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The Four Winds

The Four Winds Summary

The Four Winds: From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa―like so many of her neighbors―must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it―the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

About the Author

Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People's Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore's bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Four Winds Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Elsa Wolcott had spent years in enforced solitude, reading fictional adventures and imagining other lives. In her lonely bedroom, surrounded by the novels that had become her friends, she sometimes dared to dream of an adventure of her own, but not often. Her family repeatedly told her that it was the illness she’d survived in childhood that had transformed her life and left it fragile and solitary, and on good days, she believed it.

On bad days, like today, she knew that she had always been an outsider in her own family. They had sensed the lack in her early on, seeing that she didn’t fit in.

There was a pain that came with constant disapproval; a sense of having lost something unnamed, unknown. Elsa had survived it by being quiet, by not demanding or seeking attention, by accepting that she was loved, but unliked. The hurt had become so commonplace, she rarely noticed it. She knew it had nothing to do with the illness to which her rejection was usually ascribed.

But now, as she sat in the parlor, in her favorite chair, she closed the book in her lap and thought about it. The Age of Innocence had awakened something in her, reminded her keenly of the passage of time.

Tomorrow was her birthday.

Twenty-five.

Young by most accounts. An age when men drank bathtub gin and drove recklessly and listened to ragtime music and danced with women who wore headbands and fringed dresses.

For women, it was different.

Hope began to dim for a woman when she turned twenty. By twenty-two, the whispers in town and at church would have begun, the long, sad looks. By twenty-five, the die was cast. An unmarried woman was a spinster. “On the shelf,” they called her, shaking heads and tsking at her lost opportunities. Usually, people wondered why what had turned a perfectly ordinary woman from a good family into a spinster. But in Elsa’s case, everyone knew. They must think she was deaf, the way they talked about her. Poor thing. Skinny as a rake handle. Not nearly as pretty as her sisters.

Prettiness. Elsa knew that was the crux of it. She was not an attractive woman. On her best day, in her best dress, a stranger might say she was handsome, but never more. She was “too” everything—too tall, too thin, too pale, too unsure of herself.

Elsa had attended both of her sisters’ weddings. Neither had asked her to stand with them at the altar, and Elsa understood. At nearly six feet, she was taller than the grooms; she would ruin the photographs, and image was everything to the Wolcott's. Her parents prized it above all else.

It didn’t take a genius to look down the road of Elsa’s life and see her future. She would stay here, in her parents’ house on Rock Road, being cared for by Maria, the maid who’d managed the household forever. Someday, when Maria retired, Elsa would be left to care for her parents, and then, when they were gone, she would be alone.

And what would she have to show for her life? How would her time on this earth be marked? Who would remember her, and for what?

She closed her eyes and let a familiar, long-held dream tiptoe in: She imagined herself living somewhere else. In her own home. She could hear children’s laughter. Her children.

A life, not merely an existence. That was her dream: a world in which her life and her choices were not defined by the rheumatic fever she’d contracted at fourteen, a life where she uncovered strengths heretofore unknown, where she was judged on more than her appearance.

The front door banged open and her family came stomping into the house. They moved as they always did, in a chattering, laughing knot, her portly father in the lead, red-faced from drink, her two beautiful younger sisters, Charlotte and Suzanna, fanned out like swan wings on either side of him, her elegant mother bringing up the rear, talking to her handsome sons-in-law.

Her father stopped. “Elsa,” he said. “Why are you still up?”

“I wanted to talk to you.”

“At this hour?” her mother said. “You look flushed. Do you have a fever?”

“I haven’t had a fever in years, Mama. You know that.” Elsa got to her feet, twisted her hands together, and stared at the family.

Now, she thought. She had to do it. She couldn’t lose her nerve again.

“Papa.” At first, she said it too softly to be heard, so she tried again, actually raising her voice. “Papa.”

He looked at her.

“I will be twenty-five tomorrow,” Elsa said.

Her mother appeared to be irritated by the reminder. “We know that, Elsa.”

“Yes, of course. I merely want to say that I’ve come to a decision.”

That quieted the family.

“I … There’s a college in Chicago that teaches literature and accepts women. I want to take classes—”

“Elsinore,” her father said. “What need is there for you to be educated? You were too ill to finish school as it was. It’s a ridiculous idea.”

It was difficult to stand there, seeing her failings reflected in so many eyes. Fight for yourself. Be brave.

“But, Papa, I am a grown woman. I haven’t been sick since I was fourteen. I believe the doctor was … hasty in his diagnosis. I’m fine now. Truly. I could become a teacher. Or a writer…”

“A writer?” Papa said. “Have you some hidden talent of which we are all unaware?”

His stare cut her down.

“It’s possible,” she said weakly.

Papa turned to Elsa’s mother. “Mrs. Wolcott, give her something to calm her down.”

“I’m hardly hysterical, Papa.”

Elsa knew it was over. This was not a battle she could win. She was to stay quiet and out of sight, not to go out into the world. “I’m fine. I’ll go upstairs.”

She turned away from her family, none of whom was looking at her now that the moment had passed. She had vanished from the room somehow, in that way she had of dissolving in place.

She wished she’d never read The Age of Innocence. What good came from all this unexpressed longing? She would never fall in love, never have a child of her own.

As she climbed the stairs, she heard music coming from below. They were listening to the new Victrola.

She paused.

Go down, pull up a chair.

She closed her bedroom door sharply, shutting out the sounds from below. She wouldn’t be welcomed down there.

In the mirror above her washstand, she saw her own reflection. Her pale face looked as if it had been stretched by unkind hands into a sharp chin point. Her long, corn-silk blond hair was flyaway thin and straight in a time when waves were all the rage. Her mother hadn’t allowed her to cut it in the fashion of the day, saying it would look even worse short. Everything about Elsa was colorless, washed out, except for her blue eyes.

She lit her bedside lamp and withdrew one of her most treasured novels from her nightstand.

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The Four Winds

The Four Winds PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1250275202
Posted onFebruary 2, 2021
Formatpdf
Page Count450 pages
AuthorKristin Hannah

The Four Winds PDF Book Free Download - HUB PDF

The Four Winds: From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

URL: https://amzn.to/30xqjac

Author: Kristin Hannah

Editor's Rating:
4.5
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