Book Review: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah


I so much wanted to enjoy this book. So many good things I had heard about the author. The cover and title promised much. Family, loss, relationships all tied with history and Leningrad in 1941. Not altogether new a subject, as I have done my school history in Finland and read quite a bit of historical fiction and non-fiction including the story of Galina Viasheskaya years ago:

But it was not to be. I had hard time finishing the book or even getting on with it. I tried to listen to the audible while driving and had to stop as it was putting me to sleep. Several times I did indeed fall asleep on my chair while listening to it, but that was okey as I could rewind and was also safe.

The story starts and evolves very slowly. And there is really no need for it. I suppose Kristen Hannah felt that she needed to tie it strongly to today. So we get storylines on relationships between  two sisters, father dying and even trouble with men. The good thing in the story is the resolution, but even that is tinged with shallow reaction by one of the daughters. And, there are a few co-incidencies to swallow on the way.

Winter Garden is possibly liked by many as it is an adult fairy tale. A beautiful dream house, lovely garden, succesful business, succesful women, a writer husband, a prize winning photographer, cruises on spur of the moment, even gift shop dreams … And the harrowing past is a fairy tale within this fairy tale. The language is also pretty simple and stereotypes not too demanding.

The audible was maybe not a good thing for me. I found the narrator too sentimental and the put on accent too much. She sounded also angry and judgemental at times, not letting the reader form one’s own opinion more independently.

I give this book three stars, but they are not strong. I recommend it to fans of Kristin Hannah and those like me, who wish to get to know her writing.

STARS: 3/5

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