REVIEW: THE FOUR WINDS, BY KRISTIN HANNAH

 

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

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.

 
 
 
 
 
A beautiful family story about love, loss, and bravery, The Four Winds tugged at my heartstrings as it led us through numerous challenges while introducing us to memorable characters. Elsa fought hard to teach her children about standing up for what they need and for what is right.

The author paints a vivid picture of the family battling the Great Depression while living in the Texas Dust Bowl, and then takes us along to another battle for survival in the California migrant experience. A triumphant yet emotional end kept me turning pages, while rooting for them all. 4.5 stars.

 
***

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