The Four Winds - Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds

By Kristin Hannah

  • Release Date: 2021-02-02
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4.5
From 10,387 Ratings


"The Bestselling Hardcover Novel of the Year."--Publishers Weekly

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.


  • Great read.

    By Emsue714
    A beautiful reminder that a mother will do whatever it takes to
  • Beautiful. Tragic. Inspiring.

    By BukgEk611
    All I can think is how history keeps repeating itself. Our human struggles are many; I hope there’s still happy endings to come for Americans.
  • Honest, Gritty, and Real

    By Konakayaklady
    This is a heartfelt and well-researched novel about life and love in the Dust Bowl.
  • Depressing

    By kquilter9
    Well written but very depressing.
  • Amazing

    By DehSoNice
    I was rooting for Elsa the entire time. The timeline of this book is great, it doesn’t drag on at all. I won’t give anything away, but I wanted more for her and her family. I think it still turned out great, I just wish Elsa found her voice sooner. She had SO much to offer.
  • Four winds

    By LAF, Seattle
    Just an absolutely wonderful book.
  • Best book I’ve read this year !

    By ChRiStiIna8899
    I’m behind on this one it’s old I know but what a inspirational great story.
  • The Four Winds

    By KathyP58
    Once I started I could not put it down! Great read!
  • I mean, awesome

    By r18pax
    Kristin Hannah does it again
  • Loved this book! 5 stars!

    By KThugs3
    I absolutely loved this book so much! I loved almost every character at the start of the book. With Kristin’s writing, I had even loved Rafe, who turned out to not be the greatest husband/father in the world. I knew that the dust bowl, following the stock market crash, and leading to the Great Depression, was extremely hard times. I guess since I have lived through difficult times and stock market crashes myself, I didn’t really imagine or put myself into the shoes of those people of the Great Plains who were destroyed by the dust bowl storms. This book made me laugh, cry, feel curious enough to research and read up more, as well as inspire me, and reminding me how grateful I am to live in todays times. I have read quite a few books so far this year, and I think this might be my favorite of the 20ish ones from my 2023 list. Also, Elsa Martinelli is my hero!