This story broke my heart into pieces. The Four Winds was my first Kristin Hannah book, so I had no idea that I was supposed to be braced for impact. But I should have been – this book brought forth so many emotions for me.
The Four Winds follows Elsa Martinelli and her two children as they hang tight to the threads of survival during The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. As her daughter Loreda grows, their relationship becomes more tumultuous. Ultimately Elsa must decide whether to take a stand against the blatant wrongs her family and her fellow migrant workers face or to step back and let history drown out her cries of injustice.
Another review I read of this book said it wasn’t a good option for anyone wanting to read literary fiction, but I vehemently argue the opposite. There’s not much lightness and fluffiness in The Four Winds. Very clearly, the genre it belongs in is historical fiction, but there is an element of the literary in Hannah’s distinctive and descriptive writing style.
If you’ve read Hannah’s latest books – The Nightingale and The Great Alone – then I think you’ll enjoy The Four Winds. It’s not as saccharine as I understand her earlier books to be. Instead, this book was a gritty, harrowing, and realistic look at life during one of the most evenly difficult eras in American history. Much in the vein of The Nightingale and The Great Alone, The Four Winds has a wonderfully-written and deeply-felt protagonist in Elsa. Hannah writes spectacular strong heroines and female relationships, and that knack for characterization really shines through in this novel.
If you haven’t read The Four Winds yet, get your hands on a copy and take the plunge. It was voted the Book of the Month Club’s 2021 Book of the Year for a reason.
Dates read: July 3-6, 2021