"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, June 25, 2021

Quotes and review: THE FOUR WINDS

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Book Beginnings quote: 

Elsa Wolcott had spent years in enforced solitude, reading fictional adventures and imagining other lives.

Friday56 quote: 

Mr. Martinelli came out of the barn and approached her; "Good morning," he said. "Walk with me."

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Summary: The year is 1934. The setting is a small, rural town in the pan-handle of Texas. The Great Depression has been raging for five years. And now the earth itself seems to be raging, too, in great dust storms. 

Back in 1920 Elsa Wolcott, age twenty-five, lived a quiet and boring life with her parents who seemed to think Elsa should just accept her lot in life and be happy with her books and her drab looks. In an effort to feel alive she dressed up like a flapper and goes out alone. She ends up having a relationship with a man. When she ends up pregnant, her parents disown her and literally dump her at the home of the man, a farmer's son, and leave her without so much as a backward glance. In the Friday56 quote, Elsa is experiencing her first day on the farm which will end up being her home where her children are born but where she learns to love the land.

Fourteen years later, the dust and the poverty cause Elsa to leave the farm, heading toward California and a new life. Once there, however, 'the land of milk and honey' is anything but plentiful for all the "Okies" entering the state who can't find decent jobs or living accommodations.

Review: I had two conflicting reports rattling around in my head about The Four Winds. Several of my friends were delighted with the book and raved about the story, encouraging me to read it. At the same time a few other friends told me that they didn't like the book or weren't going to read it because of reviews they'd read that were not complimentary. At the beginning it did seem that the latter group was correct. Kristin Hannah's descriptions of rural life during the Dust Bowl weren't nearly as good as that provided by Timothy Egan in his excellent book, The Worst Hard Time. Then the narrative picked up as Elsa and her children make their way to California and get embroiled in the migrant labor movement which happened in the early to mid 1930s in that state. Having never heard anything about these strikes and riots, I found this new information to be interesting and distressing. The ending of The Four Winds was a shocker yet very satisfying. 

In an interview Kristin Hannah was asked how she comes up with her stories. She replied that after writing The Nightingale, set in France during WWII, she wanted to write a truly American story. As she was casting about thinking about ideas, she became very interested in The Dust Bowl. As she did more research she learned about the Migrant Labor Strikes and riots in California. Her decision was made...to write a story which included both topics since they were so entwined due to the migrations of thousands of families from the dust bowl states to California.

Rating: 4 stars.

Big Books Summer Challenge. Weighing in at 454 pages in length, The Four Winds is my second 'big book' of the summer reading season and qualifies for the challenge hosted by Sue over at Book by Book.

20-Books of Summer Challenge. Seventh book.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.   




  1. Glad this one ended up being a 4-star read for you. It's one I want to read soon. :)

  2. I really enjoyed this novel, but have also seen a couple who did not. I agree that the parts in California are really interesting and cover a time and events that I didn't know about before reading the book.

  3. This sounds like a really interesting book, and I'm glad to hear that it got better as you went on! It was interesting to hear about how the author intertwined two different topics in her idea for this story. Thanks so much for the great review!

  4. Because of its length I probably won't read it. I've been disappointed in the other Hannah books I've read and found her to be a mediocre writer.

    1. I liked Nightingale the most and don't remember being aware of the writing while reading it. The Great Alone had so many unlovable characters, it was hard to cheer them on...plus the tied-up-with-a-bow ending. This one improved, in my mind, as I read on. My biggest issue is the repetition. Can't editors help with that?

  5. I've heard great things about this book! Happy weekend!

  6. Congratulations on finishing another Big Book, Anne!

    I've heard SO much about this novel lately - mostly, rave reviews. I always enjoy Kristin Hannah's novels.

    Thanks for the thoughtful review.


    2021 Big Book Summer Challenge

    1. I am reading another 400+ novel right now and have another in the wings for book club so I am sure I'll get a least four big books this summer.

  7. P.S. I notice that your e-mail sign-up looks just like my new one, which probably means you switched to follow.it? Did you have any trouble with them deleting a bunch of e-mails from your list, saying they were spam? They removed 1210 e-mails from my list, and I know some valid e-mails were among those - struggling to get this fixed. Let me know if you ran into similar problems! Thanks - Sue

    1. Honestly, I don't pay much attention to the blog/email relationship because I don't follow other blogs via email. If they deleted any, I don't know.

  8. It sounds like you mostly liked this novel .... and that it brought up some fresh topics ... I will keep it on my TBR list. thanks.

  9. I loved News of the World and Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles. Stormy Weather has a lot about both the Depression and the Dust Bowl. I have The Four Winds on my list, but there are also videos online with unbelievable scenes taken at the time. Seeing buried cars and buildings is shocking.


I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.