The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

February 3rd, 2021 Kimberly Review 19 Comments

3rd Feb
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
The Four Winds
by Kristin Hannah
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 15 hours and 2 minutes
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.25x

The Four Winds, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah, is an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America's most defining eras—the Great Depression.

"If I close my eyes, I can still taste the dust..."

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods. The crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman who will discover the best in herself in the worst of times.

*This program includes a bonus conversation between the author and narrator.

historical well written Fave Narrator Family

I love historical fiction based on actual events, and when I saw Julia Whelan was narrating The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, I knew I had to dive in.

I laughed, cried, was ashamed, and found aspects relevant to today’s headlines. Hannah brought the events, hardships, and characters to life with vivid imagery. 

I’ve read several books about the Dust Bowl and Great Depression but learned new things as Hannah takes the listener from the hardships of a Texas farm to the promises of a better life in the state of milk and honey.

The story begins when we meet young Elsa, a shy, book-loving and awkward young girl who meets a young Italian farmer. What follows shares her life story from hardships to triumphs as the US faces turmoil.

The author did a splendid job of giving the listener background and helping us understand our protagonists’ beginnings from the daughter of a wealthy businessman to the wife of a farmer. I connected with Elsa, understood her and admired her.

We bear witness to the tragic events surrounding the Dust Bowl, which pushed the US into an economic depression and displaced many. Families starved and succumb to the harsh environment. I could hear the dust and feel the desperation of these hardworking folks.

In 1934, Elsa travels west with her young children in search of a job. I knew very little about what happened to folks who headed west to California during this time. It horrified me. The story resonates with current news stories surrounding low wages, affordable housing, discrimination and more. Again and again history repeats from sharecroppers to unfair wages and working conditions.

Most of the story is told from Elsa’s point of view, but a few chapters are told from her Loreda, her daughter. The author’s grasp of the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship was profound. I connected to both. Even when there was strife, I never doubted the love they held for each other.

Julia Whelan was the perfect narrator for this novel. She captured all aspects of these characters and through her pacing and tone brought this well-written glimpse of American history and tragedy to life.

I highly recommend listening to The Four Winds. It is a story that will stay with you long after the audio has ended.

Narrated by Julia Whelan The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah shares the trials of the life for a mother and daughter during the Dust Bowl and its impact on the Great Depression. #HistoricalFiction #audiobook Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

19 Responses to “The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah”

  1. Shirley Goldberg

    I am audio-reading this book right now. Love your review and also read up on the dust bowl and the many reasons for the tragedy in the 1930s that led up to that long-lasting series of events.
    A fascinating and heartbreaking time in our country.

  2. Carla

    Fantastic review Kimberly. This sounds like an amazing story to listen to and I have come to love Julia Whelan’s narration as well. I will definitely try and get the audiobook for this one.

    Carla recently posted: February: Black History Month
  3. Sophie

    Honestly I am listening to it now but I find it so depressing that I don’t know if I’ll finish it. I understand that this is a bout indeed a very depressing period in time but I need some ups in my read, not just downs…. This is just my personal need, nothing against her writing as it’s well documented and superb!

  4. Lorna

    I’ve been wondering about this one. She’s been a favorite author for me since way back in her early writing days. The subject and tragedy makes me want to steer clear a bit though. I just read and loved The Great Alone. Just not up for a tragic story? I’m glad you loved it though!

  5. RO

    I’ve been getting into historical pieces via books, tv series and movies, and can’t wait to read this one! Kristin Hannah is such am amazing author. Thanks for such a great review, and I really love when there’s a great reader and character connection. Hugs and hope you are well. RO