Title: The Four Winds
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 464
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
I’ve heard the name Kristin Hannah a lot over the last five years or so of my life. When I worked at Barnes and Noble, The Nightingale was a book we often pushed if someone was interested in historical fiction set in World War II. I never read the title myself, but knew how impactful her words were for the many readers that raved about Hannah’s books when I suggested her work.
When I saw The Four Winds start to take over Bookstagram, and had my mother and future mother-in-law recommend it on separate occasions, I decided that this book would be the read to introduce me to Kristin Hannah.
The Four Winds is a modern novel that takes on the subjects of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. The book could be compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but I think that would do a disservice to Hannah’s focus on female empowerment and her digestible prose. I know 16-year-old me could have actually finished her summer reading junior year of high school if this was the Dust Bowl tale I was required to read versus the later.
Hannah took the quote:
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
and personified it. I fell in love with the main character Elsa quickly. She was a woman that was taught from a young age to see herself as small but became a true warrior that shown brightly when faced with adversity. The book does a beautiful job of showing the bonds between maternal generations– from a toxic mother and daughter relationship, to a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law that grow to love and respect each other, back to a mother and daughter bond much healthier than the first, and finally to a grandmother and granddaughter that lean on each other.
While truly delicious and difficult to put down, Hannah’s text was truly heartbreaking. If you haven’t ever dove into the Great Depression/Dust Bowl era of the United States and want to really learned about the struggles faced by the people in the Southern United States, this book will fully submerge you into ever disgusting disheartening crevice. The ongoing Communism discussion in this book was also very relevant in today’s current climate while being historically accurate. The candid discussions of equality and human rights were written out perfectly and deserve to be read by everyone.
A part of me did hate this book because of its realism– I strive to escape the evils of the world when I read fiction, especially right now. With that said, I will never regret reading The Four Winds and recommend it to anyone that love a story rooted in the power of a mother’s love.
You can purchase The Four Winds here if you are interested in reading. I will be reviewing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners by James Joyce for the month of March, which you can purchase here if you’d like to read along. The review will be up March 27th. Stay tuned for this month’s florilegium, coming out Sunday, March 6th! Happy reading!