Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family business; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged sisters will find themselves together again, standing alongside their disapproving mother, Anya, who even now offers no comfort to her daughters. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise: Anya will tell her daughters a story; it is one she began years ago and never finished. This time she will tell it all the way to the end.The tale their mother tells them is unlike anything they’ve heard before—a captivating, mysterious love story that spans more than sixty years and moves from frozen, war-torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. Nina’s obsession to uncover the truth will send them all on an unexpected journey into their mother’s past, where they will discover a secret so shocking, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.Mesmerizing from beginning to end, Winter Garden is that rarest of novels—at once an epic love story and an intimate portrait of women poised at the crossroads of their lives. Evocative, lyrically written, and ultimately uplifting, it will haunt the listener long after the last word is spoken.
Kristin Hannah was born in September 1960 in Southern California. At eight years old, her family moved to Western Washington. Kristin decided to become a lawyer and attended law school in Washington. While in her third-and final-year of law school, Kristin’s mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. Always knowing that her daughter was meant to be a writer, Kristin and her mother collaborated on a novel. After her mom's death, she packed up all those bits and pieces of paper and research they'd collected and put them in a box in the back of her closet. Kristin got married and continued practicing law.
Then, Kristin found out she was pregnant and was on bed rest for five months. It was during that time that her husband reminded her of the book she'd started with her mom. Kristin pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time their son was born, she'd finished a first draft and found an obsession.
After many rejections, Kristin finally got "the call," and in that moment, she went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and has never looked back. In all the years between then and now, she has never lost her love of, or her enthusiasm for, telling stories. Kristin feels truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together.
This is the best book I have read in quite some time. I love Kristin Hannah, and picked up this book without more than a cursory glance at the back cover. I was totally hooked within a few pages and could not put it down. The characters are so real, you feel like part o fthe story. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot, and something very unexpected toward the end. I loved it and wish there was a whole series of books with these characters.
Loved it. Not usually a mystery fan, I really enjoyed the surprises in this book. Since I have friends whose parents endured some of the hardships told about in this story, it was especially interesting to me. Have recommended to several of my reading friends. Would certainly say excellent.
I was drawn to this novel for the interplay between past and present, and the idea of a fairytale motif masking a darker story. These elements kept me engaged, but the novel felt uneven. Several of the plot developments in the modernday story bordered too far on the melodramatic, and the fairy tale dragged on to the point of feeling heavyhanded. The sincerity of some of the quieter family moments and vivid, engrossing descriptions of Leningrad during the war were the novels greatest strengths. I wouldnt discourage anyone from reading this book, but I wont be itching to recommend it, either.