The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Now, I am very late to the party with reading books from the pen of Kristin Hannah. (I only started watching ‘Firefly Lane’ last month – so, I have been late to that party too). But I have seen so many people reading the novels of Kristin Hannah, and enjoying them, that I thought I should give them a go, and it appears I had ordered a copy of ‘The Four Winds’ – so, that seemed like that would be my starting place.

I was intrigued by this book (as you know, I do not read blurbs) as it was clearly about America and its west – a historical fiction novel about something that has always fascinated me seemed like a good choice to me – and, oh my word, it was.

This is a beautifully constructed novel. It’s a stunning piece of historical fiction that takes you straight to the Great Plains of America as families struggle to farm the land during times of extreme drought known as ‘The Dust Bowl’, and against the backdrop of the great economic depression of the 1930s. Elsa makes a decision that the best way to save her family (after her husband has made the decision to abandon them) is to move them to the ‘promised land’ of California – a place that is guaranteed to offer them salvation. But does it?

This is a stunning book about strength, tenacity, family and love (of so many kinds). You feel you are there with the family; that their experiences are your experiences. You feel all the emotions as you understand the injustice of so many of the situations, but also the hope that so many had to keep them surviving every day. This is a slow-burn story that you can’t help but keep reading, as you just have to know what happens to Elsa and her family, and you are rooting for them at all times.

I suspect that you will also be ready to find out more about this chapter in American history too, as Kristin Hannah explains herself she has researched it and fictionalised the events, but there is so much out there to help you find out more.

This was my final read of 2023 and it was great one, although this is another author with a backlist that I need to investigate (including ‘Firefly Lane’). So many books, so little time…

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