The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Rating:           9

General Rating: Crawled out from under my rock this week and read my first Kristin Hannah book. (Don’t judge.) Steinbeck would be proud. Of Hannah, not me.

This novel is of “Grapes of Wrath” caliber. Over 170,000 Wind reviews versus 19,000 Grape reviews, both garnering over 70% 5-star reviews.

Skip factor:  2%. Only because I’m not a fan of settings, especially historical.

Who should read:   Any woman who likes The Grapes of Wrath or historical fiction and anyone who feels remotely sorry for themselves. (This will cure that.)


This is not an easy read. It’s heart-wrenching at times. The Four Winds follows one woman’s journey through the devastating drought of the Great Plains in the 1930s.

When Elsa Wolcott finds herself pregnant and unmarried at age 25, her parents drop her off at the father of the child’s house. Because the boy is Italian, her family disowns her.

Rafe, the father, is an only child. Though kind-hearted, he is spoiled, a dreamer. He marries Elsa but eventually leaves, and she’s forced to raise their two children with his parents, Tony and Rose Martinelli. Living with Tony and Rose, Elsa learns to farm and, for the first time in her life, feels loved. When the draught becomes too much for one of her children’s damaged lungs, however, Elsa must move away from them.

She heads to California, alone for the first time in her life, a single mother with two children depending on her.

This is the story of the underserved, the hard-working poor who scoured the country searching for jobs, mothers who didn’t know where their children’s next meal would come from. It’s a story of unfairness and devastation. Of faith and perseverance.

Writing:  This reads like a classic. The character development is realistic. Elsa’s demureness will astound (and at times infuriate) you. Loreda’s fire will win your heart, and you will fall in love with Ant, Tony, Rose,  and Jack.

Hard to read, but fabulous.

Read this author again?  Yes! Ordered The Magic Hour. And people are saying hurry and read The Nightingale and The Great Alone.

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Read on!


CJ Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, a psychological thriller; psychic thrillers Dream Wide AwakeProject Dream, and The Dream Diaries; and Chick Lit novels Friends Who Move Couches and Don’t Mind Me, I Came with the House. Zahner’s dream series novels were inspired by first-hand experiences. See the video of her 9/11 premonition  here. Download her Beyond Reality Radio podcast here. Follow her on InstagramTwitterFacebookGoodreadsBookBub, or LinkedIn. Purchase her books on Amazon.