PMC Book Club Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah


With most books I read, I try to ask myself who I would be in the story or even who I would want to be.

Would I have Atticus Finch’s moral compass? 

Would I have the reasoning and kind heart of Piggy? 

Could I have the fortitude of Kya?

My answer to Kristin Hannah’s newest novel, The Four Winds, has lit a fire within me to be a warrior-like protagonist, Elsanor Martinelli.

Set in the Dust Bowl, Hannah’s latest novel is an epic tale following Elsa- a family outcast who we initially meet as she suffers from her parent’s cruel words and cold hearts. 

Choices bring Elsa to live the life of a farmer in the Texas panhandle and become a loving, devoted mother trying to ensure her kids’ survival during the great droughts and Great Depression.

In desperation, life takes Elsa and her two children, Anthony “Ant” and Loreda, to California in hopes to escape the hardships of the Great Plains and starting a new life in the land of “milk and honey,” only to face the wrath of the big growers, bigotry of the natives, and cruelty of poverty.

This beautifully written novel explores multiple relevant thematic topics-themes of beauty, sexism, power, bigotry, friendship- but most powerfully is the theme of love. 

Elsa craved love her entire life. Her parents withheld it; her husband failed at it, but her children taught her everything about it. 

This is the most poignant aspect Hannah explores- the courage a mother summons to fight for the hope that her children not only survive the hardships of life but ultimately thrive in the face of them. 

Four WindsI thank the author for penning such a touching and sweeping tale of survival and Woe in a time when we all could use that reminder that is given to us throughout the novel:

“hardship is temporary, but love always remains.”

Discussion Questions from the Book Club Meeting for your consideration:
  1. This novel is rich in many historical aspects and Hannah’s research is evident.  What is one thing that surprised you to learn while reading?
  2. There were many parallels to present-day society that even Hannah herself has identified and even mentioned were not all intentional, but upon publication were very evident, especially concerning the Covid-19 pandemic.  What parallel or similarities did you find?
  3. There are many topics this novel explores beyond the Dust Bowl- labor laws, motherhood, strength, beauty, fortitude, rejection, etc.  What really touched you the most?

Our next book is “Growing Boldly: Dare to Build a Life You Love” by Emily Ley. If you’d like to join us, be sure to join our Facebook group to get updates on book selections, meeting dates, and interact with other Pensacola area moms.

PMC Book Club



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