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Winter Garden

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  71,316 Ratings  ·  8,606 Reviews

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn't know her mother?

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at ho

Kindle Edition, Reissue edition, 401 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2009)
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Fredericka Deberry I could not put it down. I read it so fast that I am re-reading now to better absorb what I might have missed the first time. It has piqued my…moreI could not put it down. I read it so fast that I am re-reading now to better absorb what I might have missed the first time. It has piqued my interest in the Siege of Leningrad and I will most likely look for material on that horrible event when I finish re-reading.

I got my copy for one cent + $3.99 postage through Amazon. I originally bought it because a friend living half way across the country from me was having to do a review of the book and wanted my take on it. I'm glad she asked me to read it.(less)
Olivia Trass I am thirteen and have just finished reading it. It depends what you're interested in, but I personally loved it :)

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Aestas Book Blog


Winter Garden was one of the most breathtaking  books that I have ever read in my entire life. And I do not say that lightly. I cried so hard I couldn't even see the pages. The emotions were overpowering and all-consuming. It also has THE. MOST. BEAUTIFUL. EPILOGUE. of all-time. The only other books that has made me cry this hard before has been The Bronze Horseman which is my favorite book in the world... My God, THE FEELS!!!! What began as a fam
Once again, I find myself in awe of the power and beauty of Kristin Hannah’s words. She gives her readers the ability to crawl inside the story and see the world through the eyes of her characters. It’s her stunning gift for capturing the heart wrenching and emotional aspect of every connection that left me completely enamored with this family. Every single one of them. By the time I reached the end of the story, I was nowhere near ready to let them go.

There are people everywhere that find them
Gloria Bernal
Jan 05, 2010 Gloria Bernal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Be patient during the first half, it gets very good and emotional the second half. This is written in the past and present tense, which is a common scenario in many novels, but one that I enjoy. It's like reading two different novels.

What starts as a dysfunctional domestic situation between 2 sisters (American born) and their Russian-born mother ends up being so much more. Grief and a deathbed promise brings these unhappy women reluctantly together, and what seemed like a familial dysfunction be
Mar 01, 2012 Carol rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this stinker and I have a headache from rolling my eyes. It is disappointingly formulaic and borrows heavily from "Sophie's Choice", an infinitely superior novel. The writing is pedestrian. The characters are cardboard cut outs and insufferable to boot. I hate novels in which all the characters have to be beautiful. We are told over and over and over about the mother's "astonishing eyes" and the eldest daughter's "curvy hips", big eyes and "Julia Robert's type mouth". The younger d ...more
Pouting Always
Jan 23, 2017 Pouting Always rated it it was amazing
Meredith and Nina spent their whole lives without really knowing their mother Anya. Any attempts they tried to make to get close to her were rebuffed, so they gave up trying and began to believe that maybe their mother just didn't really care about them very much. When their father dies though he makes them promise to try to get to know their mother, and says that now that he will be gone their mother needs them. The story follows Meredith, Nina, and Anya as they get to know one another and grow ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Janelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favorites
This is one of those books that reminds me how much I truly love historical fiction!

Anya Whitson is a Russian immigrant who moves to the United States after marrying her American husband. Anya is very hard woman who shows no love to her two daughters, Meredith and Nina, throughout their lives. Nina is an unsettled world traveling photographer and Meredith is a workaholic wife and mother who remains home to run the family orchard and never does anything for herself, it's always for others.

When Ev
Apr 07, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read
Meredith and Nina are like chalk and cheese when it comes to being sisters. But the one thing they do have in common is the love of their father, so when he falls sick and is dying they are both at his bedside. Neither Meredith or Nina ever shared the same love for their mother, but they promise their father that they will take care of her once he is gone.

After their father passes away Meredith and Nina find the following few months rather difficult and soon realize that caring for their mother
Nov 23, 2015 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some themes are close to me notably stories that deal with mothers and daughters or families in general. That is a theme also dear to Kristin Hannah, from what I read of her books and especially in Winter Garden:
"They would always be a family, but if she learned anything in the past few weeks it was that a family wasn't a static thing. There were always changes going on. Like with continents, sometimes the changes were invisible and underground, and sometimes they were explosive and deadly. The
Color me surprised! I didn't have the best hopes for this book -- even though I loved The Nightingale. I thought that the rest of Kristin Hannah's books simply wouldn't measure up. While this one was not as good as Nightingale, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed (and was moved) by it.

Like Nightingale, Winter Garden includes a historical and modern day story (a two-fer, as my GR friend Cathrine calls it!). The historical tale is by far the better story here, and thankfully takes up the majorit
Kristin Hannah's books have been recommended to me by a lot of friends, and I love the cover arts! (Who said we can't judge a book by a cover?) Unfortunately, I read The Night Road as my first book, and did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed works by other similar authors, namely, Picoult and Chamberlain.

However, at the persuasion of more friends, I decided to give her another chance, so I chose Winter Garden as my fluff read at the end of last year to balance the stress. I was so wrong.

The story
Emotionally-charged, epic story by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Have a box of tissues handy if you are planning to read! I picked this book up at a Used Book Sale this year -- after loving The Nightingale. Today, I just needed something different to read -- so I pulled it off the shelf. I almost couldn't put it down until it was complete! I was a bit late in picking my son up from swim practice (but traffic happens!!)...

This is a story about love, surviv
Apr 21, 2010 Ns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Winter Garden is a mesmerizing and enchanting novel about survival, enduring love, family, and the choices that can forever haunt you.

With the death of the patriarch comes the further disintegration of an already fragile bond between a distant, secretive mother and her daughters who are as different as can be. With the loss of their father, Meredith and Nina Whitson find themselves no closer to their mother at a time when they should have found comfort in one another. Instead their mother retre
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. Hard to write a review about this one as I had a few different thoughts. But here goes.
Parts of this story about two sisters and their Russian immigrant mother were very interesting. Sometimes I had to put it aside for a while because I couldn’t bear to read too much of the 1940s Leningrad stories at once. Some of the images, about a time I knew little about, were harrowing. It made me so thankful I have never lived through a world war and the tragedies that result. Other
Jan 31, 2017 Camie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Meredith and Nina's father lies dying he extracts a promise from his grown daughters that they will get to know and take care of their frail mother Vera (Anya) and that in return she will tell them the ending of a tale that they have never completely heard. This is harder than expected as Vera has been a cold distant mother and her daughters have always felt loved only by their father. However as the harrowing story of her previous life in war-torn Leningrad unfolds the past begins to mingle ...more
Dec 01, 2012 Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
I have just turned the last page,cleared my throat from holding back tears, and set this beautiful novel on my night stand. Let my review begin...

At the beginning I thought some of the dialogue was cheesy, but I could see a story developing. I didn't know until about half way through what an amazing, haunting, mesmerizing story awaited. The way Hannah wrote Vera's story was so vivid I felt I played the character of Vera's shadow and felt every emotion and saw the world through her eyes.

It was i
Feb 21, 2017 Bea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ufff ahora lo termino y todavía tengo los sentimientos a flor de piel! Otra joya la que ha escrito Kristin Hannah, como ya hizo con El Ruiseñor, nos transporta a la segunda guerra mundial donde nos hace sentir los horribles sucesos que tuvieron que vivir muchas personas. Los personajes se te meten debajo de la piel y puedes sentir su dolor. Pero también puedes sentir la fuerza, el amor, la superación, muchos valores que se potencian en esta gran historia y que hacen que se convierta en un NOVELÓ ...more
Ellen Black
Mar 20, 2011 Ellen Black rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My daughter recommended Kristin Hannah's book, Winter Garden, to me. As my daughter said, "Mom, I don't think you would have liked Kristin's other books, because they're light reading for housewives. But I think you might like this book, because it's complex and has a historical bent to it."

So, I decided to read Winter Garden, and I'm very glad that I did. The story tells of two sisters, who lead very disparate lives, but are forced to deal with each other and their mother, who had always been v
Aug 22, 2011 Irene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I may be unfairly harsh on this book because it is not my preferred reading. This is a recycled story. A woman endures overwhelming trauma as a young adult and emotionally shuts down in order to survive. But, the pain carried in secret, crushes her relationship with daughters. It is only when the adult daughter can learn the mother’s story that empathy can grow and affection can flow between the generations. This is The Bone Setter’s Daughter with the substitution of Russia for China. Only, this ...more
Maricarmen Mar
Mar 25, 2017 Maricarmen Mar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leído, leído-2017
Otra novela preciosa que ha escrito la autora con un final emotivo y desgarrador. La terminé anoche con un soponcio impresionante. Tanto como con El ruiseñor o quizás un poquito más porque esta historia es más directa personalmente y te deja acongojada, pero aun así El ruiseñor en el capítulo 4 me cautivó completamente y este Jardín de invierno ha sido más hacia la mitad.
No es que no me haya gustado, la narración es maravillosa y la prosa sencilla y fácil de leer; tiene el toque de Kristin y la
Kristin Hannah never fails to bring a story together full of history and wonderful characters. The Winter Garden is no exception. The historical facts behind this book are ones I was not familiar with...the siege of Leningrad at the end of WW2. There were so many areas of destruction with this war and I have been introduced to so many aspects of it through several novels of late.

Nina and Merideth are sisters who adored the father that was their whole world. They return home as he becomes ill a
Dec 07, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traded, chick-lit
Not my usual type of read, but I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway and started on it right away. To be honest, I almost put it down at the beginning because I didn't like many of the characters, especially Meredith who pretty much turned me off instantly. Though I did eventually find myself caught up in Meredith and Jeff's story, the floundering relationship between two people who were childhood sweethearts - could their cold marriage turn warm again? But at the heart of the book ...more
I picked this book for two reasons, one- I recently read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and after it being one of the best books I read lately, I was eager for more!
The other reason I picked this book out of her many best sellers was the WWII subject (yea, no surprise here, if you know me a little bit).
So, what went wrong FOR ME was, that it wasn't like the blurb suggested- a story about two sisters learning their mother's story about what happened to her in Leningrad during the blockage, it
Aug 07, 2010 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My sister got my hopes up, oddly, when she said this was chick lit disguised as intellectual - but I couldn't even find the disguise!
This book fell into the category of those home spin wonders of Eileen Gouge and other women who either watch too much of the wrong TV or read the wrong books or something. This had all the things I could hate about a book - writing like, - she worked hard to be the mother her mother wasn't. And she succeeded. She was best friends with her daughters.
Or, bette
Julie Markham
I was saddened to read some of the reviews calling this story trash. I think having read The Bronze Horseman series about this very tragic time in Russia's history gave me a better understanding and appreciation of what the mother went through, how it haunted her her entire life and made her so hardened and cold and how that affected her daughters and their lives. I loved the fairytale element that was woven throughout and the journey of all of the characters finding themselves and each other. I ...more
Apr 30, 2010 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could, I would give the first half of this book 1 star, from about the middle until the final chapter 5 stars, and the final chapter 3 stars - - - so I guess that, all in all, the 3 star rating is probably the most accurate.

This is the second Kristin Hannah book I have read where I have actively DISLIKED the main characters throughout the first half of the book (the other was "True Colors"). Nina and Meredith are the daughters, Anya is the mother - - -and as someone said in an earlier revi
Mirela Ivancevic
Nov 23, 2015 Mirela Ivancevic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Marta Marlau
Feb 15, 2017 Marta Marlau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ha sido desgarrador a la vez que precioso. Al principio le costó arrancar a la trama pero llega un momento en el que no pude parar de leer. Parece increíble que esta autora lo haya vuelto a hacer. Remueve sentimientos con cada giro...
Oct 01, 2016 Hildy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to slap myself for not reading this sooner. It was so emotional and very reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman. I loved it!
Nov 28, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bocd
More like 2.5 stars. I listened to this on CD. The first half gets too bogged down in mundane details. There are too many chapters when we are told that Meredith goes for a run, Meredith sits on the porch with her coffee, Meredith feeds the dogs, Meredith treats her husband coldly, Meredith is frustrated and hurt by her mother. Yes, we get the point already. Meredith's life is mundane and not what she dreamed it would be. Get on with the story!

The story within the story, the so-called Fairy Tale
Mar 08, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sweeter-reads
5 big stars!!! I haven't cried this much since I finished Gone With The Wind!

Going into this book, I really had no idea what it was going to be about; I'm not a huge synopsis reader. All I knew was that Kristin Hannah wrote it and most everybody in my book club loves her. Now I know why she is so popular. Through her brilliantly, flawless writing, is a story that hits directly at your heart... and keeps tugging and twisting at it until the very end.

The beginning of the book was on the slower si
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Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including the blockbuster Firefly Lane and #1 bestsellers Night Road and Home Front. She is a former lawyer turned writer and is the mother of one son. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband.
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“We women make choices for others, not for ourselves, and when we are mothers, we...bear what we must for our children. You will protect them. It will hurt you; it will hurt them. Your job is to hide that your heart is breaking and do what they need you to do.” 75 likes
“They would always be a family, but if she'd learned anything in the past few weeks it was that a family wasn't a static thing. There were always changes going on. Like with continents, sometimes the changes were invisible and underground, and sometimes they were explosive and deadly. The trick was to keep your balance. You couldn't control the direction of your family any more than you could stop the continental shelf from breaking apart. All you could do was hold on for the ride.” 38 likes
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