Sisters Meredith and Nina have grown apart once they reached adulthood. Meredith took over the family business and raised a family, while Nina followed her dreams to traveling the world as a photojournalist. When their doting father suddenly becomes ill and dies the sisters world is rocked to the core. As a dying wish, their father had made the girls promise to spend time with their Russian mother, who has never been the warm motherly type.
As the girls try to come together on a decision of what to do, their mother, Anya, starts to act oddly – leaving burners on in the house and even pealing the wallpaper off the walls. Anya starts to share fairy tales that she used to tell when the girls were little and through these tales, the girls discover the stories are not stories at all but the facts of Anya’s life growing up in war-torn Russ. In amazement of this new discovery, Meredith and Nina decide to help their mother uncover the truth of her tragic past, in the hopes of understanding more about her as well as themselves.
Kristen Hannah is one of those author’s whose book covers draw me in and I always plan to read … and then rarely do. In fact out of all of her attractive looking books, the only other one I have read in Firefly Lane with my book club a few years back. (I remember I was in Honduras on a bus when that book came to its rocky ending that left me in tears)
SO here I am again with Kristen Hannah with probably the least likely choice of all her books – Winter Garden. Why? Because winter is my absolute least favorite time of year…. (however… I do like gardens?) But of course none of this random ramblings has anything to do with the book….
Winter Garden started slow for me. The two sisters thing and dysfunctional family synopsis has been done and done and done again. I listened halfheartedly taking in all the facts but not really engaged.
Then the audio suddenly took a turn to the “holy wah” when Anya started detailing her story of growing up in Russia…. suddenly I was glued to my kitchen, unwilling to shut the audio off, or leave the room I was folding laundry on my kitchen table and cleaning kitchen counters, and straightening seasonings in the cupboards – all to keep on listening.
It all came to a tearful fully engaged version of me as the story unfolded into what I could only refer to as Kristen Hannah working her magic of story telling. I literally had tears rolling down my face as I heard the story pour out of Anya.
In recap… the first half of the book was meh…. the second half…. a rollercoaster of emotions that has left me wondering what I should choose next of Kristen Hannah’s books.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Winter Garden
I purchased this audio from Amazon