The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah ~ 464 pages ~ to be published on February 2, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.
In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. 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.
What I Thought:
*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Over time, I have slowly come to realize that I absolutely love Kristin Hannah’s writing. Her books are always a mixture of sadness, hope and impeccable research. When I found out that she was writing a new book, I was very excited to receive an advance copy. I did not know a great deal about the events of the Great Depression, so I was incredibly intrigued by the subject matter of The Four Winds.
When I found out that the book begins in Texas I was excited, as this is where I am from and currently live. I always enjoy reading fiction set in my home state. I had no idea of the hardships that the farmers in the South endured during the Great Depression. I knew there was a lot of dust, but did not know that people actually died from ingesting it and that the land was so completely ravaged by it. I also was unaware of the fact that there was such a giant mass exodus from these states to head west. The author’s note at the end of the book compares it to travelers of the Oregon Trail from a hundred years earlier, and I had never made that connection before. I found this fascinating.
The characters in this novel are so well written and full of life. Elsa was such an intriguing heroine. She begins the book so completely beaten down by her life and the people surrounding her. Her low self-esteem made me incredibly sad, and also a little frustrated as a reader, which I believe was the exact aim of the author. Seeing her evolution throughout the novel was a joy to behold. The way that she faced her adversity was both real and heartbreaking.
Loreda was another character that saw so much change throughout the course of the novel. Seeing her sullen and rebellious teenage years transform her into a young woman far too early was hard to read, but also inspiring. Seeing the relationship between Elsa and Loreda was terrifying to me as a mother. The idea of having to watch my daughter suffer in any way is impossible – but Elsa does everything she possibly can to make a better life for her children. She is absolutely a rockstar.
The resilience of these people was astounding. To completely pick up your life with no idea of what will be in store for you on the other side takes such great faith. The strength of spirit that these migrants display, especially when their strength of body was so depleted, was inspiring, moving.
The Four Winds was, at times, hard to read. It seemed like the characters went from one depressing situation to another, but there is always hope if you know where to find it. I am in awe of these characters and their journey. Please, pick up this book. You will not regret it.
I gave The Four Winds 5 STARS!!
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Are you a fan of historical fiction? Do you know much about the Great Depression? Are you a fan of Kristin Hannah’s other work? Which one is your favorite?
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Love and happy reading,