The Four Winds Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on February 2, 2021
Source: Library Auidobook
Genres: Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Women
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"The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times
"A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women."—People
"Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind." —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing
From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.
“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”
Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.
By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.
The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.
The book is moving and quite a saga. It has echoes of John Steinbeck’s books The Grapes of Wrath and Mice and Men but, also, in Elsa Martinelli’s bravery and spirit and love of the land, echoes too of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the wind and her passion of Tara. Still, it is also unique because I knew next to nothing of the hardships suffered by the people of The Great Plains, the poverty and problems endured by migrant workers escaping the dust bowl and heading to California in the depression era of the 1930s. The droughts, the despair, the millions heading West to California for a better life proved near impossible to find, and how hungry, homeless, and helpless those lives became as the migrants became trapped in a spiral of poverty, debt and despair.
The story of these migrants classed as Okies and their extreme suffering is depicted movingly in beautiful prose that makes you weep for their plight.