Book Review of The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – Fabulous Read!
My Rating – 5 out of 5
Plot Summary – The Four Winds
“You are of me, Loreda, in a way that can never be broken. Not by words or anger or action or time. I love you. I will always love you. You taught me love. You, first in the whole world, and my love for you will outlive me.”Elsa to her daughter Loreda in The Four Winds
Almost every country on Earth has a dark period in their chequered histories, most more than one. So for the US of A, one such dark part is the Great Depression of the early 1930’s. The Four Winds is set during that time, a memorable, poignant, and heart wrenching narrative of the sorry times, when humanity (or large swathes of it) lost its face-off with nature and led a terribly miserable existence. In her typical, inimitable style, Kristin Hannah brings her readers right into the story – so much so that your stomach might churn with each protagonists’ hunger pangs!
Cutting to the chase, Elsinore Wolcott is the eldest daughter of the Wolcotts, and leads the life of Cinderella, before she became the Queen. Her sisters were much loved by her parents, while her sickly self was ridiculed outright and had to lead a miserable though financially sound life. At age 25, she had a short dalliance with a local Italian farmer’s son for a few nights and found herself pregnant. Her family disowns her and she is left with no option other than to marry her reluctant lover. But love follows strange rules, if any, and Elsa (as she is known) falls inexorably in love with her husband and stays that way.
“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.”Elsa Martinelli in The Four Winds
Then the drought strikes… All the farms are struck by the relentless dry patch and dust storms with no rain. Their staple cash crop – wheat – is gone year after year, plunging all farmers into despair, misery, and poverty. Some people just up and leave and others just stay and die. The large population of Texas and neighboring states are looking at mass destruction of crops, livestock and people. Many leave for California, with the hope of landing a job, at least, for sometime.
It is a fascinatingly brutal story with its numerous poignant and sad turns – and Ms. Hannah has once again done a stupendous job! With political responses to the Federal Governments Dole scheme slowly getting more protestors once the labor rates reason out, it might not be too pretty. Ms. Hannah’s descriptive narrative wins many hearts and one actually feels like we are bystanders watching the drama unfold in right in front of our eyes.
Summary – Book Review of The Four Winds
As mentioned earlier, The Four Winds, effortlessly captures the painful period with all its human tragedies, indomitable spirits and an unbending will to fight and not give up. It’s fairly reminiscent of “The Great Alone” and its vast sweep of the landscape though this is unique in capturing the bias and prejudice of the ‘Haves’ with the ‘Have-Nots’ which is just as toxic as that based on skin-colour, gender or caste etc.
Overall, a bright book, though the tone, in keeping with the mood of the novel, varies continuously. From suddenly euphoric to frighteningly depressive, she takes us through it all. Another ‘Must Read’ to be added to your book shelf!
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