Title: Winter Garden
Author: Kristin Hannah
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Meredith has always been the responsible daughter in the Whitson family. She has lived near her parents, and even took over the family business from her dad, putting aside her own dreams. Nina, on the other hand, is impulsive and always on the go. As a photojournalist, she is on the run, rarely coming home to spend time with her family.
When Meredith and Nina’s beloved father sickens, however, everything comes to a crashing halt. The girls have never been close to their mother Anya, a cold woman who has never shown them a mother’s love. However, as the women come together to deal with their sadness, they must also contend with their own personal issues.
Kristin Hannah is always great for a tear-jerker of a women’s fiction novel, and Winter Garden is no exception. This time she deals with the lack of a mother’s love and what it can do to two women. Meredith is so closed off, though it’s easy to understand why. She’s always been the dependable one, so she hasn’t really given her own needs a second thought. It’s always been about what others want. Therefore, when she takes some time in this book to really examine herself, it’s gratifying to see her indulge herself and begin to consider what she wants.
Nina, on the other hand, is self-indulgent to the extreme, but not in a way that make the reader dislike her. Because her mother never seemed to love her, she’s always running away. She doesn’t trust people enough to get close to them, so being on the move constantly works for her. When she slows down, she is forced to deal with the repercussions of her actions and realize that it’s not a healthy way to live.
Anya was really difficult. It’s clear from the beginning of the novel that there is something from her past, some dark reason that she is so cold to her daughters. Often times, she is downright mean, leaving them searching for her love, only to be disappointed time and again. It’s a difficult thing to excuse, and even after you hear her (admittedly horrifying) story, it’s hard to completely forgive her for being horrible to her daughters for so long.
Winter Garden was an interesting novel that’s a great read for a cold, snowy day. Though the ending is tied up a little too easily and neatly, it’s the character development and introspection that really makes it worth reading. Fans of women’s fiction novels should definitely consider picking this one up.