May be THE most anticipated novel of 2021, here it is: THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah.
I received a review copy of THE FOUR WINDS in the middle of the summer. Here we were in the midst of a global pandemic and to tell you the truth I was feeling a bit down and somewhat sorry for myself. Boo hoo. Just tired of the whole business of social distancing and not traveling etc. Well, I can tell you one thing: I quickly stopped feeling sorry for myself. This novel is so full of hardship and pain…..
The story begins in a town in the panhandle of Texas where a young woman is trying to break free of a suffocating family environment. Elsa just wanted to feel love. Told by her mother that she was unattractive and kept under strict surveilance, she really just wants to feel normal. Since she was fourteen and contracted an illness she was said to be sickly. But she’s an adult now and feels stifled.
It’s 1934 and we watch as Elsa is thrust into an unlikely relationship that will only cause her pain. Her parents are glad to have a reason to dump her. Her new husband is quite miserable and honestly not fit for fatherhood. When the Great Depression dries up all the work and the Dust Bowl comes along and dries up all the crops Elsa’s life becomes even more horrific. There comes a time when she has to make a decision. She can stay in Texas and very possibly starve to death, or, she can head out to California where it seems every other Tom, Dick, and Harry are going. Throughout this entire decision-making period we struggle along with Elsa. Should she go? Go where?Will it be for the better? And then we realize there really isn’t any choice. She must go.
In California, Elsa soon sees that it’s not the land of good and plenty. It’s just a different type of Hell. Here migrants are living in poverty. The squalor they live in will break your heart. Camps easily flood. Dirt floors. No one ever has enough to eat. I can’t even imagine the trek to work let alone the actual backbreaking labor.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH immediately comes to mind as you read. That time period is one we never want to see happen again in this country. But, here we are with thousands of people out of work through no fault of their own. And we’re living in unthinkable conditions.
There are so many scenes that are just incredibly hard to read. This young woman goes through many hells. She is one of those strong characters that I love. But even I have to wonder how much more she can take.
The story rounds a curve when she meets Jack who’s working for an organization that’s trying to form a union for migrant workers. A lot of research went into this part of the novel and it pays off. I found myself pulling not only for Elsa but for every migrant worker. Is this going to make Elsa’s life easier? You’ll find out.
Kristin Hannah is the NYT bestselling author of thirty novels. Her last three novels have placed her at the top of the commercial fiction ladder. She’s an amazing story teller. I don’t know what she’s going to pull out of her book hat next, but what I do know is that I can’t wait!
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah will be available for purchase at Copperfish Books on Tuesday, Feb. 2. We are offering a 20% discount since it’s a new hardcover book. This is one of the most anticipated books of the year and you are going to want to read it! Every bookclub will be reading it and it will be on the lips of every book person in the world. Do not miss it.
I have to send a big shout out to St. Martin’s publishing for sending me an early copy in exchange for an honest review. What can I say? It’s a blockbuster.