It’s 1921 and we meet Elsa. My heart was with her from the start. Lacking the beauty of her sisters, she’s a young woman who has never known the feeling of being loved as her wealthy Texas family treats her coldly. Hope for happiness is found with a young farmer whose family shows her kindness and welcomes her once the couple marries. Elsa adapts to the hard working life on the farm and learns the meaning of love once she becomes a mother. But the Dust Bowl in Texas combined with the Great Depression makes life unbearable. Many families head to California with visions of a better life. As we know from history, what awaited those who migrated west was poverty, sub-human living conditions and alienation. But the hope for a better life still survived.
Heartbreaking, poignant, beautiful, sad. The Four Winds, the latest book from Kristin Hannah, is all that and more. It is a bleak story about a time in history where nature was cruel but people were even crueler to those simply trying to survive. It’s hard to read about so much suffering but Hannah does justice to those who lived through this period. And she shows that amidst all the hardship and despair, strength and resilience prevailed.
Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and the author for the opportunity to read The Four Winds in advance of its release. After reading many of Hannah's incredible novels including The Nightingale and The Great Alone, this was one of my most anticipated books in a while. It's not an easy book to read but one I can't stop thinking about.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: February 2, 2021.
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