on February 2nd 2010
Genres: Historical Fiction
From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past.
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 famus 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.
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah takes patience, 150 pages of patience. Although, I plugged on because I could tell the book had potential. In reality, I had to wade through a lot of bullshit from Anya’s daughters Meredith and Nina to get to the good stuff. Anya’s story, the truth behind her fairy tale was heartwrenching.
Impressions While Reading
Kristin Hannah is a good writer. She can easily spin words and creates a picture that is easy to imagine. The problem was the lack of imagination and originality to the storyline, particularly since Winter Garden held promise. It would have been better if Kristen Hannah had stayed in the past rather than flip-flopping to the present. Winter Garden was reminiscent of Sophie’s Choice but not as well done. There was something missing, a warmth to evoke emotion never came. Instead I felt forced into sympathy rather than it being earned.
I desperately hoped that the ending would save Winter Garden, instead I received a predictable Hallmarkesque conclusion that left me frustrated and hanging my head with regret for lost time.
Overall, Winter Garden did keep me reading but it was a recycled plot that led to disappointment and a contrite ending.