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April 3, 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Poverty was a soul crushing thing.  A cave that tightened around you, it's pinprick of light closing a little more at the end of each desperate, unchanged day." (p 280)

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The Four Winds
February 2021; St. Martin's; 978-1250178602
audio, ebook, print (464 pages); historical fiction
I have enjoyed Kristin Hannah's books in the past and just had to buy her new book.  I started The Four Winds as soon as UPS dropped it at my door and didn't do much else until I finished it.  It's one of the best books that I've read in a long long time.  It's a story about poverty, love, and family that I will long remember.

It's 1934 in Texas and the recession and drought have drastically changed the lives of the farmers.  Instead of the crops they had in the past, they now have dry fields that don't yield anything and dust storms that make their lives and their farms even more brutal.  Many farmers are losing their farms and equipment to the banks and the federal government is doing nothing to help their plight.  They've heard that California has jobs and life will be good for them there.  Many of them pack up their household goods and start the trek to California.  When they got there, they find a way of life much worse than what they left.  They are forced to live in unsafe conditions and paid a pittance for helping the rich farmers pick their crops.

Elsa has to decide whether to take her children to California for a better life or stay in Texas on the family farm.  Her husband has left her and his parents are struggling to keep the farm profitable.  When her son gets sick from the dust, she feels that she has no choice and leaves to find a better life.  What she finds is a camp full of people who can barely earn the money to feed their children.  She also finds prejudice and dislike from the Californians.  Elsa never gives up on trying to keep her children healthy and fed.  She'd never felt strong or brave in her entire life but she showed bravery and love every day to try to find a better life for her family.  

The Four Winds l is so well researched and written that I could feel the pain of Elsa and her children.  I admired Elsa and all of the other parents who did back-breaking work to help their families in this terrible time in American history.   I'll warn you that this is not an easy book to read.  I cried more reading this book than any other book that I've read recently.  At the end, the overwhelming feeling is one of admiration of Elsa as a strong and brave woman and strong hope for the future.

This is a novel that I will keep and re-read sometime in the future.  It's a book that I am so glad Kristin Hannah wrote - full of characters that I won't ever forget.

Buy The Four Winds at Amazon

The Today Show/Jenna's Book Club February Pick
One of "2021's Most Highly Anticipated New Books"―Newsweek
One of "27 of 2021's Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away"―Oprah Magazine
One of "24 books for February"―
One of "The Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021"―Parade
One of the "Books Everyone Will Talk About in 2021"―PopSugar
One of "The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021"―Elle
One of "32 Great Books To Start Off Your New Year"―Refinery29
One of "25 of the Best Books Arriving in 2021"―BookBub
One of "The 21 Best Books of 2021 for Working Moms"―Working Mother
One of "The Most Anticipated Winter Books That Will Keep You Cozy All Season Long"―Stylecaster
One of the "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"―Frolic

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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