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The Four Winds: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Julia Whelan

15 Hours 2 Minutes

Macmillan Audio

February 2021

Audio Book Summary


'The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times

'Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind.' —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

'Julia Whelan is herself a master storyteller because it’s absolute magic how she brings this novel to life for listeners. Her emotional rendering will bring tears and laughter and she portrays every character perfectly, men women and children...Have the tissues close when you put those earbuds in.' -- Reading Franzy

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  • Anonymous

    This book was so well written, presented, and interesting I was totally stuck until I finished it. This was Kristin Hannah’s best book yet. I found it remarkable to recognize the parallel similarities to the current state of our world.

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  • Anonymous

    Hannah did it again - another great, touching read with great, likable characters. It’s “Grapes of Wrath” from a woman/mother’s perspective. Great reader, too!

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  • Anonymous

    Really good read. However if you have read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah you can’t help but recognize the similarities. Main character was estranged from her family, trying to overcome her personal struggles, in a bad marriage, living in bad conditions, struggling with enough to eat, trying to make her daughter stronger, falls in love with a good man, ends up dying and daughter becomes a strong independent women. All that said, Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors and she never disappoints.

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  • Anonymous

    great writing, but i thought it very depressing.

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  • Neal R.

    Julia is a brilliant narrator and truly bright the story to life

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  • Destiny J.

    The book itself is good, but the way the narrator speaks while reading as the children is unsufferable.

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  • CJohanna

    Epic story, brilliant narration. Loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Kristin Hannah's books always touch my heart & this book was no exception. Without realizing it I would find myself crying with the characters & their story.

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  • Lacey T.

    This was one of her best books! I hate 1930’s dates in books but this was so good! I cried at the end!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Loved the strength of the characters

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