Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2nd Feb 2010
Time/Pages: 14hrs 43mins/394
Book Source: Own Audio
Narrator: Susan Erickson

Synopsis: 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.


My Thoughts:
Winter Garden is one of the most beautiful, mesmerising, heartbreaking books I've read in years. Much like the unfurling of a flower, it begins with intriguing promise and blooms into full captivating beauty.  

Some reviewers have made mention of a slow start but I was enthralled from the beginning but then I do have a thing for dysfunctional family stories. When their beloved father becomes ill and dies estranged sisters Meredith and Nina and their cold, critical mother Anya are drawn together in grief but then in a journey of discovery. 

Sometimes when you open the door to your mother's past you find your own future.

Winter Garden is an exquisite blend; harrowing historical fiction, love story and family saga, Kristin Hannah explores complex relationships with intimate knowledge and ties the whole package together with haunting, breathtaking intricacy.

Susan Erickson's narration was phenomenal, her Russian accents brought the story to life, I was completely spellbound, and often overwhelmed with emotion (keep the tissue box handy.)

From current day to war torn Leningrad during WWII, the dual time frame is seamlessly woven into the fabric of a Russian fairytale. I was moved beyond words at the starvation, horror and death of so many during the Seige of Leningrad.  This is truly a story I won't forget.

Recommend: An emphatic yes!! What are you waiting for??

Want to know more about Kristin Hannah and her work? ... check out her website






24 comments:

  1. With an enthusiastic review like this - no choice but to put it on my TBR. Thanks,.

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    1. Hope you love it as much as I did :)

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  2. I never heard of this author or this book before, but I love that it got so much going on in it. There's historical fiction, love and family. ;) Great review.

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    1. Thanks Nina, hope you get to try her work soon, I haven't read a dud book yet :)

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  3. Wow!!! This sounds wonderful!!! need to read this one!!

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  4. I love her but haven't tried this one yet, definitely a must.

    Do you have a favourite by her? Mine is Night Road

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    1. This one and Magic Hour are my faves so far Marce, hoping to get to Night Road soon, I'm just working my way through her books :)

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  5. I absolutely LOVED this book! I am in a book club and picked it last year. This book won "Book of the Year" in our book club. Such a great book. Your review was wonderful!

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    1. Thanks so much, when you love a book you hope you can convey how much in a review. I'm not surprised it was your book club book of the year ... a well deserved honour :)

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  6. I have never tried her but she sure is popular at the library

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    1. I'v read 4 or 5 Blodeuedd and enjoyed them all but 2 standouts so far, this one and Magic Hour.

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  7. I loved this one too and am amazed that Susan did such a great job reading as she is Eve and Roark to me!

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    1. Now that makes me want to get back to the In Death series, I've never listened to them. Susan is obviously a talented narrator :)

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  8. I am pretty sure that I am going to love Kristin Hannah's books if I ever get around to trying them!

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  9. You totally sold me on this one!! I think I will buy it on audible.com right now!!! I liked her book that I read last year and your reviews are always fantastic so I just know that I will totally enjoy this one!

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    1. I just bought it...keep the great reviews coming!!!

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    2. YAY Staci now hurry up and listen to it, can't wait to see what you think

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  10. Oooh oooh, I want to read this one so bad. But I can't request it. I can't darn it! You know I'm on a self imposed library ban!! ;)

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    1. LOL Jennifer, this one is worth breaking the ban for, I promise!!

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  11. I still haven't read this author but I think I might have this one on my shelf somewhere! Dysfunctional families can make for soem good reading.

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    1. Hope it's just as good reading as it is on audio Stacy!

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  12. I love stories featuring sisters as well as having a desire to learn more about Russia during WWII so this book has several topics piquing my interest. Thanks for sharing!

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