This book is reviewed by Vidula. To see more of Vidula's reviews please visit her Instagram page.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah takes place during the Dust Bowl and focuses on Elsa Martinelli, who is fighting to save her family farm and her crumbling marriage. As their situation grows bleak, she is forced to make a choice: stay behind and save her beloved farm, or go west in hopes of finding a better life for her children. Right from the start, I felt connected to Elsa; her love of reading and insecurities about her appearance made her very relatable. Because of that, I felt like I had an emotional stake in the story. Aside from developing individual characters, the author did a great job portraying the various relationships between people, such as Elsa and her children. Seeing how much a mother would risk for her kids was heartwarming, and watching the children learn to appreciate their mother made for an interesting character arc. The story itself wasn’t action packed, but the writing style was so beautiful that it didn’t matter; the descriptions of both the fertile land and the bleakness of the Dust Bowl were extremely vivid and poignant. I’ve learned about the Dust Bowl in history before, but reading an individual story really opened my eyes to the suffering it caused. Finally, I loved the themes in this book, such as the relationship between parents and children, the true meaning of love, and learning to fight for what you deserve. There were many layers to the story, from individual to familial to national, and that created a nuanced narrative. My only criticism for this book is that the ending felt a bit sudden; I feel like I didn’t have time to process what was going on before the book ended. But overall, this was a really well written historical fiction novel, and the writing style was reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books, which I loved when I was younger. I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. I would give this one a 9.5/10!