Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

From the Cover:

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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.

My Thoughts:

Disclaimer: this was my FIRST Kristin Hannah book. ::hides under blanket:: I know I know, people love her BUT, in my defense, I don’t read historical fiction. That is to say I didn’t, until now.

The Four Winds was an Autumnal Tints Book Club pick for February. As if the Great Depression and a severe drought weren’t enough, states from Texas to Nebraska were being plagued by dust storms during the 1930’s. This era was dubbed ‘The Dust Bowl’ as walls of dust and sand swept across the plains, ruining both crops and livestock.

Kristin highlights what the dust bowl was like through the eyes of a community, of farmers, of the government and of a single family doing their best to survive. The plot follows Elsa, an underestimated dreamer that doesn’t fit into her family and craves a world beyond her own. Elsa is strong but, in many ways, reserved. Her daughter, Loreda is a tough spirit that doesn’t speak the language of the reserved but does share the dream of a life outside of her own. She was my favorite character, although every character in this book is relatable.

The Four Winds touched on themes of humanity, of faith, of hardship and what it means to hope. How simple kindnesses can enrich our lives beyond wealth and how complex relationships within families can shape our lives. This book made me laugh, made me upset, made me cry and at one point I threw it across the room. It is SO beautifully written and told that it gave me ALL the feels and I loved it immensely.

Within our Zoom meeting for the A.T. Book Club, most of us discussed how little we knew about this era in general and were that much better for it after reading The Four Winds. We talked about:

  • the parallels of the dust bowl to the pandemic we are experiencing
  • how even in the worst of times we don’t have to lose our humanity
  • our families and the relationships we have with our own parents that have become to define us
  • what it means to dream and the cost of pursuing them
  • how we see ourselves vs how others see us
  • mostly it reminded us to love and how important it is to be kind

Basically, some deep shit! The overall theme in this book is love. A mother’s love for her children, a man’s love of his land and a daughter’s love for her ambition. Even if historical fiction isn’t your thing, read it anyways. Trust me. Welcome home The Four Winds. My first permanent addition of historical fiction.

Major shout out to the gals in the A.T. Book Club. We happen to have a couple of Kristin Hannah superfans and they have asked me more than once to read more historical fiction. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have even attempted this genre and dismissed it as not my thing; however, I just love that this club encourages growth and challenges our ideas. You ladies are THE BEST and I am lucky to have you.

Shameless Plug: If you’re not reading with us, let me tell you, you’re missing out. Sign up here.

Did the book earn a permanent spot on my bookshelf?

Have you read it? What are your thoughts??

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