Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Book Info:
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 2, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0312364120
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: For Review
Rating: 4/5

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, these two estranged women will find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters.

On his deathbed, their father extracts one last promise from the women in his life. It begins with a story that is unlike anything the sisters have heard before -- a captivating, mysterious love story that spans sixty-five years and moves from frozen, war torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. The vividly imagined tale brings these three women together in a way that none could have expected. Meredith and Nina will finally learn the secret of their mother's past and uncover a truth so terrible it will shake the foundation of their family and change who they think they are.

While I loved Kristin Hannah's Firefly Lane (review), True Colors (review) fell a little short for me. Winter Garden was much more to my liking, even though I found it a little slow at first. I didn't find myself warming to the characters until I was about halfway through the book and well into the fairy tale. By then I was hooked though, and couldn't put the book down.

The two sisters in the story were an interesting study in contrasts. While they both grew up in the same environment, they dealt with their mother's ambivalence toward them in very different ways. I think it is very interesting how people deal with the same situations so very differently.

Winter Garden deals with a time in history that I find fascinating and I think that is one of the reasons I was so drawn into the story. Hannah's vivid writing really brought the story to life, and while elements of the fairy tale story may be familiar, she still made it feel fresh. 4 stars


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book soon. I love the covers on Kristin Hannah's books, or at least the newer ones. They are delicate and lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Great review melissa. I did not care for her last book (True Colors), but plan to try this one from the library some time. Take Care

Sandy Nawrot said...

A good friend of mine swears by Firefly Lane. She then went out and read everything she had written. I'm sure she will want to get her hands on this one, and I will definitely let her know it is a good one!

I just wanted to let you know, as well, that I've been thinking about you. I hope the little one is doing well, and that you are making it through those lovely first weeks of motherhood. (I cried every day for a month! I was so clueless!)

Marce said...

I loved Firefly Lane and was going to read all of her books. I will read this one but may stay away from True Colors.

Great review

Zibilee said...

Your review has successfully made me realize that I really need to grab a copy of this book! It looks like a wonderful read, and I really like the fairy tale element.