Book Rating (343)
Narrator Rating (96)

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

'A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women.'—People

'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

'With forceful narrative drive, Whelan delivers a compelling performance of Hannah's memorable new novel.' -- AudioFile Magazine

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  • Tracy B.

    So sad that one of my favorite authors has decided to thinly disguise this political opinion as a novel?! Even though my opinions line up with hers, I’m sick of these preachy, get-woke “best sellers”. In the effort to get her point across, the story is long, boring, repetitive, and overkill with details that seemed to be there to just take up space on the page. Stuck with it til over half way, then gave up. I have never NOT finished a novel:(

    Book Rating

  • Linda I.

    Disappointing at best. Much to long, too many details and felt that it lacked depth. This author could write for YA. Boring after 3 chapters. Did not care about the characters. I fell asleep during the audio for about an hour and still knew what was happening when I missed a few chapters. Not a fan.

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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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  • 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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  • Amy V.

    I liked the story and the details. I didn’t think it was too political. But the ending did disappoint.

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  • Susan haley

    The character Jenny was fun.

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  • Linda E.

    At first. I wasn’t sure of this book! It was really vivid and depressingly long at the beginning! As a lover of historical fiction, I kept with it! It isn’t the feel good story of the year but it is a wonderful portrayal of what our American ancestors went through at the early 1900s! A very moving book! I really liked the interview with the author and her narrator at the end! Very interesting!

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  • Robin B.

    I loved this book. It was very well written, researched and I learned so much about the history of the Dust Bowl and life during those amazing times. The narration is spot on.. Julia again knocks it out of the park. Too often we are taught history through a man’s perspective. It was refreshing to hear this history through a woman’s eyes. After all, the gender roles and social mores were different then from what they are now. I highly recommend giving this fabulous production a whirl.

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  • Melissa A.

    This was a gripping book with great narration. The historical fiction angle is extremely well done. I think the author excels in describing the characters’ feelings and inner struggles. When they make bad decisions, they seem human and sympathetic. Very well done.

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  • Anonymous

    I will start by saying it’s absolutely beautifully written. It is captivating. But it is heavy and will stick with you for a while.

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