Customer Reviews for

Winter Garden: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 1226 )
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(725)

4 Star

(284)

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(131)

2 Star

(53)

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(33)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

33 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

This is an awesome book!!!!

This was my first time reading Kristen Hannah and I was absolutely mesmerized by this story and the way she portrayed the characters. It was a heartwrenching story of a time in history that changed so many lives and gave us a picture of how it changed a family forever. ...
This was my first time reading Kristen Hannah and I was absolutely mesmerized by this story and the way she portrayed the characters. It was a heartwrenching story of a time in history that changed so many lives and gave us a picture of how it changed a family forever. I was not able to put the book down once I started it and was drawn into the intrigue of what the secret of Anya's life was and what had turned her so cold. Kristen Hannah's storytelling in this novel give us a close decription of the connection between families and how love can prevail. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story and has time to curl up and enjoy this book.

posted by GrannnyJude on March 6, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

such a let down

I have read almost every book Kristin Hannah wrote, and Winter Garden was a disappointment to me. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the historical background work on Anya's life, it was very interesting to see what she went though, and why she was the way she is now. yet ...
I have read almost every book Kristin Hannah wrote, and Winter Garden was a disappointment to me. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the historical background work on Anya's life, it was very interesting to see what she went though, and why she was the way she is now. yet the book seem to drag to me, it took about 11 chapters too long to get to the point. The end completely ruined it for me. Way too cheesy!! Reminded me of bad romance novel. Life definately isn't a fairy tale. I also had a hard time figuring out why they had to do to that certain house in Alaska. I had to read that section three times to figure it out. I hope the next book Hannah writes, she goes back to her normal style of writing.

posted by wheeze on May 10, 2010

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an awesome book!!!!

    This was my first time reading Kristen Hannah and I was absolutely mesmerized by this story and the way she portrayed the characters. It was a heartwrenching story of a time in history that changed so many lives and gave us a picture of how it changed a family forever. I was not able to put the book down once I started it and was drawn into the intrigue of what the secret of Anya's life was and what had turned her so cold. Kristen Hannah's storytelling in this novel give us a close decription of the connection between families and how love can prevail. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story and has time to curl up and enjoy this book.

    33 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Great story with great likeable characters. The winter garden is Kristin Hannah's best book.

    28 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another Great Read by Kristin Hannah

    Great book about two sisters who grow up thinking their mother hates them. When their father passes they promise him that they will take care of their mother and make her tell them a childhood fairy tale that she has kept to herself for many years. In doing so they learn who their mother is and much about the women they have become. A very heartwarming read. Kleenex necessary! I love Kristin Hannah's stories. They are always touching!

    27 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    such a let down

    I have read almost every book Kristin Hannah wrote, and Winter Garden was a disappointment to me. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the historical background work on Anya's life, it was very interesting to see what she went though, and why she was the way she is now. yet the book seem to drag to me, it took about 11 chapters too long to get to the point. The end completely ruined it for me. Way too cheesy!! Reminded me of bad romance novel. Life definately isn't a fairy tale. I also had a hard time figuring out why they had to do to that certain house in Alaska. I had to read that section three times to figure it out. I hope the next book Hannah writes, she goes back to her normal style of writing.

    18 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A CAPTIVATING FAIRY TALE!

    In this beautiful book, the reader is brought into the lives of three women. On the bank of the Columbia River, there is a huge house that gives the reader the feel of a fairytale,that is sitting in an ice-covered apple orchard. Living inside are twelve-year-old girl named Meredith Whitson and her sister, Nina. Meredith wants only one thing in life, just as her sister does, to make their mother show some semblance of love and affection toward them. The only kindness their mother shows them is when she tells them fairy tales in the evening before they go to sleep.

    Meredith grows up and marries Jeff and they have two children. Meredith works hard at the apple orchard for her beloved father. She is the responsible one, standing by her father's side and taking care of everyone she knows. But she is constantly sad. She's tried very hard to be the best wife and mother, but the solitude she feels in her heart is breaking her marriage apart. Nina becomes a little wild. Her life is spent as a photo-journalist for magazines like The National Geographic. Wherever there is war,or strife, Nina runs to that place and snaps her photos of human atrocities. Nina, unlike her sister, is constantly running from love, from life, throwing herself into harm's way in order to avoid the past.

    When their father grows old, he begs his two beloved daughters to get to know their mother, to give her a chance. The daughter's make a solemn vow to try and then find themselves back in the house in the apple orchard, coercing their cold-hearted mother into revealing who she really is and why she has hated them all their lives.

    Anya, their mother, is a woman who spends all her time sitting in her small, cold winter garden, on a frost-covered bench full of icicles. She is suffering from a heartbreaking past that she doesn't know how to talk about. She has blamed herself for years for the life she left behind in Russia when she married their father and moved to the States, finding peace in the arms of the man who loved her.

    Together, the three women sit and begin to open up about their lives. Kristin Hannah reveals the full story of one of the fairytales Anya had told the girls as children, centering around a peasant and a prince,unveiliing what she holds deep inside her. This is a woman who has lived in a constant state of regret and remorse, unable to share her secrets to her daughters.


    This is truly captivating and will hold your compete attention until you read the last page!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    This is one of the most powerful books on the defining relationship between mothers and daughters that I have ever read.

    Can we ever truly know ourselves until we know our mother's story? This is the question this book asks and answers as we are transported from rural Washington State to Africa to World War II Leningrad and the sweeping beauty of Alaska. Winter lives in their hearts, and their mother, Anya lives in a world of cold white silence, spending hours sitting on a bench in her Winter Garden. Meredith and Nina Whitson lead very different lives: Meredith has stayed at home to raise two daughters and run the family apple orchard while Nina has traveled to Africa to take pictures of strong "warrior" women, spotlighting man's inhumanity to man and the incredible strength it takes to survive war, famine and the ravages of nature. Both are in stable relationships, but there is something lacking in each of them. Meredith is so wrapped up in her duties running the orchard and clinging vicariously to her daughter's college lives that she neglects her marriage to childhood sweetheart, Jay. Nina has been involved with Irish journalist Danny for many years, but her career has always come first.

    When their father suffers a sudden heart attack, he urges his daughters to get their mother to finish the fairy tale she told them as children. Anya's seeming dementia and reluctance to tell the story make it difficult, but Nina's insistence finally pulls the story out of her. On a cruise to Alaska, the two sisters grow closer to each other and for the first time in their lives, closer to the mother who they've never known. Her courage and stocicism in the face of immense loss gives everyone reading it a sense that we can survive almost anything life throws at us. The story didn't end with World War II. The surprises keep coming to the last page of the book. As I read the last word, closed the book and sobbed, I vowed: "I'll never complain about anything ever again!" I will re-read this book every year as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the ability of the heart to heal and love.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Enough already!

    The first Kristin Hannah book I read was Firefly Lane. It was such a great book - the first book I ever read that made me cry. I was so excited to read another book by the author. I immediately read about six more books by Kristin Hannah after that and they were each good in their own way. I have to admit though, that I am SO Sick of her using the same ideas in all of her books....I mean, it seems EVERY book has a dead mother, a kid that talks to ghosts and don't even get me started with the setting!!! I mean, could Kristin Hannah please travel somewhere outside of the washington State area - because I am so over it! We get it...marshy rain covered green forests....she could just copy and paste her descriptions of the setting for future books - because I bet I can guess the location!!

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2010

    WINTER GARDEN by KRISTIN HANNAH

    This was my first time reading a book by Kristin Hannah and i must say i absolutely loved WINRER GARDEN. I was on vacation and decided not to go away. So i picked up WINTER GARDEN @ the supermarket spontaneously and did not put down the book for two days. I may have not went away physically but mentally and emotionally i was lost in WINTER GARDEN.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    What a wonderful book!

    I loved this book! It was a nice escape from everyday life. I learned a lot about what the poor people of Russia really went through during this very difficult time period. The characters were strong and really endured things I can't imagine having to go through. I would recommend this book to everyone! Enjoy~

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Kristin Hannah does it again

    I have read every book that Kristin has written.
    This may be one of the most touching and emotion provoking books that I have recently read.
    Don't won't be surprised if this one becomes a film.
    For daughters and mothers without a doubt!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2010

    A must read! Every emotion you have will be in this book.

    This was my first time reading Kristin Hannah's books. I fell in love with this book. It is the type of book when you read the last page you wish there is more and not the ending. I cried, laughed, said the "I can't believe it" out loud. I was reading on the plane on a trip and started crying on the plane, but not for sorrow, but happy tears. When you start to read this book, make sure you have time to finish, because you will not want to put it down! I had to a couple times and couldn't wait till I got back to the book. She is so decriptive with her characters. From beginning to end you will be surprised. How does one think of such a story to write will always amaze me, because this story was more than just fiction. This story could have actually happened, which is just one of the reasons it was an excellent book. It actually had me researching my history on Lenningrad during the war. I am definately going to read her other books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A 'must' read

    This is one of the best books I've ever read....one of my top five favorites! I picked it up last Saturday and could not put it down. There are two stories within the book....one of the present day, estranged family and one of the mother's trials, tribulations, loves and family as a young girl in war-torn Russia. As the present day family struggles to come together, the telling of the mother's story in Russia brings them all together as a family with a surprise and heart-wrenching ending. You must have the kleenex nearby at the end. The story of the mother's life in Russia is very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time. The 'mother' character is someone I would like to know. This is the first Kristin Hannah book I've read and now I want to read her others. I just hope they are as good.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Must read

    Kristin Hannah did a great job in telling this story. Taking a real life historical event and turing it in to a story that bleeds joy, heartache and strength. Russia's history has always been a violent one up until recentally, the fact that she could tell bring historical issues to light in such an uplifing book is remarable. The storry of two daughter learning about their mother's past to explain so much about not only her but also themselves. A woman who can endure so much loss in ones life and still have the strength go on is truely inspiring. To loss one child would be hard enough, but to think that you had lost the other one and the love of your life also in a matter of days would be unbareable, and Hannah really showed the pain she went through. Then wrapping the story up with happiness, love and warmth was the best way to end the story. I will be recommending this to all of my friends.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Amazing

    I have to say that I think this book was amazing. I have read several of Kristin Hannah's books. I have really enjoyed the last few. Winter Garden is the kind of book that takes you somewhere completely different than you expect. I highly recommend this book for a read that is unique, detailed, touching...the kind of book you just can't put down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A GREAT SURPRISE!!!!!

    I finished WINTER GARDEN last night and it was AWESOME!!! We are having our BOOK CLUB over this book tonight and I can't wait to discuss it! I know I will be thinking of the characters in this book often. It was an emotional journey and makes you think of your own life and how fortunate we are to live in the times that we do. It also makes you this of how you would react if you were put in Vera's position.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Excellent Reading

    LOVED THIS BOOK! It was a beautiful story, I could not put it down. The characters, the setting, the romance, the sorrow, all put together so well. I would highly recommend this to all.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is...moving. It is a beautiful story of love and loss,

    This book is...moving. It is a beautiful story of love and loss, but with a unique twist. It's something I didn't expect, especially from Kristin Hannah whom I have read a few times before. The ending really pulled at my heart strings with Vera and Sasha, but I won't give it away. It's really a story inside of a story, inside of a story. I really do reccomend this book to someone looking for a good read. Be careful though and stick it all the way through, it kind of drags until it really picks up and is a page turner. Well done! IT really is a must-read, especially if you've read Kristin Hannah before, it's much different than her usual style.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    WOW. I just finished this book in tears. What an amazing story

    WOW. I just finished this book in tears. What an amazing story, weaving history and present times with fluidity. I definitely recommend reading Winter Garden.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Outstanding novel!

    I learned so much about the unspeakable terror and poverty that the Russians endured . The author shows clearly how this early experience continues to destroy lives, even after they are clearly out of danger. What a creative way to show charecter development, history , and family relationships ! I highly recommend this book .

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    Pedestrian and predictable, but comelling

    No text was provided for this review.

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