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Winter Garden
Winter Garden
Author: Kristin Hannah
Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn't know her mother?  — 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 fal...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780312663155
ISBN-10: 0312663153
Publication Date: 1/4/2011
Pages: 400
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 204 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Winter Garden on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
4.0 out of 5 stars "How can a woman know herself, if she doesn't really know her mother?", May 5, 2011

This was a very interesting and emotionally involving story that moved from a present day setting backward in time to Leningrad, Russia, during the siege of that city during WW II.

Middle aged sisters Meredith and Nina have had a very unhappy and unsatisfying relationship with their cold and reserved Russian mother, Anya. They both have spent years trying to reach her and to earn her love, but neither has been able to breech the barrier that has kept her estranged from them. They know nothing about her past, which seems to limit them in their own ability to fully live their lives and to develop good relationships with those they care about. Meredith is the super obsessive older sister who stayed behind to help her parents run their orchard; she uses chores and activities to avoid thinking about why she has never done what she wanted. Nina left the family behind to become a globetrotting photojournalist with no permanent ties and no need to settle down anywhere with anyone. The girls reunite at the family home when their beloved father, Evan, dies and leaves them devastated and alone with the stranger who is their mother.

Through a series of stories told to the girls by their mother -- at first in fairy-tale fashion -- Meredith and Nina discover that their mother has a past that she has tried to escape by never speaking of it. She tells of the horrors of living and trying to survive in war-torn Leningrad during World War II and the subsequent sacrifices she had to make in order to live. The girls finally find out who their mother is and why she is the way she is.

This is a very touching but horrible story that will keep the reader turning the pages until the stunning revelation at the end. This is a book that does more than entertain - it will make the reader think and feel and want to go hug their loved ones. A book like this can change and affect a reader long after the last words have been read. I recommend it.
reviewed Winter Garden on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Having just finished this book, I'm still reeling a bit at the impact the story had on me. I'm afraid that no words I can conjure can do this story justice.

As another reviewer said, it's the story of two adult daughters getting to know their emotionally distant mother after the death of their father. To say more than that would divulge too much of the story, and the reader deserves to experience that themselves.

Suffice it to say it's a story within a story within a story. There are many depths to it, written beautifully.... Some of it glorious and some absolutely tragic. It's a story of the suffering of the body and the triumph of the soul and there's a message in it for all of us.

I HIGHLY recommend this read.
reviewed Winter Garden on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
My love affair with Kristin Hannah began with Firefly Lane. I have since read a few others, and by far, Winter Garden is my favorite.
Winter Garden is the story of 2 estranged daughters who return home to care for their "cold and indifferent" mother, after the death of their beloved father. On his deathbed, Meridith promises her father to take care of her mother, and Nina promises to get the mother to finish "the fairytale" she told them when they were small. Neither girls feel they will be able to honor his wishes.
A masterful story within a story, as the girls try to fullfill their promises, they learn about their mother, and hence themselves.
What results is a gripping read. Though a little slow at first, eventually I couldn't put it down.
Best book I've read in a long time. Highly recommend!!
reviewed Winter Garden on
Helpful Score: 3
A great read, each of the characters are unique and has their own interesting story. Coming together as a family was a struggle but very much worth the effort. The ending was wonderful, and so unpredictable. This has become one of my all time favorite books. I belong to a book club and will be recommending it at our next meeting.
reviewed Winter Garden on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a life changing book. It was very difficult to put it down. Kristin Hannah has a way to pull you into the lives of her characters and she excelled in the Winter Garden. I am amazed how I miss the characters. It is well worth the time to read, you wont be disappointed.
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reviewed Winter Garden on
This book is one of my all time favorite books. It's completely moving, emotional, and stirs up so many feelings. It's is a must read.
reviewed Winter Garden on + 17 more book reviews
Beautiful heart rending story of a mothers love and loss. A story within a story spaning 70 years detailing a young mother and how she deals with heart breaking loss.
reviewed Winter Garden on + 5 more book reviews
A little slow going at first, but I stayed with it and it got better and the even better. I would recommend this. Kristin Hannah's books are great!