This last week we actually got snow in South Carolina! In fact we received one of the top five snowiest days of all time in Columbia, SC where I live. So what better time to indulge in Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I was very excited to read Hannah’s newest since I really enjoyed her last novel True Colors and Firefly Lane. However I could not be more surprised by her newest work. It enveloped me and affected me deeply as a new mother.
In Winter Garden I found a depth of emotion and intensity I have never seen before in Hannah’s work. A blend of historical fiction, familial strife and ultimately a story of love in all it’s forms, this novel has it all. The power to create laughter and the power to create tears all rolled into one amazing journey. Staying true to her dedication to the relationships of her female main characters, Hannah leads off with the story of two sisters who could not be more different and yet still the same in their lifetime long need of love from their ever distant Russian born mother. Nina is glob trotting photojournalist who leads a life of danger in order to forget a barren childhood while Meredith is the “perfect” daughter who has dedicated her life to the care of her family even those members who may not have cared for her when she needed it most. Caught in the middle is Anya, the mother who never mothered her children despite an undying love for their father. However upon the death of their father everything must change. Their mother must be taken care of and acknowledged. Promises are made and truths must be revealed. Spanning from old world Russia to the magic of modern day Alaska, Winter Garden creates a world of mythical fairy tales, the heartbreaking pain of loss and the truth that love always endures. A wonderful story of life in all it’s glory and horror, Winter Garden is a must read. A story you will not soon forget.