Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: February 2, 2010
Hardcover, 394 pages
Audiobook, Brilliance Audio

My Review:
I did not know what to expect when I started listening to this book.  I always enjoy Kristin Hannah's books but sometimes they are a little slow and I wasn't sure I was in the mood for it, but then I decided I had to listen to it.  I am so glad I did.

The plot is amazing.  In the beginning I did not understand Meredith and Nina's mother at all, I saw her as cold and unfeeling and wondered what her problem could be.  Then there was Meredith and Nina themselves.  Meredith who stayed behind and helped with her father's orchard and gave up her dreams, she married young, had children who are now in college and now feels more distant from her husband than she ever thought possible.  Nina is following her dreams wherever they take her, searching for the perfect photograph and running from love.  When their father's health problem brings them together after being a part things begin to change.

I love all the self-discovery in this book and I love the way it is written with the telling of the fairy-tale as the center piece.  I learned a lot about WWII Russia, things I never knew about this area and the hardships the people went through.  The story is ultimately a story of never giving up, going for your dreams and being true to yourself.  All three women grow so much during this story and it is beautiful to watch it unfold before you.  The characterization is beautifully done, the plot moves along at a great pace and there are numerous surprises I never saw coming.  You will probably need some tissues for this one, but you won't mind.  If you enjoy Kristin Hannah's novels then I highly recommend this one.

As an audio book - this one is amazing.  The reader does a terrific job with all of the voices and her Russian accent makes the book even better - it really came to life as I listened.  So I highly recommend it in either form you like - written or audio.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family business; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged sisters will find themselves together again, standing alongside their disapproving mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise: Anya will tell her daughters a story; it is one she began years ago and never finished. This time she will tell it all the way to the end.

The tale their mother tells them is unlike anything they’ve heard before—a captivating, mysterious love story that spans more than sixty years and moves from frozen, war-torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. Nina’s obsession to uncover the truth will send them all on an unexpected journey into their mother’s past, where they will discover a secret so shocking, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

Mesmerizing from beginning to end, Winter Garden is that rarest of novels — at once an epic love story and an intimate portrait of women poised at the crossroads of their lives. Evocative, lyrically written, and ultimately uplifting, it will haunt the listener long after the last word is spoken.

About the Author:
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Firefly Lane and the blockbuster On Mystic Lake. She is a former lawyer turned writer and is the mother of one son. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband.

Kristin Hannah's webpage
Her Blog

Other Reviews of Winter Garden:
Beck's Book Picks

If you have a book review up of this book let me know and I will link to it.

FTC Information: I checked out this audiobook from my local library for my listening enjoyment.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.