Sunday, August 01, 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is an engrossing novel that felt like it could be a nonfiction account. 

Hannah tells the story of Elsa Wolcott, who in 1920s Central Texas was pregnant and cast out by her parents, joining with what would turn out to be a abandoning husband and father in Rafe Martinelli and his saint-like parents Tony and Rose. 

By 1934, the Martinelli family farm was barely producing crops as drought and dust storms ravaged the land and created enormous poverty, along with health problems for Elsa's son Anthony. She takes he and his sister Loreda to California in search of a better life and is met there by the continued Great Depression and xenophobia against migrants from the Dust Bowl. The story that Hannah tells set in the San Joaquin Valley continues to be a captivating one as Elsa fights to keep her children sheltered and fed in a harsh and unforgiving environment stacked against migrant workers not in a position of power. 

It's an excellent book that provides a story that seems taken straight from history and shows one woman's fight for her family and the importance of caring about one another in the face of hardships. The tale that Hannah eloquently writes is of a time and events that should be remembered and she notes her website containing a suggested reading list about the Dust Bowl years and migrant experience in California.