My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Here’s the thing. I can tell a lot of research went into this book. I live in West Texas and remember experiencing my first dust storm. Everyone around me was so calm and indifferent like it was normal. I, on the other hand, thought the world was ending. In 21 years, that is something I still can’t get used to, the way the dirt blows here, and to imagine living in the Dust Bowl when it was even worse. The way the author described it, the way the wind would howl and the house would moan, those things are very real. The way the dirt covers everything and you can feel it scraping your eyes and gritting in your teeth, that is real. I felt like she captured this really well.
The way the drought affected not only the people, but the animals and the land, those parts of the book were heart-breaking. The details of the setting in this book, overall, were so vivid and richly written. It really painted a picture and put me in the story.
Everyone told me this book would be a tear-jerker. Ok, this is not my top favorite Kristin Hannah book, but it was very good. There were parts of this book that made me genuinely outraged. Other parts I felt anguish and helplessness. I felt for many of the characters, especially Elsa. Talk about a strong woman despite the adversities she had to face. She never felt like she really belonged anywhere, and yet she still worked so hard and tried her best every day.
I think some good lessons this book reminds us of are to be careful what you drive people to by the way you treat them, and we all started out as immigrants here in this country, so don’t you forget it.
Overall, I think this is a great book and great for book club discussion as Hannah’s books usually are. I’m personally interested in what others’ thoughts were regarding the way Communism was brought up in this story, and whether you felt it was really about Communism or simply a way to get a fair shake. Sometimes you have to ask for a lot knowing you’ll only get a little.
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Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date Published: February 2, 2021
Page Count: 464
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.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.