Book: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Kara Vallari Book Review:
I literally cried every time I opened this book to read. Not sure if it’s my pregnancy hormones or the deep love Elsa has for her children that is palpable through Hannah’s writing but my goodness, this story was heartbreakingly beautiful. At the same time, I found it a bit depressing as it seemed like one devastating event followed by another. I found myself frustrated by all the bad fortune on the character’s behalves which seems trivial when you consider the reality for those people who lived through the dust bowl.
Personally, I thought The Four Winds was slow to start, repetitive in the middle and then really enjoyable towards the end. I loved the writing and character development and thought both were incredible, some of the best I’ve read recently. I also enjoyed the narrative and found it refreshingly new as this is a period of history that I’m not overly family with. It highlight struggles in the US that seem to get brushed under the rug but are still very much relevant in their own right today.
If you enjoy fiction, I’d say this is a must read. However, if you’re looking for a light and happy book, this probably isn’t the best choice. Regardless, Elsa’s legacy is important to share and her story will tug at your heartstrings.
Book Synopsis [from Amazon]:
Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.
By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa―like so many of her neighbors―must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.
The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.