This post contains affiliate links. I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah earlier this year, which I loved, and since then, I’ve been on a mission to read more of her books. Winter Garden was highly rated on Goodreads, so I requested it from the library and waited. But, I have to say, Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah gets mixed reviews from me.
About Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
The first half of the story focuses heavily on two sisters–Meredith and Nina–who are about as different as two sisters can be. Meredith, the older sibling, is uptight and emotionless. She is very type-A and runs the family apple business. Nina is carefree and afraid of commitment. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning photo journalist and travels the world for her career.
Their mother, Anya, is Russian and cold and aloof. Neither girl is close to her mother; instead, they love their father who is fun and loving and makes up for his wife’s weaknesses.
When their father dies, he makes the girls promise to take care of their mother and listen to one of her Russian fairytales, something Meredith hasn’t done in years.
While it’s intially difficult for the girls to connect with their mother, eventually they start to. She begins the fairytale, and it’s not long before both girls realize this isn’t a fairytale at all but a story about Anya and her past in Russia.
I’ll be honest, this book drove me insane for the first 150 pages. I got so tired of Meredith’s whining and lack of affection toward her husband, and Nina’s ability to avoid commitment got repetitive quickly. The only person I liked in the story was the father, and he died! Anya was one-dimensional to me. In fact, I was ready to stop reading this book, but I went on one of my Facebook reading groups to ask about the book, and everyone assured me the story was worth the read.
Finally, after I was about 50% done with the book, the story did pick up. I loved Anya’s story. The second half of this book is very good, but I dislike that I had to sludge through many, many pages to get there. The first 150 pages could have easily been reduced to 30 or 40 pages to get to Anya’s story faster.
I give Winter Garden 3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.