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Winter Garden [Kindle Edition]

Kristin Hannah
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (795 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $6.00 (40%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn’t know her mother?

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past

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 falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.



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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Female bonding is always good for a good cry, as Hannah (True Colors ) proves in her latest. Pacific Northwest apple country provides a beautiful, chilly setting for this family drama ignited by the death of a loving father whose two daughters have grown apart from each other and from their acid-tongued, Russian-born mother. After assuming responsibility for the family business, 40-year-old empty-nester Meredith finds it difficult to carry out her father's dying wish that she take care of her mother; Meredith's troubled marriage, her troubled relationship with her mother and her mother's increasingly troubled mind get in the way. Nina, Meredith's younger sister, takes a break from her globe-trotting photojournalism career to return home to do her share for their mother. How these three women find each other and themselves with the help of vodka and a trip to Alaska competes for emotional attention with the story within a story of WWII Leningrad. Readers will find it hard not to laugh a little and cry a little more as mother and daughters reach out to each other just in the nick of time. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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. Though the novel starts off fairly maudlin, it evolves into a gripping read, although it’s a tearjerker. Hannah’s previous books, including Firefly Lane (2008) and True Colors (2009), are tailor-made for book clubs, and her audience should find plenty to discuss in this equally enthralling entry. --Kristine Huntley

Product Details

  • File Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reissue edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003672JHG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,620 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
176 of 190 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine book about sisterhood, families, and secrets December 26, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Winter Garden," by Kristin Hannah, is a surprising book. I say this as someone who has been deeply impressed by Ms. Hannah's writing before -- her "When Lightning Strikes" is on my short list of favorite novels to re-read often, and whenever I pick that book up, I always find something new to appreciate. So I was well aware of how vividly Ms. Hannah envisions history ("When Lightning Strikes" is a paranormal set, for the most part, in 1896), and of how fine her use of language, culture, mores, tone, and description. All of those are again on display in "Winter Garden," a more traditional straight-up family history and memoir, along with the themes of sacrifice, sisterhood, families, and secrets.

At the start of "Winter Garden," we meet two pre-teen sisters, Meredith and Nina Whitson. We see them briefly act in a play, a story their mother has told them that seems to be of a worthy, yet poor, young woman, her sister, and the prince who rescues her. But the play angers and upsets their mother, Anya, who cannot tell them why; this makes them vow never to try to please their mother again.

Then we see them as full-fledged adults -- Meredith, the nurturer, someone who takes on difficult jobs around the house and at her job without praise or fanfare and is running herself into the ground, and Nina, the prize-winning and world-renowned photojournalist, who takes on difficult jobs in various countries photographing people (mostly in war zones) and is running herself into the ground in a wholly different way. Meredith is married, with two children in college, but her marriage is in trouble because she can't communicate; Nina is in a long-term relationship but can't admit she loves her boyfriend because she isn't able to communicate.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requires some patience for the first half January 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
...but don't give up on it. I'm glad I listened to that advice from another reviewer as I might have put it down myself. The first half lays the groundwork of the familial relationships between the main characters. Sometimes the reader will get impatient with the flawed characters, as it seems drawn out at times, therefore 4-1/2 stars from me. It is not a happy or feel good type of read. It is sad, heartbreaking, and captivating.

There have been many novels lately that flip back and forth between the past and the present, many revolving around wartime. Personally I like that, it is like reading two novels in one. We have seen this in Shanghai Girls, on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Whiskey Island, and countless others. This one gives us an intimate look at Leningrad survivors in the Russian/German war. It varies in the fact that the past is presented as a fairy tale by the Russian mother of two American born daughters. All three are strong-willed and feeling incomplete and do not relate well to each other. As adults, grief unites them and a death-bed promise forces them to face and come to know each other as well as themselves.

It starts as the two young daughters Meredith and Nina fail time and again in seeking affection from their cold, distant mother. When they were young their mother would tell them this fairy tale at night, practically the only communication they had between them at the time. It mesmerized them, leaving them wanting more, but the story telling stopped suddenly and does not continue until their adulthood when circumstances brings about the completion of the tale. In actuality the "fairy tale" is the story of their mother's young life in Russia.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Kirstin Hannah is one of my most favorite authors ever. I really enjoy her books and especially her character development. This book, though, left me feeling cold in the first 35-40% of the book. The characters just didn't seem real to me and the family dynamics seemed contrived. I had a very hard time getting into the book. However, I enjoyed the latter part of the book and the story sucked me in during the second half. Then, at the end of the book, the way things wrapped up, I just wanted to say, "Oh, puhleezzeeee!" It seemed very contrived and unbelievable.

Usually, if I don't get into a book in the first 20 pages, I put it down and move on to the next book. There are just too many good books to try to keep reading a bad one. This book was never BAD, but it is hard to get into and parts of it aren't believable. In between those parts, though, are some beautifully written passages about the characters in the book. The relationship between the sisters was especially fun to watch develop.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookpleasures.com says..Enchanting February 2, 2010
Format:Hardcover
I was honored to "discover" the fantastic writing of Kristin Hannah when I read Firefly Lane and True Colors. So I can not express to you how happy I was to receive this newest offering in the mail.

In this superb book, we are brought into the lives of three fantastic women. On the banks of the Columbia River, we find ourselves in a huge house that looks like something out of a fairytale, sitting in an ice-covered apple orchard named Belye Nochi. Inside the four walls of the amazing home we meet a twelve-year-old girl named Meredith Whitson. Meredith wants only one thing in life, just as her sister Nina does, to make their mother show some type of love and affection toward them. The only kindness their mother shows them is when she tells them fairy tales in the evening before they go to sleep. One of their mother's favorite tales is the story of a young peasant girl who falls in love with a prince. Meredith decides to stage a play one Christmas Eve where she, her friend, and her sister will become the characters of the fairy-tale Mom loves so much. As they take the "living-room stage" to begin, their mother turns pale and begins to scream at them. This is the last straw. That night, as Meredith and Nina are filled with anger and defeat, they realize they'll never be close to their mother no matter how hard they try; and their mother's distant - seemingly, uncaring - relationship with them is the driving force in what they both will become.

Meredith marries her friend from the play - Jeff - and they have two children. Meredith works super-hard at the apple orchard for her beloved father, making it into the greatest place on earth. She is the responsible one, standing by her father's side and taking care of everyone she knows. But she is constantly sad.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
So sad, interesting and informative. Worth them time. Have the tissues handy.
Published 39 minutes ago by Jerilyn Murray
2.0 out of 5 stars Long read for
The story lines were predictable and the ending was too convenient. The story dragged for too long, could have cut at least 100 pages from book.
Published 14 hours ago by D. HALL
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother!
This is an overly-long romance novel. You know from the beginning that the ending will be maudlinly happy. Characters are not realistic and have no depth.
Published 1 day ago by Mary Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived promptly, no problems, as described.
Published 3 days ago by Virginia E. Lindquist
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written, captivating story. Raises many family issues. Ending was a bit too contrived.
Published 3 days ago by Lynn B. Singer
5.0 out of 5 stars A definite good read. I don't read often but this had ...
A definite good read. I don't read often but this had me going in chapter 1
Published 4 days ago by Shanon
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it. Read it in a weekend
I loved it. Read it in a weekend. Could not put it down.
Published 7 days ago by SHERRY BYERS
4.0 out of 5 stars At times I got bored with the story but I had to finish it ...
At times I got bored with the story but I had to finish it and I'm very glad I did. I was taken totally by surprise towards the end of the story.
Published 7 days ago by Mary B Hanhan
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read. I couldn't put it down
A good read. I couldn't put it down!
Published 7 days ago by Deborah J Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorites!
Love this book! Just finished reading it for 3rd time. Wonderful story, full of emotion and history. Kristin Hannah never disappoints.
Published 8 days ago by Arime
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More About the Author

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including Winter Garden, Night Road, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane which sold over 1.2 million copies.

Her novels Home Front and Night Road were among the first novels to appear in the #1 spot on 5 New York Times bestseller lists simultaneously. Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct.

Kristin's highly anticipated new release, The Nightingale, is slated for release in January 2015 (St. Martin's Press). The novel is an epic love story and family drama set in France at the dawn of World War II.



www.kristinhannah.com



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