Second Tuesday Book Club will meet in person from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, in the program room at Schimelpfenig Library for our last meeting this year, to discuss The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah’s newest novel. We will observe social distancing, with face coverings recommended. Please email Cathe Spencer at email@example.com if you have questions or comments. See you at Schimelpfenig Library next week.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
“Hope is a coin I carry. An American penny given to me by a man I came to love. There were times when it felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going…We women of the Great Plains worked from sunup to sundown, toiled on wheat farms until we were as dry and baked as the land we loved. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I swear I can still taste the dust.“
Outside Dalhart, Texas, in the drought-plagued years of the nineteen-thirties, the Martinellis and their neighbors struggle to survive. Without rain, crops and livestock are lost and once-prosperous communities fight a desperate battle against economic depression and relentless dust. Elsa Martinelli is forced to make an agonizing decision–stay on the farm she has grown to love, or move west with her children in search of a new beginning.
In an interview with the author in the New York Times, Elisabeth Egan notes that “The Four Winds [written in 2020] seems eerily prescient with its Depression-era tale of blighted land, xenophobia, fear of contagion — and determination to join forces and rebuild. 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.” Kristin Hannah comments that she “wanted to tell a quintessentially American story. The Dust Bowl was the greatest ecological disaster in American history and that, combined with the partisan divide of the Great Depression, really spoke to me… I’m devoted to putting women in the forefront of historical stories. To telling women’s stories.”
Booklist describes The Four Winds as “deeply satisfying historical fiction, calling Elsa “an achingly real character,” and the book “propulsive storytelling … and a rich, rewarding read.”
In naming the novel its Book of the Week, People magazine praises The Four Winds as “a spectacular tour de force of survival that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women.”
Kristin Hannah was born in California in 1960, and is a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Puget Sound Law School. She practiced law for several years and publishing her first novel, A Handful of Heaven, in 1991. She now writes full-time, and is the author of 24 novels, including The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and Firefly Lane.
She lives with her family on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and is the mother of an adult son. Her website is here, and her social media presence includes Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.