1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves…

2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago…

Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother’s bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.

In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah


I felt so many emotions reading this book; sadness, frustration, joy.  I was moved to tears throughout the book.  I felt invested in these characters, without even trying on my part.

The book opens up with a sad incident, which is the lynchpin for the rest of the story.  It works though, and the story we read is one that is not only heartbreaking, but also uplifting.  There are two stories unfolding as the book continues, one deep in the past and one in the book’s present day.  Both of these stories are changing the lives of all involved and are deftly woven together to create a whole.

Kristin Hannah writes in a way that is an emotional journey, and at the end of that journey is a satisfying conclusion.

I’m looking forward to reading other books by the same author and I hope they have the same emotional pull that this one does.