Book Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past.

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
I loved this book. It was my favorite Kristin Hannah book to date. She never disappoints---I've never read anything of hers that I didn't like. 

I read Winter Garden at the gym over the course of several days and cried while on the elliptical trainer at the end of this book! I loved the characters and the relationships they had. Kristin Hannah writes about relationships:  relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, etc.  Her books are not "love stories" but rather "relationship stories."  They may have an intimate scene or two but do not go into raunch territory (like Sandra Brown or so many others). 

I really like the way Kristin Hannah writes, especially the way she develops her characters as the story progresses. Her endings aren't all tied up neatly but are more realistic, but at the same time not depressing like Anita Shreve or even Jodi Piccoult of late. Overall an excellent read!
Just One Gripe:
The ending was a little sappy.

The Best Thing About This Book:
The relationships and how Hannah makes you care about her characters.

Appropriate for a younger audience:
Borderline yes.  There are some bedroom scenes but nothing too graphic.

Characters:  5/5
Plot:  5/5
Setting/Imagery:  5/5
Originality:  4/5
Ending:  4/5
Total Score:  23/25


Other Great Books by Kristin Hannah:

1 comment:

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