Kristin Hannah's books are ones that I read as soon as my library gets them. They are good women's fiction reads and of course, I like some better than others, but am usually not disappointed.
Winter Garden, Hannah's book that was published in 2010, is one that I have been meaning to read for almost an entire year...coming with rave reviews from friends who had already read it. Because I own this one, it was much easier to just let this one sit on my TBR pile with no library due date moving things along.
My friends gushed about this one, and I would agree.
Meredith, the older sister, is the dutiful daughter- working for her family's orchard business, helping to take care of her aging parents. Although her marriage is having difficulties, to outsiders it appears she has it all. Nina, the impetuous younger sister is a globe-trotting photographer, unable to commit to her boyfriend, coming home only for short visits.
Neither Meredith nor Nina is close to their mother, despite spending a lifetime of trying to earn her love. They know little about her past, and recall the one time in their childhood when they felt close to their mom - when she shared fairy tales with them.
With their father's death the two sisters disagree about how their mother should be cared for. Nina returns home intent to fulfill her father's wishes and have their mother tell them her fairy tales again -this time in their entirety. Both girls find the fairy tales interesting, and begin to question even more about their mother and what happened to her in her Russian childhood.
Typically I would be the type of reader to skim over the fairy tale portions of this novel. A friend of mine did warn me not to do that, and as I read, I am wondering how any reader could skim through that much of Winter Garden. Although the fairy tale starts out as a typical fairy tale, it becomes obvious that this "fairy tale" is not just a story, but is in fact the story of Nina and Meredith's mother's life before she came to the United States. It is such a heartbreaking story, and it includes information about a time of life in Russia that I had not known much of.
Hannah's newest book will be out shortly and I am happy I finished this one just in time to pick up another of her wonderful women's fiction stories.