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The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

You are of me Loreda, in a way that can never be broken.  Not by words or anger or actions or time.  I love you…. you taught me love. You, first in the whole world, and my love for you will outlive me. 

I finished this book with tears pooled in my specs!  It’s properly heart wrenching – just when you think things can’t possibly get worse, they do – but it’s an extraordinarily rich, sweeping read about the Great Depression, the concept of The American Dream and the lengths a mother will go to for her children.   As so often with fiction, I learnt so much about the terrible drought which decimated the Great Plains, turning it into the so-called Dust Bowl.  (Aside: Please do watch the documentary on Netflix Kiss the Ground on how regenerating our soil could stabilize the earth’s climate – its brilliant)

In her author’s note, Kristin Hannah writes: Three years ago, I began writing this novel about hard times in America: the worst environmental disaster in our history; the collapse of the economy; the effect of massive unemployment.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the Great Depression would become so relevant in our modern lives, that I would see so many people out of work, in need, frightened for the future.  As we know, there are lessons to be learned from history.  Hope to be derived from hardships faced before…. History has shown us the strength and durability of the human spirit.

Elsa grew up a sickly, timid child in a love-less home so when a reckless chance at love came her way she grabbed it, finally finding the life she had read about in novels – a home, a family and a farm on the Great Plains.  But Elsa’s family life is shattered when one of the worst droughts of all time hits Texas and her husband deserts them.  Forced to abandon the farm, she and her children flee to California – along with thousands of other destitute Americans – hoping to build a better life.

Brutally beautiful – Newsweek

Epic and transporting, a stirring story of hardship and love… Majestic and absorbing – USA Today

Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind. This mother’s soul, suffering the same drought as the land, attempts to cross deserts and beat starvation to save her children with a fierce inner strength called motherhood. A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself. – Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing