Happy New Year! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I’m so glad we’ve turned the page on 2020. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I have hope for 2021.
I just finished Kristin Hannah’s forthcoming novel The Four Winds, and it was a riveting read. I have to admit, it took its toll on me emotionally because it’s a sobering look at the realities of families that survived the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. It also feels extremely timely with the global pandemic we’re facing — the dust storms seemed to come out of nowhere and affected so many people (with rippling effects on the economy as the disaster occurred during the Great Depression). We have yet to determine the lasting effects of COVID-19 on our economy and the emotional trauma wrought upon families across the nation.
In The Four Winds, Elsa Wolcott never felt like she belonged in the small town of Dalhart, Texas–at age 25, she felt unattractive and unloved by her family, and she had also never experienced first love. That all changed when she met Raffaello (Rafe) Martinelli. Immediately charmed by him, she falls quickly in love and they get married when Elsa realizes she’s pregnant. While she doesn’t have a happy marriage (and is disowned by her family), she discovers a deep love for Rafe’s parents, their land, and her children, Loreda and Anthony. But after suffering five years of drought and devasted by the Great Depression (and abandoned by Rafe), Elsa and her children set out in 1935 for what they hope is a better life in California. What follows is an epic tale of love, loss and ultimately redemption. While parts of the book felt bleak, that is only because this era was bleak for so many people. Elsa tries again and again to make life better for herself and her family, and it was impossible not to be moved by Elsa’s journey and to feel hopeful for a brighter future for all of us.