The Four Winds: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : St. Martin's Press; First Ediiton edition
  • Published : 02 Feb 2021
  • Pages : 464
  • ISBN-10 : 1250178606
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250178602
  • Language : English

The Four Winds: A Novel

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

"My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family."

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa―like so many of her neighbors―must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Four Winds:

"Through one woman's survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, asa change in the wind. This mother's soul, suffering the same drought as the land, attempts to cross deserts and beat starvation to save her children with a fierce inner strength called motherhood. A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." ―Delia Owens, author of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

"The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We've been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close."The New York Times

"A powerful, stirring, wind-swept tale set in Depression-era America that makes your heart break and soar in equal measure. An escape into the past with timely echoes to the present. Kristin Hannah is a classic storyteller and The Four Winds sees her at the top of her game." -- MATT HAIG, New York Times bestselling author of THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

"Wow. I have been left with a bursting heart. Prepare to go on a journey. The story of Elsa and her family will sweep you up on its wings and plunge you to the depths of feeling. This novel is crucial for our times: although set during the Great Depression and the terrible dust bowls, it holds up a mirror to our current world and asks us to look and to understand deeply. It is a story of migration, poverty, prejudice - it shines a light on a crisis that is all too real in today's world. Yet, it is also a story of love, family, unbreakable bonds, bravery and hope. I will never forget the characters, what they endured and how they hoped and loved. I feel that I will be forever touched by them. I loved this book so much!" --Christy Lefteri, author of THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO

"A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women."―People

"Brutally beautiful."Newsweek

"Epic and transporting, a stirring story of hardship and love...Majestic and absorbing."USA Today

"The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a captivating, heartbreaking tale of a family who will do anything for each other ― and everything to survive. The strength of Hannah's prose brings the characters to life in a way that will make you unable to tear yourself away from them. You will celebrate their triumphs, mourn their tragedies, and commend their bravery.

Through it all, it is easy to feel Hannah's desire to honor those who lived and fought through this devastating t...

Readers Top Reviews

I must admit that I am stranger to these type of pedastrian plot driven popular novels. I loved the quasi historical fiction element of the Dust Bowl migration outling the classist inhumane treatment of migrants in their own country. This is despicable and although no where even close to the abomination of slavery, we do get to see the areas where classism and racism have similarities. My problem with the novel is that is so simplistic. I suppose this author knows her audience and clearly it is not me. The portrayal of the Italian American family alerted me immediately to the many flaws in this novel. Italians living in rural farming communities were not buying imported olive and the other stereotypical Italian foods. This part is just silly. These imported products would not have been readily available. Also, the idea that Italian parents would disown a SON and prefer his "white" girlfriend who shows up pregnant, is again very silly. Anyone who knows anything about Italian sons knows that their mothers never reject them in favour of pregnant white girls. The next thing about this is the casting of Italians as another race using expressions of "dark" and "olive skinned." Italians are members of the white race and although they were cast as different and discriminated against for their culture, they were still white. As for the "communist" labour organizers there is nothing out of the ordinary about this, but it interesting to see reviews about how offensive any reference to communism is to some readers. One must remember this is before the realizations about totalitarian governments were very different than true Marxism. Now for our heroine, she is an OK character. She sacrifices everything for her family and the majority of women understand that deep love of one's children that permeates and consumes our lives. Overall, I could not finish this repetitive novel. It seems the author who I see churns these types of books out for her legion of fans, also just rehashes the same chapters over and over. It's like each new chapter is just a rewritten summary of the one before it. I was astounded she gets away with this to be honest in her attempt to churn out 400 pages... I must also add that the bedroom scene near the end where Jack wants the "lights on" so he can "see her" made me laugh out loud. So hokey. This book is an attempt to write a Harlequin romance version of Grapes of Wrath.
The book is moving and quite a saga. It has echoes of John Steinbeck's books The Grapes of Wrath and of Mice and Men but, also, in Elsa Martinelli's bravery and spirit and love of the land, echoes too of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the wind and her love of Tara but it is also unique for me in that I knew next to nothing of the hardships suffered by the people of The Great Plains, the poverty and hardships endured by migrant workers escaping the dust bowl and heading to California in the depression era of the 1930s. The droughts, the despair, the millions heading West to California for a better life it proved near impossible to find, and how hungry homeless and helpless those lives became as the migrants became trapped in a spiral of poverty debt and despair. The story of these migrants classed as Okies and their extreme suffering is depicted movingly in beautiful prose that makes you weep for their plight. I preordered this book, waited nine months for it to arrive in my kindle and have been glued to the book since I received it. Kristin Hannah is a wonderful writer, one of my favourites and the story and characters in this book, the depiction of the endurance, resilience and bravery it took to survive are astounding. An easy 5 shiny stars from me. A beautiful story.
JCMindy Sue
I’m three-fourths though this book and I can’t even finish. It’s horribly written, pro-communist dribble that I can’t even bring myself to care about how it ends. Don’t waste your time or money.
It is a good book with great writing. It is just so sad and depressing. I am sure there are those who won’t agree with that, But I just couldn’t find any joy in the book
I couldn’t wait for this book from a favorite author. No more. The tiny bit of light at the end was far too small to make up for all the sadness. The notes at the end tell us her family lost someone dear in this pandemic so it appears Ms Hannah wants to be sure everyone shares her grief. We are already there. I needed something to lift me above today’s darkness and this sure wasn’t it. I can’t recommend it to anyone and will in fact recommend my friends not to read it. Unfortunately I know some have already bought it. I’ll not buy any more by her.