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The Four Winds: Book summary and reviews of The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah X
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
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  • Published Feb 2021
    464 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

From Kristin Hannah, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone, comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America's most defining eras - the Great Depression.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] riveting story of love, courage, and sacrifice...Hannah combines gritty realism with emotionally rich characters and lyrical prose that rings brightly and true...In Elsa, a woman who fiercely defends her principles and those she loves, Hannah brilliantly revives the ghost of Tom Joad." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Outstanding...[A] rich, rewarding read about family ties, perseverance, and women's friendships and fortitude." - Booklist (starred review)

"The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions. For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry." - Kirkus Reviews

"Through one woman's survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind. This mother's soul, suffering the same drought as the land, attempts to cross deserts and beat starvation to save her children with a fierce inner strength called motherhood. A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." - Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

This information about The Four Winds was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Grace

Be Brave
I totally plowed through The Four Winds. Truly it is a gritty story, wonderfully depicting spirited women trying to overcome adversity in order to protect their families. The treatment of "Okies" makes one very angry. Extremely culpable are the locals and land owners, who dehumanized and profited off of those fleeing starvation and destitution in the plains. This is a story that resonates today.

Viv

"The four winds"-Kristin Hannah
Well penned page turner,&, of an on going "global "dream.

Techeditor

Writing style, I think, is young adult
Although THE FOUR WINDS is marketed as a novel for adults, for me it's writing style is more young adult, which is not usually to my taste anymore. That is not to say that this is a bad book. It is just more to my 13-year-old taste, especially since many of the chapters are written from a teenager's point of view. THE FOUR WINDS reminds me of a John Jakes novel I read when I was 13.

This novel begins before the Great Depression. Elsa has grown up lonely and unloved. She later marries a younger boy and moves to his parent's farm in Texas.

Skip a few years now to the time of the Depression. Elsa has two children, and her husband has run away. She stays there on the farm with his parents and tries to fight the horrible drought and dust storms. After her son is hospitalized with dust pneumonia, Elsa and her children move to California. But their life there becomes even worse. Out of necessity, Elsa becomes involved with Communists who want to strike against the field owners, who were not paying their workers enough to feed their children or pay rent.

Prepare for a depressing read from beginning to end. Once or twice a good thing happens, such as when a security guard gives Elsa $5.

I wasn't pleased with THE FOUR WINDS, but you may be, so read other reviews.

Nancy Shulgan

Disappointing finish
I loved this book up until the climax and then it totally fizzled out. It's a very weak finish as the plot builds towards a sudden climax without finishing the story. There is no resolution to the labour issues and after building up to this peak suddenly the story ends-so what happened historically and plot wise. So unsatisfying. I have been a big fan of this author but wonder did she get tired of writing it-how could there be no conclusion to so much of the story. Had she finished it properly it could have been 5 stars but I give it 3 because it was so unsatisfying at the end.

Roberta

Sad and grim dust bowl story
I wanted to like this book, but I regret having even picked it up. It was grim and depressing.

I think Hannah writes well, but that's the only good thing I can say about the book.

The primary characters in the book are women and they suffer 99 of the time. Then there are the animals and land that suffer too. There really aren't well-developed male characters in the book and except for one or two, the male characters aren't very sympathetic. That is unfortunate because I think some strong male characters would have made the book better. Men suffered just as much as women during the Dust Bowl era.

I felt manipulated by the ending and won't go into detail because of spoilers.

One thing that this book did do for me, was to get me to thinking about what I read next. After the year 2020 and all of its sad news, this was the wrong book for me.

There are two books about the Dust Bowl that I think are
much better. Timothy Egan's non-fiction book "The Worst Hard Time" is excellent and Marisa Silver's "Mary Coin" is a good book.

vam

Very concerning
Our author is a very distinguished writer. She is able to describe events and characters so that they become truly seem to come to life right on the pages of the book.

That said - I was very concerned by the fact that she openly and blatantly advocated communism in the book.

...1 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Kristin Hannah Author Biography

Photo: Charles Bush

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning international number one bestselling author with over 25 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her most recent titles, The Four Winds, The Nightingale and The Great Alone won numerous best fiction awards and her earlier novel, Firefly Lane, is currently a bestselling series on Netflix. Kristin is a lawyer-turned-writer and is the mother of one son. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle.

Author Interview
Link to Kristin Hannah's Website

Other books by Kristin Hannah at BookBrowse
  • The Women jacket
  • The Nightingale jacket

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