Title: Winter Garden
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction
“To lose love is a terrible thing. But to turn away from it is unbearable. Will you spend the rest of your life replaying it in your head? Wondering if you walked away too soon or too easily? Or if you’ll ever love anyone that deeply again?”
WOW I don’t know even where to start. A good book will suck you in and make you feel as if you are walking the very same streets and facing the same obstacles as the very characters experiencing them. I literally didn’t want to put this book down once I picked it up. I don’t recommend reading without a box of tissues nearby though. It’s a story about 3 women dealing with the aftermath of their beloved husband/father. Anya never had a close relationship with her daughters and even when they were young their best memory of her was when she told them “fairy-tales” about a peasant woman and a prince from Russia. Growing up, Meredith begged for her mother’s attention and affection any way she could. As an adult, she has hardened herself against her mother in an attempt to protect her heart. Nina on the other hand was the more wild and free-spirited of the two sisters. She has no problem saying what should be done in situations, but lacks the follow-through to take care of them on her own.
On his deathbed their father tells the girls that they need to make sure that they make their mother tell them the “whole fairy tale.” In their 40’s and with lives of their own, the girls don’t fully grasp the importance of listening to what their mother doesn’t want to share. Eventually Anya starts telling her daughters the story. After a while it becomes clear that it’s not just a fairy-tale. Bouncing between the past and the present, Anya slowly shares a history so painful she has detached herself from it to survive. It’s a story of love, loss, hunger, survival, desperation, and new beginnings. I can’t warn you enough to have your tissue box nearby.
I won this book from a giveaway from goodreads for an honest review.
Age Appropriateness: Once again, being a WWII historical fiction there are themes and situations that may be disturbing to younger readers. Plus over 400 pages long, it’s a bit of a commitment. Although there is a bit of romance involved, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a romance novel. It’s more about a family in wartime and the generational effects. Due to general reading level I would recommend for 13 and up, but should say an 11 or 12-year-old say they want to read it I wouldn’t see a problem given the understanding that it is WWII and therefore has some content that can be upsetting.