“Sometimes when I close my eyes I swear I can still taste the dust.”
I couldn’t decide whether to review this book. There is so much I want to say. The Four Winds is only the second book by Kristin Hannah I’ve read. I was drawn to her books after watching the Netflix TV series Firefly Lane based on her book with the same name which I have also since read. What a show but I digress…
The Four Winds is Hannah’s latest book based on the catastrophic events of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and it had me from the beginning. As soon I took it off the Holds shelf at the library I work in I was transfixed. Like, I was reading it as I went up in the lift to the third floor staffroom for my tea break.
I’m not a fast reader and will normally just read for 30 minutes and then do something else. With this book I would sit for an hour or two and just want to keep reading.
The flow of the book is easy. The characters are well developed and I liked the protagonist Elsinore (affectionately known as Elsa) Martinelli. It's 1930s America and after dealing with the rejection of her family, Elsa finds a man, a new family and home. But then their land and home is hit by the Dust Bowl and Elsa has to decide whether to leave and head for California to find a better life for her and her two children – a move made by more than three million Americans.
I don’t want to give too much more of the book away but what I like about these kinds of books is 1) the history lesson and 2) the insight you get into what life would have been like for many trying to escape the conditions of those times.
This is a sad book but there were times when I did smile - the small moments of happiness for this woman and her two children which are sprinkled throughout the story. One that comes to mind is when Elsa gives her daughter Loreda a library card for Christmas or when a hairdresser offers to cut Loreda's hair for free. Such small acts of kindness which meant so much to this family and something we can all keep in mind when thinking of others less fortunate.
A gripping read from start to finish.