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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
#1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER
#1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
#1 INDIE BESTSELLER
"The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times
"A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women."—People
"Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind." —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing
From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.
“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”
Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.
By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.
The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.
A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press
"Julia Whelan is herself a master storyteller because it’s absolute magic how she brings this novel to life for listeners. Her emotional rendering will bring tears and laughter and she portrays every character perfectly, men women and children...Have the tissues close when you put those earbuds in." -- Reading Franzy
"With forceful narrative drive, Whelan delivers a compelling performance of Hannah's memorable new novel." -- AudioFile Magazine
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Kristin Hannah witnessed the impact of The Nightingale—her bestseller about two sisters resisting tyranny in Nazi-occupied France—she realized she wanted to write a work of historical fiction that was deeply American. The result is this sweeping story about a family’s trials and tribulations during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl years. Even before she gets pregnant by a man who doesn’t truly love her, Elsa Martinelli has a harsh, sad life. But once married, Elsa finds comfort with her in-laws: Italian immigrants and Texas wheat farmers who share with her their loyalty to family and the land. But when life on the farm becomes unbearable, Elsa and her two children head to California in search of a better future. Hannah puts her heroine through the wringer, but in the process she maps Elsa’s journey to find her confidence and voice. The Four Winds is an immersive listen—award-winning narrator Julia Whelan offers a commanding performance, elevating the cinematic historical detail, wrenching drama, and moving portrayals of friendship and love. It reminds us, says Hannah, that “so many of the things we’re going through now are things that we have gone through before. It’s always the struggle between the haves and the have-nots in the world… The important thing is to remember kindness and the concept of justice.”