Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (first time I have given 5 stars to a book. ever.)
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.
- “The author of Firefly Lane and True Colors has written another powerful story of misunderstanding, family love, and strong women…a fascinating story that weaves fairy tales into reality, fairy tales that don’t always have the expected endings.” — The Herald-News on Winter Garden
- “…a wonderful story about the mother-daughter bond—one you won’t be able to put down.” — SheKnows.com on Winter Garden
- “This tearjerker weaves a convincing historical novel and contemporary family drama…” — Library Journal on Winter Garden
- “A…searing story with a breathtaking, beautiful ending.” — The Seattle Times on Winter Garden
My Review: Considering I have never given 5 stars before, you can imagine how much I loved this book. I don’t think I’ve ever actually laughed out loud and then cried during one book before. This is definitely chick lit, but that doesn’t make me love it any less. My mom has been on me for months to read it and I should’ve stopped all other reading and focused on this. Don’t be fooled about this being just another WWII book, as it’s most certainly nothing like that. It’s about a mother’s unwavering love (there’s nothing quite the same) and her two daughters, as they try to explore their stoic Russian mother’s past. The depth of the fairy tale is so distant and tortuous that you keep wishing it wasn’t real. In disbelief that someone could endure that kind of pain and then continue forward. But it is. I finished the story wondering if I would be able to display the same amount of courage and selflessness that I read about. And honestly, I hope I never have to find out. Pick this up and prepare for a gripping read; you won’t regret it.
Next up… The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (for bookies!)
**I was not asked to, or compensated for, writing this book review.