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Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden (2010)

by Kristin Hannah

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Recently added byprivate library, tennwisc, sdoster3, Ghostly1, lrigge, Jenna.Czaplewski, Astrella, lkasserman
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    Ugly Ways by Tina McElroy Ansa (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books feature a mother who pays more attention to her garden than she does to her adult children.

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This was only the second Kristin Hannah book I've read, but I'm really a fan of hers. A great story about a family that has roots in the seige of Leningrad. Moving, emotional and wonderful! But have a tissue ready! ( )
  Jenna.Czaplewski | Jul 3, 2014 |
What a sad, beautiful story told within another story. Two women realize they have never know their cold, distant mother. When their father dies they slowly learn the truth about their mother's past, and learn why they are like they are. I know very little about Leningrad/St. Petersburg, but this tale makes me want to know more, and to appreciate the hardships Russian people have endured. ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
What a sad, beautiful story told within another story. Two women realize they have never know their cold, distant mother. When their father dies they slowly learn the truth about their mother's past, and learn why they are like they are. I know very little about Leningrad/St. Petersburg, but this tale makes me want to know more, and to appreciate the hardships Russian people have endured. ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
Nina are Meredith have always been daddy's girls. Their Russian mother Anya is distant and unloving. Anya doesn't speak to her daughters often despite living in the same house except for the Russian fairy tales she loves to tell . Are the fairy tales just a story or a part of Anya's history?

Nina is a world renowned photographer that is constantly traveling and nearing forty still has commitment issues. Meredith has chose to lead a completely different lifestyle becoming a stay at home mother and hoping to run Belye Nochi- The familys orchard. The sisters very rarely speak to each other and when they do their relationship is strained. When their beloved father has a heart attack he makes Anya promise to tell the girls the whole story so they can learn more about their mother and their family history. ( )
  amym53 | May 6, 2014 |
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is a haunting story about a family deeply scarred by their mother's secrets and regrets. The story alternates between modern-day and a fairytale that initiates flashbacks to Russia during WW II, predominantly focusing upon the Leningrad Siege.

I was hesitant about the subject-matter, but Kristin Hannah is such a gifted writer, I was willing to give it a try. I was very glad that I did, but some patience is needed, at least for this reader, until I became fully engaged in the story. Despite the opening pages being inviting, it took a very long time for me to become hooked. Don't get me wrong, Kristin Hannah writes beautifully and with ease. She can take complex historical events and turn them into a story that is easy to understand and enjoy. That is an impressive talent. But, Winter Garden requires some patience in order to get to the exceptional story. For me, the author accomplished her goal, that communication and information can force you to look at experiences in a completely different light, causing re-evaluation of your life. Knowledge can transform. Things are not always as they seem. Scratch the surface and a whole new perspective may await.

I enjoyed the depth of all of the characters, but probably would have preferred two everyday sisters and not one that traveled the world, putting herself in harm's way, in dangerous, war-torn countries photographing pain and atrocities. This was a little over-the-top for me, but it did make for a clear contrast to the more responsible and maternal sister.

Parts of this novel are tragic, almost too much to take at times, but very believable and realistic. However, unlike some of Ms. Hannah's other works, I appreciated that it wasn't taken to the point where I was hysterically crying. I have shied away from some of her other books for this very reason. Many, I know, will feel quite differently, and I can respect that, but as I get older, I simply can't take such intense sadness. Give me a story with substance that provides hope, and I am happy; Winter Garden has this perfect balance. Push through the first 115 pages, it is worth the wait. ( )
  2LZ | Apr 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Resisting the urge to skip ahead so I could find out what happens was a serious problem with this novel. Even though there are a number of stories told in this novel; Meredith's struggles with her marriage, Nina's struggles with love and family, Anya's struggles with her past, and Veronika's story in Russia, everything flows so smoothly.

What starts out as a story of three struggling women turns into a beautiful story... one that literally brough tears to my eyes. I found that this book allowed me to laugh, cry, yell and hurt and a book that does that is a very powerful book.

Overall, this book needs to be read... it deserves a place on anyone's bookshelf! Well done Kristin Hannah, I will be reading many more of your books in the future!
For this reader, it doesn't work.
The Whitson family is rocked by the sudden death of patriarch Evan, a warm, loving man who doted on his two adult daughters, Meredith and Nina, and his reserved Russian wife, Anya. Meredith, who runs the family business, and Nina, a photojournalist whose job takes her to war zones around the world, have never been able to connect with their cold, forbidding mother. When Anya begins to act strangely, Meredith thinks she belongs in a nursing home, but Nina decides to try to fulfill her father's dying wish and get her mother to tell her and Meredith the elaborate fairy tales she used to share with them. Anya is initially reluctant, but once she begins, Nina realizes these tales are actually the story of Anya's life in Stalinist Leningrad. Meredith and Nina decide to attempt to uncover the truth about their mother's tragic past in the hope of understanding her, and themselves.
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Prologue: 1972
To my husband Benjamin: As Always. To my Mother: I wish I had listened to more of your light stories when I had the chance. To my dad and Debbie: Thanks for the trip of a lifetime and memories that will last even longer. And to my beloved Tucker: I am so proud of you; your journey is just beginning.
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On the banks of the mighty Columbia River, in this icy season, when every breath became visable, the orchard called Bele Nochi, was quiet. Dormant apple trees stretched as far as the eye could see.
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The dying wish of a loving father ignites a family drama that brings two sisters and their acid-tongued, Russian-born mother together in a story that reaches back to WWII Leningrad.

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