🐞 🐞 🐞 🐞 🐞
THE FOUR WINDS
St. Martin’s Press
February 9, 2021
Elsa Martinelli never expected to be the wife of a Texan farmer. She grew up in a wealthy family, but a childhood illness kept her isolated from her parents and siblings. Though she eventually made a full recovery, she was never allowed to socialize with other people and spent her teenage years feeling extremely alone. When charming, good-looking Rafe comes into her life and really seems to notice her, she can’t help falling for him. But an innocent summer of exploration leads to an unplanned pregnancy, and now Rafe and Elsa are tied to each other and to Rafe’s family land.
At first, it’s manageable. Elsa is a hard worker and finds a place in the family as a strong, reliable caretaker. But as the country heads into the Great Depression and the overworked farmland dries up with no rain in sight, Elsa and Rafe will have to decide if they should stay in Texas or head west to find jobs and, hopefully, a better life for their family.
It always takes me a minute to warm up to a Kristin Hannah novel. She’s a fan of the slow build, and I hate to say that I’m usually a bit bored at first. Elsa isn’t much of a character in the beginning—she’s extremely shy and demure, to the point of having almost no personality at all. But about 20% of the way in, the book really starts to come into its own—Elsa starts coming into her own—and I was hooked.
It’s crazy to think that Hannah began writing this three years ago, because it is eerily relevant today. Watching the economic devastation and racial divisiveness unfold in the story feels painful and personal. We are living this. But I appreciated that, in the midst of so much despair, the focus is on love. And not just romantic love, though there’s some of that, too, but rather on love between women—between mothers and daughters, between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws, between friends. The women are the heroes of this story. They are the ones who keep families together, who keep food on the table. They are committed to their children and to each other. They support one another when all hope (like, truly, ALL hope) is gone. They are the glue, and their journeys in this story felt so right and real to me.
In short, this is a lovely book. Probably my favorite from Hannah so far. There is no doubt in my mind that The Four Winds will be another instant best seller.
Many, many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for the ARC!