Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

From Goodreads: Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

I have mixed feelings about this one. It was one of those that has two story lines running - one in the present and another historical. The first half of the book, the contemporary characters were completely unlikeable. As the book progresses and more is revealed, you start to understand them but I never got past my initial distaste in order to appreciate them. The other storyline, the historical one is initially told as a fairy tale; that was inventive, I have never seen that before. I enjoyed this part of the book quite a bit. Set in Russia during the first World War, this story was compelling and heart breaking, I cried for those characters.

This works for the following challenges -
I am trying to reach 100 books this year - I've never done it before although I have come very close, click on the logo to see how I am doing for this year!

Click on the logo to see my progress towards the 2012 A to Z Reading Challenge hosted by Strawberry Splash Reviews.


lsl_scrapper said...

I'm really sorry you didn't enjoy this more. I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. I do have to agree, that at least at the beginning, the sisters are not very likable. I loved the fairy tale though, and because interested in learning more about Russian history by reading this book.
You can read my review here at Goodreads if you are interested.

Jenny said...

I have been on the fence about reading this one. I like Kristin Hannah, but everything I have seen about this one has been mostly negative. Thanks for the honest review.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I have this one in my TBR bookcase, having picked it up after reading Night Road (which I loved). I'm hoping that my own distaste for the sisters (and I'm pretty certain that I won't like them either) won't ruin my enjoyment of the novel.