Bookies Book Club Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

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I read this book while on vacation this past February. If you read my review you find that I soared through the book, having trouble putting it down. I wanted to know what would happen next – and honestly reading a book like this reminded me how much I love just having time to be with a book.

When my book club chose this book to be our May read, I felt they had made a good choice but knew I was not going to read it again this quickly, knowing at times how heavy and drawn the subject matter could be. In fact when one girl asked if Elsa’s life got any better (possible spoiler here) I said no. Then I thought about my answer and wondered how I gushed about a book that is – well honestly, extremely sad.

I came up with two reasons:


  1. I rarely have time to just sink into a book without time restraints (ooh I have 30 minutes before I have to go…. or I need to get going on the laundry or start blah blah blah… ) Being on vacation with nothing but glorious time…I really was able to dig in.
  2. Kristin Hannah. Angie, in our book club, nailed it when she said Hannah just writes in a way that makes you engage. She can take a heavy hard depressing topic like this and make it readable. Relatable. dare I say enjoyable?


So What did the Bookies think?

Whey had some fun with this…

“It just kept going on and on…”
“Every page, I was like is this here break? And then … nope.”



Honestly though, as a book club choice we highly recommend. It’s true the book does not bring a lot of sunshine, yet why would it? The Four Winds is about Elsa, and starts pre- dust storm, and then carries on throughout Elsa’s adult life into her marriage, hew kids, and extended family. It’s a brutaly honest look at how things were during these times, and honestly to put a merry spin on it would have been wrong – no matter how hard we rooted for her.



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Our discussion leaned not only towards the decisions that Elsa makes throughout the book, but also into the Dust Bowl itself, each of us learning a bit about this time period and a few sharing stories that were handed down from our own relatives.

While we had a few within our 16 person group who did not enjoy the book, the majority rated it high, finding it an honest recap of the way things were as well as an interesting look into one family in particular as they made their way.

Here are some questions that we used in our discussion, taken from discussion questions on line and tweaking to make them more our own: (NOTE- spoilers to anyone who has not read the book)

1. A theme in the book is the American Dream, either through financial independence or traveling to California in search of a better life. Was the American Dream true then? Is it now?

2. Elsa came from an unloving family who told her she was “too tall, too plain, and too old” to ever meet someone and get married. How did this negative home life effect her? How did it follow her over her life? What does this negative influence do to any child or person?

3. When Elsa becomes pregnant, how does this change the lives around her? Rafe? Her parents? His parents? Elsa?

4. Loreda as she grows listens to her dads dream of making it big elsewhere. Loreda and Rafe turn out to be a lot alike in that way – dreamers. How does this differ from the way Elsa sees things? How does this effect Elsa and Loreda’s relationship as they move forward without Rafe?

5. What do you think happened to Rafe?

6. Ant becomes ill due to the dust causing Elsa to make hard decisions about moving. What would you have done in Elsa’s position?

7. When Rafe’s parents refuse to move with them, Loreda describes them as “plants that can only grow in one place”. What does this mean?

8. With the extreme poverty conditions of the time period, how does this compare to what we go through today?

9. Loreda finds her voice after going to the Communist Movement Meeting and meeting Jack. How does this change Loreda for the better? For the worse?

10. Elsa eventually falls hard for Jack and experiences romantic love for the first time. What did you think of this romance?

Jack calls Elsa a Warrior. What is a warriors definition to you? Is Elsa a warrior?

11. Elsa speaks up against the oppressors and is shot when doing so. What does this do to the story?

12. What do you think about the ending and Loreda returning home and attending college?

13. Is there a favorite part of the book for you?

14. What lessons do you take away from this period in history?



I read this book while on vacation this past February. If you read my review you find that I soared through the book, having trouble putting it down. I wanted to know what would happen next – and honestly reading a book like this reminded me how much I love just having time to be with a book.

When my book club chose this book to be our May read, I felt they had made a good choice but knew I was not going to read it again this quickly, knowing at times how heavy and drawn the subject matter could be. In fact when one girl asked if Elsa’s life got any better (possible spoiler here) I said no. Then I thought about my answer and wondered how I gushed about a book that is – well honestly, extremely sad.

I came up with two reasons:

  1. I rarely have time to just sink into a book without time restraints (ooh I have 30 minutes before I have to go…. or I need to get going on the laundry or start blah blah blah… ) Being on vacation with nothing but glorious time…I really was able to dig in.
  2. Kristin Hannah. A girl in my book nailed it when she said Hannah just writes in a way that makes you engage. She can take a heavy hard depressing topic like this and make it readable. Relatable. dare I say enjoyable?


So What did the Bookies think?

Whey had some fun with this…

“It just kept going on and on…”
“Every page, I was like is this here break? And then … nope.”

Honestly though, as a book club choice we highly recommend. It’s true the book does not bring a lot of sunshine, yet why would it? The Four Winds is about Elsa, and starts pre- dust storm, and then carries on throughout Elsa’s adult life into her marriage, hew kids, and extended family. It’s a brutaly honest look at how things were during these times, and honestly to put a merry spin on it would have been wrong – no matter how hard we rooted for her.

Our discussion leaned not only towards the decisions that Elsa makes throughout the book, but also into the Dust Bowl itself, each of us learning a bit about this time period and a few sharing stories that were handed down from our own relatives.

While we had a few within our 16 person group who did not enjoy the book, the majority rated it high, finding it an honest recap of the way things were as well as an interesting look into one family in particular as they made their way.

Here are some questions that we used in our discussion, taken from discussion questions on line and tweaking to make them more our own: (NOTE- spoilers to anyone who has not read the book)

1. A theme in the book is the American Dream, either through financial independence or traveling to California in search of a better life. Was the American Dream true then? Is it now?

2. Elsa came from an unloving family who told her she was “too tall, too plain, and too old” to ever meet someone and get married. How did this negative home life effect her? How did it follow her over her life? What does this negative influence do to any child or person?

3. When Elsa becomes pregnant, how does this change the lives around her? Rafe? Her parents? His parents? Elsa?

4. Loreda as she grows listens to her dads dream of making it big elsewhere. Loreda and Rafe turn out to be a lot alike in that way – dreamers. How does this differ from the way Elsa sees things? How does this effect Elsa and Loreda’s relationship as they move forward without Rafe?

5. What do you think happened to Rafe?

6. Ant becomes ill due to the dust causing Elsa to make hard decisions about moving. What would you have done in Elsa’s position?

7. When Rafe’s parents refuse to move with them, Loreda describes them as “plants that can only grow in one place”. What does this mean?

8. With the extreme poverty conditions of the time period, how does this compare to what we go through today?

9. Loreda finds her voice after going to the Communist Movement Meeting and meeting Jack. How does this change Loreda for the better? For the worse?

10. Elsa eventually falls hard for Jack and experiences romantic love for the first time. What did you think of this romance?

Jack calls Elsa a Warrior. What is a warriors definition to you? Is Elsa a warrior?

11. Elsa speaks up against the oppressors and is shot when doing so. What does this do to the story?

12. What do you think about the ending and Loreda returning home and attending college?

13. Is there a favorite part of the book for you?

14. What lessons do you take away from this period in history?

12 thoughts on “Bookies Book Club Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

  1. I can’t say that I “enjoyed” the book, as there were so many sad and difficult challenges along the way, but the characters felt like real people that I wanted to root for. I wished Elsa had made some different choices…and I was sad in many places. I would say it is a good book for discussions! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, it is one of those books that you really have to think about how you felt about it. As hard as her life was, you know that really – that is pretty accurate to the way it was in that time and in that situation.

  2. I loved this one but, there really wasn’t light at the end of the tunnel. I can see how it would make for a good discussion though. I just finished The Nightingale (I’m late jumping in). I thought it would be sad but, after loving Four Winds I took the plunge and loved that one as well.

  3. I still have yet to read a Hannah book but some ladies from my club read it and said to stay far away from it, it being the most depressing book that never ends. I have to tell you, I took it off my list at that point. I do not need a depressing read these days. How did you manage to do so well with it while on vacation??? More time yes, but vacation reading should not be depressing in my opinion.

  4. Oh how I miss our book group. Unable to meet during Covid, the majority of the group unable to use computers/without access to one it was decided Zoom etc wasn’t a viable option.

    An author I have very mixed thoughts on; some of her books I’ve really enjoyed, some, well, not so much. Fascinating discussion points, I think I’d definitely give this a read if the opportunity presented itself.

    1. Our group is just starting to fill in more at the together meetups with a few still on ZOOM. Its hard to connect with the ZOOM group as you don’t want to leave them out of the live discussion.

    1. Right? The pictures put it into perspective. I can not even imagine what that had to be like day after day with no hope in sight… watching all you worked for be buried in the dirt and there is nothing you can do.

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