grayson Sterling, a man who still grieves the death of his wife Sara. A few years back, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Grayson still remembers her every year with a bouquet of white roses. Unknowingly arranged by Adrea.

When reading a romance, you already know the basic storyline. Girl meets boy. They fall in love and live happily-ever-after. What you don’t know is how Girl gets to that fairy-tale ending, and it’s the journey that makes the story worthwhile. Shannon Vannatter is an engaging storyteller who isn’t afraid to take unexpected paths in her works; she isn’t afraid to include broken people. Her characters are real, their lives complex, their faith genuine.

Her stories are more than romance.

So, thank you Shannon, for educating this literary snob and teaching me the diversity of story.

Meet Shannon

Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/writer. Like Janette Oke, she views her work as a ministry and her books as paper missionaries. Vannatter hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all, Jesus does.

White Rose Trilogy
White Roses, now available in stores
White Doves, currently available through Heartsong Presents. In stores, April 2011.
White Pearls, available through Heartsong Presents, Jan 2011, in stores, July 2011


  1. Thank you, Brenda, for being one of my first editors, who helped make this book what it is.

  2. You're very welcome, Shannon. I've learned so much from you & from Lorna. ☺

  3. Oh -- I'm so anxious to read this book but I haven't located up here in Canada yet! Hopefully it will be waiting for me at my Christian bookstore when I go this weekend!

  4. I know you'll love it, Kav. Then you'll have to anxiously await WHITE DOVES.