The Four Winds
“Life is tough. You need to be tougher, or it will turn you inside out.”
—from The Four Winds
American author Kristin Hannah’s 24th novel opens in rural Texas in the early 1920s. Elsa Wolcott, a 25-year-old spinster and eldest daughter of an indifferent, uncaring, middle-class family, is cast out when she defiantly marries a man she hardly knows —the enigmatic Rafe Martinelli. Rafe grows increasingly resentful of his lost independence. Rather than tolerate an unhappy marriage, Elsa finds happiness in her two young children and the farm on which she lives with her caring in-laws. Then the Great Depression hits. The farm lies in the hard-hit region of northwest Texas, the heart of the Dust Bowl. Caught up by poverty and drought, Elsa packs up and heads to California, “the land of milk and honey,” only to encounter deeper poverty and utter desperation.
“The schools and hospitals were overrun, they said, unable to survive the demands of so many outsiders. They worried about bankruptcy and losing their way of life and being made unsafe by the wave of crime and disease they blamed on migrants,” Elsa said.
This is a story of a debilitated nation’s struggle against ignorance and want—and one woman’s determination to triumph overall.
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (February 2, 2021)
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- NY Times Best Seller List