by: Kristin Hannah
Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.
In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. 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.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
I’ll admit, I never read Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (the horror). Reading The Four Winds was a great history lesson for me. I learned so much about the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the plight of the American farmer. I can’t believe such poverty existed in the United States. Elsa Martinelli, the stoic main character of this book, tried to stay positive in an uncontrollable situation. (I pictured Lady Edith from Downton Abbey as Elsa- to give you a visual). I guess my takeaway from this book was: Farm workers (fellow Americans) were treated like garbage! Weather patterns happen. I am not as worried about global warming anymore.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
Another really enjoyable read this month. Talk about hardship – wow! This is a wonderful and difficult story about family, love, motherhood, friendships, and perseverance during a time of unbelievable poverty during the Dust Bowl migration as Elsa and her children leave Texas and travel to California hoping for a better life, only to be met with discrimination and adversity. Strong and amazing characters that you will take to heart and rout for their success, and at times, simply their survival. Hannah’s description of the arrival of the dust storms is frightening – much more tornado than hurricane-like, and each time they come up, you will cringe. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl took place in the 1930’s, not so long ago. I think that part of Hannah’s message, in addition to wonderful story-telling about this period in American history is that we can all be victims of great misfortune at any time, how will we take care of each other?