JavaScript must be enabled on your browser for this PAC to work properly.

East Albemarle Reqional Library
Home Calendar Web Links Locations & Hours What We Do Who We Are
Search our Catalog:  

Search |  Browse |  Advanced  |  Help  | My Account

Book on CD | DVD


"The Four Winds"

by Kristin Hannah

Kirkus The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family. “Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going.” We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractive—“too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself”—Elsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichéd emotions. For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Elsa Wolcott was stricken with rheumatic fever at 14 and was subsequently sheltered by her parents. Skinny, unusually tall, and thought to be too fragile to engage in routine activities, she had only books as her companions. She turns 25 in 1921; her family sees her as an unattractive spinster. When Elsa boldly escapes the confines of her home seeking excitement, she meets a young Italian man named Rafe Martinelli, which alters her path. Soon, she is living on a wheat farm in the Texas Panhandle, embracing her new life. This exquisite novel follows Elsa through nearly two decades of hardship, including the Dust Bowl, droughts, the Great Depression, migrant farming in California, and a devastating flood. VERDICT Through Elsa's eyes, readers travel through the Great Depression era and experience firsthand the difficulties faced in the Great Plains. Historical fiction readers will become immersed in this poignant story by Hannah (The Nightingale; The Great Alone) and will enjoy witnessing Elsa's transformation from fragile, insecure girl to fearless, resilient woman.—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list With this emotionally charged epic of Dust Bowl-era Texas and its dramatic aftermath, the prolific Hannah has added another outstanding novel to her popular repertoire. In 1921, Elsa Wolcott is a tall, bookish woman of 25 whose soul is stifled by her superficial parents. By 1934, after marrying Rafe Martinelli, a young Italian Catholic who was the first man to show her affection, Elsa is a mother of two who has found a home on her beloved in-laws’ farm. Severe drought and terrible dust storms affect everyone in this proud family, and they are all forced to make tough choices. This wide-ranging saga ticks all the boxes for deeply satisfying historical fiction. Elsa is an achingly real character whose sense of self-worth slowly emerges through trying circumstances, and her shifting relationship with her rebellious daughter, Loreda, is particularly moving. Hannah brings the impact of the environmental devastation on the Great Plains down to a personal level with ample period-appropriate details and reactions, showing how people’s love for their land made them reluctant to leave. The storytelling is propulsive, and the contemporary relevance of the novel’s themes—among them, how outsiders are unfairly blamed for economic inequalities—provides additional depth in this rich, rewarding read about family ties, perseverance, and women’s friendships and fortitude.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hannah is a consistent best-seller, and this sharply relevant tale of a past catastrophic time will exert a particularly strong magnetic force.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Hannah (The Great Alone) brings Dust Bowl migration to life in this riveting story of love, courage, and sacrifice. In 1934 Texas, after four years of drought, the Martinelli farm is no longer thriving, but Elsa is attached to the land and her in-laws, and she works tirelessly and cares for her children, 12-year-old Loreda and seven-year-old Anthony. Her husband, Rafe, has become distant and something of a hard drinker, and after he abandons them, Elsa reluctantly leaves with her children for California with the promise of steady work. Her dreams of a better future are interrupted by the discrimination they face in the unwelcoming town of Welty, where they are forced to live in a migrant camp and work for extremely low wages picking cotton. When Elsa’s meager wages are further reduced and she has the opportunity to join striking workers, she must decide whether to face the dangers of standing up for herself and her fellow workers. Hannah combines gritty realism with emotionally rich characters and lyrical prose that rings brightly and true from the first line (“Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love”). In Elsa, a woman who fiercely defends her principles and those she loves, Hannah brilliantly revives the ghost of Tom Joad. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus The miseries of the Depression and Dust Bowl years shape the destiny of a Texas family.Hope is a coin I carry: an American penny, given to me by a man I came to love. There were times in my journey when I felt as if that penny and the hope it represented were the only things that kept me going. We meet Elsa Wolcott in Dalhart, Texas, in 1921, on the eve of her 25th birthday, and wind up with her in California in 1936 in a saga of almost unrelieved woe. Despised by her shallow parents and sisters for being sickly and unattractivetoo tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herselfElsa escapes their cruelty when a single night of abandon leads to pregnancy and forced marriage to the son of Italian immigrant farmers. Though she finds some joy working the land, tending the animals, and learning her way around Mama Rose's kitchen, her marriage is never happy, the pleasures of early motherhood are brief, and soon the disastrous droughts of the 1930s drive all the farmers of the area to despair and starvation. Elsa's search for a better life for her children takes them out west to California, where things turn out to be even worse. While she never overcomes her low self-esteem about her looks, Elsa displays an iron core of character and courage as she faces dust storms, floods, hunger riots, homelessness, poverty, the misery of migrant labor, bigotry, union busting, violent goons, and more. The pedantic aims of the novel are hard to ignore as Hannah embodies her history lesson in what feels like a series of sepia-toned postcards depicting melodramatic scenes and clichd emotions.For devoted Hannah fans in search of a good cry. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Go to Kid's Catalog Web  
 Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC) Library Home Top of Page