The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, like so many books I end up picking up, was chosen because I’d seen some very positive reviews of it online, the front cover looked enticing and I just so happened to have an Audible credit free to spend on the audiobook. I honestly went into this book blind with absolutely no idea what it was about and by the end, it may well turn out to be one of my favourite books of the year.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase any products via any of the links below, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links do not affect my final opinion of the products.
The Four Winds is a historical fiction book set back in 1930s America and focuses on the life of Elsa Martinelli. She believes she has the life she’s always wanted – children, a loving family and a life on a farm where she feels useful and wanted. However, when a drought hits her whole life is flipped upside down and her life turns into a matter of survival for her and her family.
Plot – 4.75/5
The story of Elsa Martinelli is one of great sadness and survival. Her life starts out very cushty but a strict father and a life that restricts her desires to be a free woman cause her to lash out and end up living with another family. As she grows up, she has children who become her whole world and to whom she devotes her life to ensuring become better than she has become.
However, as I mentioned above, the Great Depression comes to America, the term used during the thirties when there weren’t enough jobs and homelessness was at an all-time high. This happens during one of the worst natural disasters modern America has ever seen in the form of a mass drought. This causes Elsa and her family to struggle for income, food and for basic survival, feeling that America has let them down.
The story is heartwarming, provoking, at times incredibly sad and at all times utterly compelling. It’s held back slightly by having some slightly slower moments but never enough to wane your interest!
The Four Winds characters – 4.75/5
You can’t have a book that covers such an incredibly sad time for so many people without writing in some very likeable characters – in The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah does that emphatically here. Elsa herself is a devoted mother who will do almost anything to make sure that her children and family have the best possible life she can give them. She works hard every single moment of every single day, both to bring in food and warmth for her children but also to be a good parent, teaching her children right from wrong and making sure they never really feel the great depression that she and the country are feeling.
My other favourite character is Elsa’s daughter, Loreda who throughout the majority of the novel borders on being a troubled child. From an early age, she has reasons to dislike her mother and this continues for many years into her mid and later teens. However, Elsas continues to try her best with her, showing her kindness and positivity despite Loreda’s outbursts. The reason I enjoyed Loreda was that she shows great bravery at a time when so many people were remaining quiet. She also does develop an understanding of her mother as she grows older. As a child, she thinks of her mother as weak and quiet, but as she grows older, she begins to understand how incredibly powerful and brave her mother truly is. She reminded me a lot of Duchess Day Radley from Chris Whittaker’s We Begin At The End.
The Four Winds final rating – 4.75
Sometimes a book will come along that you’ve heard some good things about but you go into it with a lot of scepticism because you’ve been oversold a book before. However, I can assuredly say that’s not the case with The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. A story about life, struggles, poverty, survival and motherhood with characters who you root for and fall in love with and written in a way that almost feels poetic makes The Four Winds one of my must-read books I’ll be telling everybody to read!
If you liked the sound of The Four Winds then you’ll probably like my reviews of these books too: