What I’ve been reading lately: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Hey there! It’s been a while so I thought it would be a good time for another book review. This year I made a goal of reading 25 books this year; Winter Garden was #15. I was recommended this book by a family member based on other books I’ve read. I enjoy reading books that have some sort of historical context. 

What is Winter Garden about? 

This book takes place during the early 2000s in Washington on the Whitson family apple orchard. Some of the main characters are Evan Whitson (father), Anya Whitson (mother), Meredith Cooper (oldest daughter), Nina Whitson (youngest daughter), and Jeff Cooper (Meredith’s husband). As adults, Meredith stayed home and helped her father run the orchard and Nina traveled the world as an award-winning photojournalist. The two sisters are complete opposites. As children, Nina and Meredith had a strained relationship with their cold and distant Russian mother. The only time they felt any connection to her was when she would tell her Russian fairy tales. 

When their father becomes sick the family is reunited and on his deathbed he makes each of the girls make a promise to get to know their mother. 

Months after his death Nina comes back to the orchard to spread her father’s ashes and she decides to not take no for an answer and keep her promise to her father and insists her mother tell her the fairy tale The Peasant Girl and The Prince which brings a whole new light of their mother’s life and why she was always so cold and distant. 

3 Things I liked about Winter Garden 

  1. You never knew what was going to happen next.
    1. Personally, I think this is mainly because even though I enjoy American history I know very little about the World Wars outside of what was taught in my world history class in high school. 
  2. I loved the dual storylines throughout the book.
    1. It’s not a true dual storyline exactly because one storyline is what’s happening and the other is the fairy tale Anya is telling. 
  3. The writing was absolutely captivating.
    1. How Kristin Hannah describes the characters, their emotions, and the settings gave a clear picture of the story to your mind’s eye. 

Things I didn’t like about Winter Garden: 

  1. Russian names are hard
    1. This is totally a personal thing. I’ve always had a hard time with anything besides American English names. 
  2. Parts of this book are heavy.
    1. I like to read to escape the stresses of day-to-day life and parts of this book take place during battles in World War II.  When I would read before bed sometimes I would have to stop reading and do something else to ensure I wouldn’t dream about the book. 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely yes! It’s captivating and insightful. I completed this book in 24 days. As a mother, it puts being a parent in perspective. Also, I enjoyed the audio version of this book as well. Because I subscribe to kindle unlimited, I was able to read when I could but also listen while I was driving or doing something else. 

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading next!

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