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March 01, 2021



I'm heading to the library today to check this out! I am a fan of the Depression era books as my mom was born into a farming family in 1931. Anything relating to the time she was a child is extremely interesting to me. I am a huge Hannah fan and am really interested in your opinion on this one.


I also had mixed feelings about this book Her writing pulls you in to her stories and I love that. The parallels to The Grapes of Wrath were on my mind When I reread it later in life with more understanding it was a heart breaker as was this book I was a teary mess in many places all the way up to the end. I’m glad I read it. Having empathy for others and doing something to change their circumstances is fraught with many underlying threads I also enjoyed The Nightingale I marvel at how strong the will to live is and fight for love of family and what one believes in

Anne Simonot

Hated The Great Alone.. I had to DNF it as the toxic, co-dependent parents made me want to scream. I think I’ll pass on this one!

Carla HR

Hmm, I really enjoyed The Nightingale and will probably give this one a try, based on your comments won’t buy it but wait until I can borrow it from the Library. I see that it is available as an audio book on Scribd so might give that a try.
Have a lovely week.


I found it depressing and frustrating also. I wanted the main character to prevail rather than be a victim. The communism made me uncomfortable. The writing is excellent. Perhaps I needed an escape and this wasn’t a happy place.


I too was not a fan of this book. It meandered and felt unfocused for a majority of the story. It’s not comparable to Grapes of Wrath only that she uses the same subject matter and time frame. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters and the love story thrown in toward the end felt too contrived. I give this one a thumbs down.


I admire your honest assessments when you post your book reviews. This author doesn't seem to be my preferred genre but I'm reading everyones' take on her books with interest. Stay well!


I didn't appreciate the Great Alone but loved the Nightingale. I listened to this one last week. She seems to enjoy killing off characters a lot and her stories aren't upbeat at all but for some reason I am drawn to them. I don't like the political views either although I think there was a lot of communism being tossed about in those days. I feel like CA and the people here are doomed like those folks running from the dust bowl. There is little hope here too. So many loved ones have left CA in the last few years.

Debi Bacon

Oh my goodness. I usually read the books you recommend and usually like them - the worst I ever think of your choice is "it's too slow". I love Kristin Hannah, usually. I read this for my book group and I loved it. Was it depressing? Yes, of course and I kept thinking about my own grandparents and kept thinking how lucky I was not to have lived in that time. I haven't read much about the Depression and it gave me a very good perspective. How could anything but sorrow come from reading about the Depression. It was an awful time in our history and I thought she represented it well. As for characters, don't we all wish all women were strong and resilient? But of course our society is made up of all kinds and the mom's story was one of not feeling loved, of having choices made for you by others, of your children not appreciating you, of finding more love from people not of your dna that from that of your dna, of men leaving their wives. I thought all characters were wonderfully fleshed out (except perhaps her parents). As for the communist bent. The truth is that even today we take advantage of migrant workers. Those touting communism were fighting against capitalism which took advantage (and still takes advantage) of the poor and at that time communism was about everyone sharing and noone owning. I hope the angst and uncomfortableness reading about communism also happens when we read about slave owners and factory owners and mine owners and all the other efforts that come from capitalism but that take advantage of the poor. I'm sure the fact that the self-avowed communists were the ones helping others rankled. Finally, I think there was a lot of courage in this woman. Can you imagine feeling so unloved but then finding love like she did with her MIL? And the journey her daughter took was incredible. I loved the book.

Linda V.

Debi Bacon, I loved your assessment of the book. Great input of what the author was trying to express. Kristen Hannah has a wide appeal as an author, a writing style that pulls you in and shows you different perspectives of life during challenging times.

Stephani in N. TX

Enjoyed the Kristin Hannah books you named. Have just been thinking of ordering this lst book of hers, but may order some Steinbeck books. He was a favorite of mine in college. I could always use a little of Mice and Men. Maybe they will counterbalance.

Kathi Holland

I felt the very same about this book. I can't believe it is so popular.

Robby H.

This is interesting to see, and even more interesting to read these comments. I am an avid reader, even more so as a child and I thought Grapes of Wrath would never end. Later I discovered I'm just not a Steinbeck fan. So, there's that. I'll skip this one. So many books, so little time. Thanks for provoking the discussion and sharing your thoughts.


Loved the Nightingale, so now am interested to read this too. Very interesting comments. Love the conversations!


I was anxious to read this book because I loved her other books . I have mixed emotions about this book. The story drew me in and I didn’t want to stop reading. BUT I was so down after finishing it that I haven’t picked up another book yet! I love reading your blog for the reading reviews! I did learn somethings I didn’t know about that time period and that part of the country. I really enjoy historical fiction.

Sue Slater

I have learned so much from your reviews in the past and will steer clear of this one. Loved The Nightingale, did not love The Great Alone, and really did not enjoy Winter Garden for many of the reasons you gave for not liking this new one. However, I do think Debi's points on capitalism and communism are well-made. Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts.SSS

Susan Ramey Cleveland

I have it on my TBR list. But for some reason, I haven't been enthusiastic about getting to it. I think it's the subject matter. I've loved her other books, especially Nightingale. I have not been a fan of depression-era books. Too depressing and oftentimes squalid. But I'll probably still give this one a go.

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