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message 1: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Cindy and I are planning on buddy reading this together on Sunday. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let us know here. We would love to have you join. =)

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

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 home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father fails ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

message 2: by Jencey/ (new)

Jencey/ (jencey) Just curious but what do you mean by buddy read? I don't have the book but would like to know for the future.

message 3: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments We will read and discuss it together. Like a group read but well, without the group. =)

message 4: by Jencey/ (new)

Jencey/ (jencey) That is cool! Would be interested in the future! :) Look forward to your comments on the book.

message 5: by Cindy (last edited Feb 19, 2010 03:31PM) (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Hey Jencey! Feel free to drop back in on this topic anytime. I know there are several waiting for the book still.

Hope that some more of you have the book already and can join in reading it with us (now). I'm excited to start!!

message 6: by Vikki (new)

Vikki | 304 comments ***Spoiler Alert***
I loved this book. I read some of the reviews on GR after I finished the book and was surprised to hear people say they couldn't connect with the characters. It seemed like negative reviews carried the same theme of not being able to connect with the emotionally stunted characters. I think one of the reasons why the book pulled me so quickly was because of the characters having some emotional challenges. I immediately wanted to know what caused Anya to act so coldly towards her daughters.

Anyone feel like the characters were to emotionally stunted to be able to connect with them?

message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I just finished the other book I was reading and am getting ready to start this one!! Sorry I didn't get started earlier in the day! Will check back in after I read a little bit of it!

message 8: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments I didn't get very far myself. I plan on reading more today.

message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments -Spoiler-

OK, was worried about this book since I just finished the CeeCee book that I really Loved. Sometimes it's hard to get into another book after you finish one that you like so well, for me anyway.
I have to say I was hooked with the prologue of this book!
The mother is a bitch that's all. How dare she treat her daughters like that! The girls were so very excited about the play and then Anya just ruined it, squished it, made them feel so bad! I don't believe that this book will hold any redemption for Anya on the way I feel about her already! I don't care what she lived through!!

There got that off my chest!! :)

message 10: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments The prologue hooked and disappointed me as well. It reminded me of the beginning of a Danielle Steel book whose name I can't recollect. Rich family... parents were having a dinner party and they sent her off to bed with a sitter to keep her away and they were mortified to see her on the stairs or something like that. This reminded me a bit of that.

message 11: by Cindy (last edited Feb 22, 2010 08:01AM) (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments -Spoiler- Chapter 1-3
The first chapter was more about Meredith, the second chapter about Nina.
I was happy to see that Meredith did indeed marry her 'friend' Jeff, but it saddened me that there seemed to be trouble in the marriage and they had drifted apart.
Nina's life sounds crazy! When she was shooting the pictures of the poached gorilla, that was awful! To travel the world taking pictures of war and awful events, well it doesn't sound like fun to me at all. It seems Danny is ready to take their relationship to the next level, but Nina can't commit that much of herself. I figured the girls were going to have emotional problems given the way their mother treated them.
I was also sad that their father is the one who becomes ill and not their 'mean mean' mother. Isn't that the way it works though? And I still don't like all!!
Ready to start Chapter 4.

message 12: by Mandy Sue (last edited Feb 22, 2010 01:56PM) (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments SPOILERS ✓

I'm just starting Chapter 4, and wanted to put my thoughts in on Meredith....

I was reading and wondering if now that the kids are gone she has a void because her relationship revolved around the kids in an effort to be different than her mom. Maybe that is the reason she denies her husband the companionship that he is longing for? I'm sure I will find out sooner or later, I just wanted to put that out there before I find out.

message 13: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Mandy, I figured the same thing. She is trying so hard to be completely different from her own mother and now that her kids are gone, she has no reason or meaning left in her life. We'll see if that is it!

message 14: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Can't wait to find out how far you are now, Cindy.

message 15: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments SPOILER - Got to Page 92 almost the end of Ch 6 - before I fell asleep last night. Their father has died, Nina has left, Meredith is working herself to death and the mother is acting weird... Feels like the book is building up to something; probably a shocking revelation from the mother! ?? :)

message 16: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Yes, Cindy!! I'm on page 143 and we are still working towards the shocking revelation. It is getting deep and I am really loving Meredith now and not liking Nina very much.

message 17: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Really?? I'm liking Nina more than Meredith! Maybe I'll change my mind by Pg 143!

message 18: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Yeah, I didn't like Meredith in the beginning but now I am feeling for her. Here character is pretty multi-dimensional. Nina's is starting to seem selfish. I'll wait before I go into more details.

Wasn't it sad when the Father died? The mother trying to keep him warm made me cry. It was so heartbreaking. I had to put the book down.

I'm now starting to feel for the mother as well. Her story is starting to open up and there is a reason why she is so distant to her daughters...I'm just waiting to find out why.

message 19: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Yes, it was so very sad and I do have to admit I am feeling for the mother too. Seems like she has a tortured soul.

message 20: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Grohol (bookfan5555) | 2 comments I finished reading Winter Garden a few days ago and I simply loved it. It was an amazing book and hated to end the book. Kristin Hannah always writes amazing books and this one was no exception. It was a sad book for the most part but you understand why once you continue reading the mother's story. One of my top favorite books for 2010.

message 21: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Stephanie, Thanks for sharing your great thoughts about this book! The farther along I read, the more I like it!

Read up to Page 115 on my lunch hour, ready to start Chapter 8. I see what you mean Mandy, about Nina being selfish and feeling sorry for Meredith...I'm starting to feel the same way. Ch 7 ended with the phone call from Meredith to Nina where Meredith didn't wind up telling her sister to get her butt home and help...which is exactly what should have happened.
Anxious to see how this is all going to play out. Will Meredith really send Anya to the nursing home? Will Meredith & Jeff ever have their 'talk'? How much more can Meredith take before she finally breaks? All questions that you may already have answers to by now Mandy!!

Stephanie, Vikki and others who have read the entire book; which sister did you like more by the end of the book?? Did you wind up sympathizing and feeling sorrow for the mother??

message 22: by Jencey/ (new)

Jencey/ (jencey) You should really write Kristin Hannah and let her know how much you like her book. She has a facebook page that is a fan page or her website is I know that she would value your feedback. :)

message 23: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Stephanie ~ Please join us in our discussion. =)

Thanks for the info Jencey. I love Kristin Hannah!!

Cindy ~ I haven't read much more than you....actually I'm on 181 and that's all for tonight. Check your inbox.

message 24: by Cindy (last edited Feb 24, 2010 08:01AM) (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Chapter 8 to Chapter 11 - I'm now on Page 162 and the mother is just starting to tell her 'fairy tale'. I can see how you would feel sorry for Meredith, but in my mind, she has done it to herself. Not real sure which sister I like more at this point. I did like the fact that Nina went back and 'rescued' her mother, but want to see how it all plays out. It seems Nina just doesn't grasp the true situation...probably because she's never been there.

message 25: by Vikki (new)

Vikki | 304 comments Cindy wrote: "Chapter 8 to Chapter 11 - I'm now on Page 162 and the mother is just starting to tell her 'fairy tale'. I can see how you would feel sorry for Meredith, but in my mind, she has done it to herself...."

Keep reading....

I don't think Meredith has done it to herself I think she is a product of her upbringing. She doesn't know how to live for her own enjoyment.

Nina for me has some of the same issues but displays them differently, she was able to do what she wants to do but....she uses it as an escape hatch instead of getting involved.

message 26: by Vikki (new)

Vikki | 304 comments Cindy wrote: "Stephanie, Thanks for sharing your great thoughts about this book! The farther along I read, the more I like it!

Read up to Page 115 on my lunch hour, ready to start Chapter 8. I see what you me..."

I am not sure I had a favorite sister so to speak, but I think I identified with Meredith more. I have at times in my own life been the one who takes on to much for everyone else and has put my own happiness off to the side.

As far as Anya goes I really wanted to slap her silly in the beginning. I wondered if were a culture issue that made her so stand offish but once she started telling her story I realized there was something there, something that has held her prisoner.


I can't imagine how growing up in a war torn country and how hard it would be to survive and I wouldn't want to imagine it. Kristin Hannah did an excellent job of making me see how it would change someone that did survive. I felt Anya's pain at watching her children starve and I could imagine how horrible it was to feel your children's bones every time you touched them. How horrible would it be as a mother to feel that your children were dying right before your eyes and there was nothing you could do to stop it?

message 27: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Okay trying to type this without reading the above post. I am on Chapter 14 and am really enjoying the story telling. It is having me question a lot and it has my full interest. I hope I can read more tonight.

Right now, I am loving all the characters including the mom. I am starting to understand the different ways they deal with their troubles and I am starting to see how they are going to become a family by the ending. (Or so I hope)

message 28: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Chapter 12 and 13....Read these two chapters on my lunch hour and really really don't want to be at work anymore! Want to be at home reading! The fairy tale is becoming very engrossing and I can't wait to find out what happened! Whatever it is, I'm sure it is going to be shocking and sad!

message 29: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments Waiting for you to finish Cindy so we can really discuss it. My Goodness, by far one of my favorite books ever!!

message 30: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Sorry to say I didn't get any reading done last night at all! Will read on my lunch hour and this evening!

message 31: by Mandy Sue (new)

Mandy Sue (mettakaruna) | 811 comments I'll be waiting. =)

message 32: by Vikki (new)

Vikki | 304 comments Well Cindy, how are you doing on your reading?

message 33: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I'm on Page 244 now! I actually fell asleep reading last night...stayed up way too late reading it! They are now trying to find the Professor and trying to get to the bottom of their mother's identity. Very engrossing! Wanna go home and finish it!!

message 34: by Maria (new)

Maria (mhenkel) I can't wait to start reading it.

message 35: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments -Spoilers-
Read on my lunch hour and am now on Page 266! I need to be reading instead of being on the computer! I'm in the middle of one of the fairy tale stories. They just boarded the ship for the cruise to Alaska. It seems that Meredith is really soul searching for what SHE wants from life and Nina...I just hope she figures things all out about committing to her boyfriend Danny who seems so great! She admitted that she loved him so what's the problem?? Yea I know, it's a little deeper than that but it just seems sometimes people mess things up when the answer seems so simple.
Did I forget there for a minute that this was just a story? HaHa!!

message 36: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I finished this book!! Yay!! I really liked the ending of it which was just fantastic! I haven't read many books which can top this ending, that's how good it was! I highly suggest reading this book!! You won't be disappointed; it's the best one of hers I have read so far!

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