Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Updated: Apr 10
★★★★ (Mama Scale)
As Meredith and Nina seek to fulfill the dying wish of their father, they come to learn they have more in common with their cold and disapproving mother than they've ever known before.
Kristin (freaking) Hannah does it again! This is the third book of hers I've LOVED and I'm starting to wonder why it's taken me so long to binge-read every. single. book. of. hers.
OK... all fan-girling aside (well, mostly aside... haha), Kristin Hannah's WINTER GARDEN is a beautiful novel about the importance of storytelling and the power it has in transforming and translating love.
WHAT I LOVED: I loved loved loved Hannah's unique spin on narrative with a big section of the book being told as a Russian fairy-tale. While I was annoyed at first about the historical piece of this book being solely within this whimsical bedtime story, when the reason for this tale clicked, I was, ultimately, won over. In short, this approach of discovering history from the lens of story isn't new (duh, fiction!) but a story within a story? So unique and so well done!
Meredith and Nina's characters were also a major highlight for me. Primarily Meredith's gumption and Nina's adventurous spirit. They were uniquely different, yet intimately connected. As usual, Kristin Hannah's stories always make me consider how much I truly appreciate, and sometimes really don't know, my own family.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE: In the end, this wasn't as comprehensive of a fictional account of the Battle of Leningrad as I had envisioned it to be in the beginning. Which is a natural consequence of choosing to tell the story the way Hannah chose to do. In addition, I really struggled through Meredith and Nina's father's death. The amount of time and detail Hannah put into describing the whole scene of his dying was a lot to take in. It was an important aspect to the story, for sure, but I think in the end the same sentiment could've been portrayed in less time.
Overall, a beautiful reminder that the bonds of family go deeper than we may realize, and it is never too late to ask someone to tell their story.
For sure! If you love historical fiction or family-driven drama, this one is for you! Also, the audiobook production of this book was well-done: ★★★★.5!
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