Book Review: Winter Garden

October 28, 2017

Winter Garden
Kristin Hannah
401 pages
Hard copy edition

From the Publisher: 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.


Do you ever read and you finish it and you feel like you’e been holding your breath and you can finally come up for air?

This book is just that.  WOW.  I could not put this book down and finished it within 12 hours.  The first half was a little slower, but not that much slower…I mean I seriously started it about 1pm on Wednesday and finished the last page around 10am on Thursday.  Once I got about half way there was no way I could stop. I couldn’t stop crying either, and I still recommend it. This book really captured me.

This story starts as a family mystery but is SO much more than that by the end.  Kristin Hannah’s writing is amazing.  I will admit, I speed read a lot, my husband says I skim too much, but this book was SO well written, I just soaked up every word and paragraph.  I can’t imagine the research and study that Hannah put into this book, it was like she had been there.  This is the second book I’ve read by Hannah and both have been this same way – I am blown away by her talent.  They leave me in awe.

This paragraph….I read it again and again, and to put the book down and just think about it.  Talk about amazing.

“We women make choices for others, not for ourselves, and when we are mothers, we…bear what we must for our children.  You will protect them.  It will hurt you; it will hurt them.  Your job is to hide that your heart is breaking and do what they need you to do”

A few other read a-likes that I would recommend for this book are: The Nightingale, Lilac Girls, Sarah’s Key, and All the Light We Cannot See.

(sidenote: there is maybe one f-word and some other language, a couple scenes that might make you uncomfortable if you are a sensitive reader)

Have you read this?  Share with me in comments your thoughts?  I would also love to hear if you have any other Kristin Hannah recommendations?  I’ve only read this and The Nightingale by her and would love to read more.



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