Review: The Four Winds
By Kristin Hannah
464 pages, publication date February 2, 2021
St. Martin's Press
Note: I received this book directly from the publisher via Net Galley to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and I received no other compensation.
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.
Kristin Hannah has become an auto-read author for me, so I was super
excited to read The Four Winds. When I first started reading the book,
I'll admit I wasn't hooked right away. But then...I fell in love with
Elsa, Loreda, and Ant. Hannah is such a gifted writer--it is so easy to
make a personal connection with her characters and care about them as if
they were real. The struggles described in this book were absolutely
heartbreaking, yet ironically relevant to what many are struggling with
today in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the every day life of
In addition to the characters, what really got me invested in this book was the time frame. Loreda, Elsa's daughter, was born in 1921 in Texas. My grandma was born in 1920 in Kansas. It really got me thinking about her experiences as a child and if she experienced any of the dust storms. She also moved to California, just like Elsa's family, though she moved significantly later. I called my mom while reading this book to ask her about what she remembers my grandma telling her, as unfortunately my grandma is no longer alive.
One of my favorite quotes:
"Elsa knew that a library card--a thing they'd taken for granted all of their lives--meant there was still a future. A world beyond this struggle."
While this wasn't my favorite Hannah novel (my favorite is The Great Alone) this is absolutely a five star read and one I recommend to anyone and everyone. It's a heartbreaking yet beautiful book set in a time in American history that is so important and relevant to today.