Willow book cover. Lady with eyes closes and head leaning against the face of a gray horse.
Willow book cover. Lady with eyes closes and head leaning against the face of a gray horse.

Loss. Desolation. Heartache. Will she ever discover her Best Friend?

For Libby Sutherland, life is starting to feel like one big loss. Loss of health. Loss of family. Loss of friends. She draws joy from the lives of the children in the daycare where she babysits and the horse therapy ranch where she volunteers.

But when her chronic illness takes a dive, even these are threatened. The one place Libby is able to share her grief is with her arms around the neck of her beloved horse, Willow. When Willow is suddenly out of reach, where can Libby turn?

Will she ever learn to confide in Jesus and truly know Him as her Best Friend?

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About the Author

Bethany M. Griggs is a writer of Christian contemporary fiction and blogger of simple living who lives in Texas with her family. She enjoys crafts from paper, coziness, and creativity. Oh, and alliteration! As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, she loves encouraging people through the rough places, rejoicing with them in the good ones, and pointing them to Jesus her Savior.

What Readers Are Saying

Faith Gilliosa

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I liked this book very much. I could see Libby and other characters reflected a little in myself and friends and family, so I immediately connected with and was drawn in by the story, almost a little too strongly. It had a nice slow, steady, real feel to it and you couldn’t help but feel like the book could have actually or was actually happening…in the regular, sometimes frustrating timeline of life. The themes were very encouraging and just so genuine and real. I wish I could have picked it up maybe in a time where the struggles of others around me would have made it hit a little less hard and I didn’t have to set it aside quite so often for that reason, but even when the raw emotions of the characters hit hard, the author wove it in a story of hope and rest in Christ that I found incredibly encouraging and just plain…real, although I feel like I keep using that word a lot.

Don’t go into this book expecting some exciting enthralling adventure, but expect to find very real-life plot twists that make it impossible to set it down for too long. Expect to find yourself caring so, so much about Libby and her story…skeptical for her sake, learning to trust along with her, and riding each hard or joy-filled or even harder twist and turn of life. It’s a book that shines real hope and light into the real, hard, sometimes small-feeling (and sometimes drowning-feeling) struggles and suffering of life. Highly recommend this book. ❤️

Cat Thompson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a precious story! I loved the chronic illness representation and spiritual journey Libby went on. As a chronic illness warrior I related so much to Libby’s story. This book was heavy but so thoughtful and slice-of-life style, and I enjoyed the slower pace as a nice change and way to tell the story. The spiritual themes touched on were so relatable and well written. I’d like to say that as someone who has POTS or a similar dysautonomia condition I thought the rep along with all the symptoms and situations were so true to life and well done. You can hear the author’s experiences and heart in this story. ❤️ Highly recommend for Christian chronic illness warriors or those wanting to learn more about dysautonomia conditions!

*I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author, but I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.*

Arjaye Brewer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was such a great book I cant wait to read more in this series! Themes of friendship, helping others, forgiveness and showing Gods love. Important lessons of trusting in God and how God can turn your life around when you turn to Him. Gods love shines throughout this book through quite a few of the characters with how they speak and show their love.

The horse place Hoof Beats of Hope was one of my favourite parts. “ Hoofbeats of Hope, sharing the love of Jesus with children one ride at a time.”was just such a beautiful description and summary of Hoofbeats of Hope and hooked me into reading more. I won’t give too much a way but I’d you’re a horse lover I’m sure you’ll love it too.

I also love how chronic illness was included in this book so often chronic illnesses aren’t talked about it was lovely to see it included and in a way that explains what it’s like to have and raises awareness too. Also in the positive way the character dealt with it and how other characters were understanding rather than pity or it being made out to be the worst thing in the world. It was lovely to see because people that are chronically ill can still lead positive and great lives even with the difficulties and challenges they face.

Katja Labonte

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 stars. This is more of a slow-paced, slice-of-life type of story, a good place to rest after high-stakes read. I related to Libby in many places. Although I don’t have chronic illness I do have chronic health issues… and her spiritual struggles were parallel with mine right now. Amanda was a fantastic friend, and Magda was the sweetest. She reminded me of all my Swiss friends in church! <3 Her backstory was amazing, too (love seeing WWII from a German POV). And Kate was lovely.

The plot was slow to start, as I mentioned, and I struggled a bit until about the 50% mark. Somehow I didn’t connect with the writing style. But I got invested once Libby’s life started crashing downhill… it was to a point I finally thought “what’s left to go wrong?” But I’m glad I pushed through (like Libby) because there was a great message to wrap up—after the lowest points, God always shows up. Just hang in there and seek Him. <3 something I’ve been reminded in my life lately but need to hear more of. 😉

I already mentioned the spiritual aspect a bit but I really like the messages of choosing joy, and most of all of how to really make Jesus a best friend. Again, I needed it. I almost cried at several bits, actually.

I look forwards to book 2. 🙂

A Favourite Quote: “I told God my struggles yesterday and gave those to Him, but I don’t think that’s good enough. God wants me to tell Him everything and make Him part of all I experience. The happy times and the sad ones. What kind of a friend would I be if I never spent time with Him unless I was in trouble? We get to walk through it all together, whatever happens.”

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.*

A. Y. Daniels

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received this story for free from the author. The opinions that I’ve expressed are my own; I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The characters were amazing, the plot constantly throwing problems and hope at the MC, and the writing style gripping.

Libby is a chronic illness warrior. She fights to stay independent, to keep her problems to herself, and to make life better for others… but she unintentionally ignores the importance of her life with Christ. And when problems fall on her like a hail-storm, Libby struggles to retain her independence and the secrecy of her worsening health issues.

Content warning wise, off-screen party lifestyle is referred to very briefly but not described at all. A fictional WW2 story is told and includes death, injury, and the beginning of a romance. Chronic Illness, minor injury, fainting, and loneliness are aspects to this story. The author did a fantastic job in addressing these issues with care.

The writing style and quality is AMAZING. Bethany’s style is simple, easy to read and follow, and only a touch on the telly side. But really, the balance is great.

Themes: Jesus is THE Best Friend you can ever have; He has perfect plans, whether we understand or not; change is a part of life… it’s a part of God’s plan and makes life interesting; give second chances with care—don’t be stingy or overgenerous, and listen to God’s guidance in who to trust; hope is found in Jesus, and He generously bestows hope to those who seek and need Him.

Final thoughts on Willow: read it, read it, read it! Willow has a great plot, well-written characters, plenty of twists and turns, and horses!  I really enjoy the friendliness to younger ages even in this adult-geared work. The themes and lessons are deep and inspiring, without being very preachy. I think Willow would be an amazing gift to anyone struggling with health issues or loneliness. 

Sophia E. Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book not only kept my interest and had me sympathizing with each of the characters, but it was also encouraging. Libby lives a pretty normal life but with the added struggle of being chronically ill (which was something that I got to learn more about while reading this; it helped me get an idea of what life is like for those with a chronic illness and how to better be an encouragement to them). Things that she fought and had to learn over the course of the story were a reflection of things that I think most of us struggle with, like trusting God to take care of details of our lives that we feel are slipping out of our control. The story was very relatable. Definitely recommend it for those looking for a novel with good Christian themes and encouragement as well as an engaging, real-to-life plot and characters!

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

To Answer Your Questions

  • What format is this book?

     This is an ebook, and you will receive it in EPUB, AZW3, and PDF forms. You can download and transfer your preferred format to the device where you enjoy reading!

  • What is the return policy?

Since this is a digital download, all sales are final, but please reach out to me for help if you have any difficulties downloading the book.

If you have any questions about this book, please email me at: bethany@arubyintherough.com