Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Winter Garden" By: Kristin Hannah Review

"Winter Garden" 
By: Kristin Hannah

Synopsis from Amazon:
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
My Thoughts:

     Easily one of the best books I have read this year, "Winter Garden," introduced to me one of my favorite new authors, Kristin Hannah. Dealing with family, sisters, death, past events and all of the drama that goes with those big themes, Hannah expertly juggles the characters and the plot seamlessly. At times heart warming and other times gut wrenching, "Winter Garden," is the ultimate mother-daughter book to read this year!
      The book starts out with the death of Meredith and Nina's father, who has pretty much held the family together his entire life. Their Mother, Anya, is very distant and doesn't seem to connect with the family, nor does she really want to. Meredith and Nina watch helplessly as their Mother seems to drift after their Father's death, becoming nonsensical and confused easily...until she begins recounting an old Russian fairytale. 
     The girls find the fairytale silly until they begin noticing things from the fairy tale in real life. Slowly as more of the tale is related by their mother, they realize instead of a imaginary story it is actually their Mother's life story before coming to America. 
     I cannot possibly describe how rich and wonderful this story is. As you start the story, you hate Anya for her detachment to her two daughters, who only want to be loved. As you learn her story though, you begin to understand why she is the way she is and how she became to be that way. The novel shows clear character growth and you actually can see the characters changing.
      I can't wait to talk about this book at book group. There is so much to discuss! First we have mother/daughter issues, aging, mental illness, death, war issues and so much more. Oye, its going to be a jam packed reading discussion, I can tell you that. Please, if you haven't read this one, run out and find it. Amazing in every aspect, I loved it!

Book Details
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of Publication: February 2, 2010
# of Pages: 394
ISBN: 978-0312364120

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard much about this one, but I'm adding this one to my wish list. I recently read, and loved Home Front by Kristin Hannah. Great review!