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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Winter Garden: A Novel
Format: Paperback|Change
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on February 1, 2017

The book started off slow and felt very disjointed. I found the writing at the start to be elementary in style, not what I expected from a lawyer-turned-writer.

Daughter #1 's constant morning jogs, feed the dogs, visit the parents routine got stale. Daughter #2 by contrast flirted with death, war torn countries but apparently took Pulitzer Prize winning photos along the way. Money appeared to be no object as she flew here, there and everywhere.

These two stories interwoven with detailed 'recipes' of food 'Mom' kept in the freezer that we heard about page after page left me with the feeling that I was reading a cook book/diary rather than a novel. In fact, the recipes are included at the back of the book.

**SPOILER ALERT*** THEN Dad dies and the story takes a whole new twist.

Relationships change, ebb and flow, conversations that should have taken place decades before, almost overnight, begin to happen. Suddenly, the relationships between two sisters and mom are blooming and that is when the story starts to take on a whole new feel. Once Mom starts to tell her story...the style is a bit odd in that she speaks at first in a regular font and then midway through a sentence it becomes italics...for pages and pages which makes reading at first a bit of a strain....the novel changes and improves 100%.

Mom's 'Anya's" story is the real interesting story. The two daughters are plastic and predictable by comparison. Mom's story is detaileed in beautifully written text about the siege of Leningrad in WWII. It is hard, tough, dirty and relentlessly COLD. You can almost feel the cold and hunger. THIS is what makes this book great. Forget about the rest. Read it for Anya's story.

The end of the book is a surprise but borders on being hokey and unlikely. The author is interviewed at the end of the book and says she wrestled with the ending and mentioned a few of the choices she considered. The one she finally chose could have been improved upon.
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on August 3, 2016
Anya Whitson is one of the great female protagonists in a novel.
I read this book on the heels of All the Light We Cannot See (I was devastated when this book was over), in a state of being sure nothing could surpass it. I posted my dilemma on FB and this book came highly recommended. It was slow at the beginning but still kept me quite interested. By about half-way through it became massively engaging - and by the end I was solidly devastated (again) and wish it wouldn't end. It reads somewhat like a screenplay - extremely vividly and so very absorbing as a result. I'm still looking for a book to match Winter Garden.
The critics of this book say it is not original - and it's probably not and that didn't bother me one bit. Enagaging, well-written characters can many any - even if formulaic - story highly enjoyable.
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on March 25, 2017
This is the second novel by this author and as well as being a good read, I learned many things about Leningrad and the monumental courage and sheer determination of the Russian people to survive in conditions that defy the imagination.
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on June 1, 2018
I really liked this read. Once again gave me a new appreciation for those who have experienced the ravages of war. Great story that kept me captivated throughout the book.
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on February 23, 2017
I enjoyed this book immensely as did I enjoy The nightingale and The night road. I am going to read all of Kristin Hannah's books she is a fabulous descriptive writer and I can't put her novels down once I have opened them. Marianne Wilson
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on June 29, 2012
This book was an awesome book. I love Kristin Hannahs books. I was in Fort Lauderdale and was looking to find some books to relax with. I came across Night Road, oh I couldn,t put it down, and since then, I am reading all her books. She really brings her characters to life, so much so where I was constantly thinking about the storyline, and what was going to happen next, really just like a good movie where you still think about it after you have seen it.

It depicts a great storyline between a mother and her daughters, and the secret that is kept.

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good story. Its hard to explain really, but you will understand once you start reading, you will become so engrossed it, I can,t wait until she writes more books.

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on June 14, 2013
I was hooked on this book and the more I read felt I was being "pulled into the fairytale". I love how Kristin Hannah can write a book within a book. I thought this book was extremely poignant. There was so much of a story, I love the inter-reationship descriptions of her characters. I have read almost all of Hannah's books. I love the way she unravels a story.
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on May 10, 2017
Well written, page turner. Described an aspect of war that many people are unaware of...........shows the scars left on woman and children.
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on March 29, 2018
More of Kirsten's wonderful ability to bring human relationships alive! Since my own grandparents and father immigrated from Russia about the same time in history it made the story even more meaningful.
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on February 6, 2018
A phenomenal book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn't realize it was by the same author as another book I loved, The Nightingale. I did not want it to end. Awesome character development.
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