#fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Books I’m looking forward to in the second half of the year!

Now, I’ve never done a post like this before mainly because I never, ever know what’s coming out. But I’ve done my research as to what’s coming out later in the year and I’ve found some I’m excited about.

1) The Magician by Colm Tóibín

I crave Queer historical fiction and this one sounds like it could be it. I absolutely loved Brooklyn and I’m excited to see what this author does. Set in the period of WWII and featuring a queer main character. Yes please. I’m also very lucky to have a proof of it, so I will be reading it soon.

2) Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

This is the conclusion to this epic trilogy. I fell in love with the first book Serpent & Dove, I am so excited to see where this book ends. I’m excited (and a little scared) to see what happens to my beloved characters. This is really the only series I’m a Stan for. I own two copies of the first to books and I’ve already got two copies of this ordered. So yes, I’m very excited. It’s out in August.

3) Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

I loved Raybearer. Absolutely loved it. It was my favourite fantasy of last year. I could to be more excited for this book. So excited. I can’t wait to see where this book goes and how this brilliant duology wraps up. Please don’t disappoint me. It’s out in August.

3) Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

I love All The Light We Cannot See, is a brilliant book and I’ve been looking forward to Anthony Doerrs book for so long and I’m excited. I don’t even really want to know what it’s about. I just want to be taken away in this story. My expectations are very high. It’s out in September.

4) The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. I am very excited for this one. Elif is a beautiful writer and I’m excited to read more of her lyrical prose. I don’t know much of what this one is about and I’m keeping it that way on purpose. I just want to be swept away. It’s out on August 5th.

5) Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I need this book. I need it so bad. I’m so looking forward to going back to this world. These characters. It’s out October 12th.

That’s it, these are the novels I’m looking forward to in the second half of 2021. I’m sure there’s going to be more added to this list. My poor bank account.

Let me know if you plan on reading any of these.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

May Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. I managed to read 10 books this month. I think I could’ve done more but I got ill at the end of the month and it really slowed me down. I was on such a roll.

There were some books I enjoyed this month, but mostly it was average. Not any ill necessarily remember or rave about. Oh well, there’s always next month.

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up I read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel is only 100 pages but it sure does pack a punch. There are so many interesting aspects to the book that I wanted it to be longer but I think its shortness is what makes it special. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy. It’s out June 8th.

Secondly I read We Run The Tides by Vendela Vida. This book was very middle of the road for me. The writing was just okay, the story was just okay. I just felt like it all could’ve gone further. I just don’t think its a book I’ll remember. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain. I really enjoyed this book. It was a really sweet, wonderful story that I just got lost in and didn’t want to end. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of book. It’s out now.

Fourth this month I read Black buck by Mateo Askaripour. I loved the first half of this novel, I thought it was entertaining and intriguing and had a real message. The second half just lost it for me. There was a reveal which really bought the novel down for me. I don’t know why. Definitely not a bad book, just definitely could’ve been a lot better. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper. I loved the premise of this story but something about it fell flat for me. I wanted so much from it. It needed more description, more depth. I kept willing it to give me more. It wasn’t a bad book, it just could’ve been so much better. I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to the characters. Thanks to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. It’s out now.

Sixth this month I read Diamond Hill by Kit Fan. This one started off slowly for me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I ended up really enjoying it. It had moments of beautiful writing and fantastic, in-depth characters.

Seventh was What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster. There was a lot to like about this novel, strong complex characters, a gripping story with an important message. There’s nothing stand out about it, but it was definitely a good read. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Then I read The Fortune Men by Nadia Mohamed. This one was based on a true story and it’s really captivating and infuriating in the best way. It maybe dragged at the beginning, but this one is definitely worth a read. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. You know, this one just wasn’t for me. It took me an age to read it, I couldn’t get into it. I could see what the author was trying to do, but they didn’t pull it off in my opinion. But I know a lot of people have loved this one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Lastly I read Heaven by Mieko Kawakami. I really enjoyed this book, although due to its subject matter it was hard to read a times. It was another short novel but really packs a punch. I won’t forget this one for a while. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out June 10th.

That’s it for me this month. Are you going to read any of these? Or have you and you didn’t like them? Let me know!

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, review, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

Still Life by Sarah Winman

Title: Still Life

Author: Sarah Winman

Publisher: 4thestatebooks

Length: 487 pages

This is the proof copy, the final copy of the book is beyond beautiful.

Synopsis: It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together. Ulysses Temper is a young British Soldier and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered E.M. Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in particular Florentine room with a view. These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seen in Uylsses’s mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

In Still Life Sarah Winman captures the essence of what it means to be human. It will remind you the importance of being yourself and the wonder of human connection. It’s beautiful, it’s ethereal and its how all books should make you feel. There’s no doubt this will be one of my favourite books of 2021. It’ll probably be one of yours too.

One of the many things that shines in this book is the characters. I’ve never read characters like this before. Sarah has crafted characters that are so complex, so real. The way these characters came to life is astounding to me. Sarah makes you care for everyone of these characters. I still do care for them. I read this two months ago, and i still care about them. They’ll stay with me long after I’ve finished the book.

Also, I’m so glad Evelyn got her own section in the book. I could read a whole book on her. Evelyn has my whole heart. I loved her. And her friendship with Dotty. I love them.

Just a warning this book make you want to travel to Italy.

The connections Sarah creates between the characters is phenomenal, their is an intimacy in the simplicity in the conversations, in the way they know each other, how they feel about each other. It’s a part of what made these characters feel so real. It’s what makes the book unforgettable. It’s what makes me think about the novel even though I read it months ago. I’ve never known another author to create such honest, full connections in a book.

Sarah’s writing is just absolutely stunning. It’s beautiful. I cried because of the story but I also cried because of the beautiful writing. It just hits you right in the heart. Every so often there was a sentence that captured the soul of the character, or described what its like it be human. It’s brilliant. I was basically just weeping for the last quarter of this book. I need all books to be written this well.

I didn’t want this book to end but I couldn’t put it down. I just can’t stop thinking about this book. This book reminds me to have hope, you nebr know what or who’s around the corner. These characters live in my heart now. I adored this book from beginning to end.

Thank you so much to 4thestate books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out June 10th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, bookstagram, fiction, gay, historical fiction, lgbt, literary ficton, queer, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Title: The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Length: 352 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

We’ve all got those books that we heard about and just had to have? And then they just sat on out bookshelves for years? Yep, that was Song of Achilles for me. And I’m glad to say I have finally read it.

Now, what I’m not so pleased to say is that I found this book incredibly disappointing. So many people love this book and when I put it on my bookstagram that was reading it everyone told me how much I’d love it. But I didn’t. I really didn’t.

In the first half of the book focuses on Patroclus who meets Achilles and as the grow up together they slowly fall in love. And the second half is dealing with Patroclus and Achilles at the Trojan war.

For me, the main focus in this book is the love story between Patroclus and Achilles and ultimately it just didn’t do it for me. I was promised an epic love story and it didn’t deliver. It felt shallow and trite. If I had this book at the beginning of my queer book journey I might’ve loved it more but I’ve read much better love stories. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters or the love story. It was a big miss for me.

The second half of the book was so boring. I just wanted it to end. Especially because I didn’t care for the characters meant I didn’t care what happened to them. So when Patroclus died I didn’t care. I didn’t even cry and I cry at everything.

What I did like about this book was the Ancient Greek element. I found it super interesting and I would’ve liked to read more about it. Maybe there’s better books out there set in this period. I know Madeline has another book out but after reading this I don’t think I’ll be picking it up anytime soon.

Maybe my expectations were just too high for this book? Or maybe it just wasn’t good. Let’s go with that. Like I said, I’m glad to have read it but what I’ll remember most about how disappointing it is.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#contemporary, #fantasy, #fiction, #literature, #yafantasy, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, fiction, historical fiction, literary ficton, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

April Wrap Up

Didn’t April fly by? I can’t believe its over already. It was a strange month for me in many ways and it affected my reading. I read nine books this month and I either absolutely loved them or didn’t like them at all. There was no in between.

It took me a while to read some of the books this month, especially the ones I’ve loved because I didn’t want them to end. And if I haven’t enjoyed them I’ve read them super fast. Does anyone else do this?

So lets talk about the books shall we?

First up was Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff Vandermeer. No. Nope. Just no for me. I didn’t like this one at all. To felt pointless and depressing. It’s supposed to be a thriller but I didn’t find it engaging at all. It was dull. I had no desire to learn about Hummingbirds that much. Also, if I ever read the Silvina again I will cry. Literally cry. Thanks to the publishers for gifting me with a copy of this book. It’s out now.

Up next I read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joys Goffney and it was absolutely brilliant. It deals with such important themes to wonderfully. I really need all young adult books to be this good. Seriously. This one is out now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. You can check out my full review here

Thirdly I read Of Women And Salt by Gabriela Garcia. What a book! It’s the kind of book that is so intriguing. The writing is lyrical and brilliant. I was totally enraptured by this book. I just loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

(We’re just taking a break here because I had two five star reads in a row and that deserves to be celebrated.)

Then I read Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein. Well the five star reads didn’t last for long. I just didn’t enjoy this one at all. It also didn’t have much depth, and it was just about a love story. If a book is going to be just about a love story, it needs to be good. And this one just wasn’t. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next was Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli. Now this is how all YA books should be. It was fun, charming, inclusive, funny and romantic. Becky is one of the best young adult authors around. I loved it. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. Well much to my surprise I absolutely loved this book. Full of strong female characters, beautiful story telling and Greek Mythology. It’s really beautifully done. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here

Seventh this month I read Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard. Have I found my favourite new fantasy series? Yes I think I might have. I loved everything about this book. Everything. I need book two now. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out May 4th. You can check out my full review here

Then I read Still Life by Sarah Winman which was absolutely fantastic. It will definitely be one of my favourite books of the year. I loved it. I’ll remember these characters for a long time. Just absolutely brilliant! Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out June 10th.

(Another two five star reads in a row. When does that ever happen?)

Lastly I read Male Tears by Benjamin Myers and I didn’t enjoy this at all. A few of the stories were okay, the rest I didn’t see the point in. Was a big disappointed for me. Maybe the title lead me to believe this was going to be something else, but for me it missed the mark. My favourites were definitely the shorter stories. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

So that’s if for me this month. Not as many as March but some fantastic books. Quality over quantity.

Are you going to read any of these? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

Book Review: Sistersong by Lucy Holland

Title: Sistersong

Author: Lucy Holland

Publisher: Panmacmillan

Length: 416 pages

I’m super excited to be on the Blog Tour for this wonderful book! Make sure you check out these other brilliant book bloggers.

Synopsis: King Cador’s children inherit a war-torn land, abandoned by the Romans. Riva can cure others, but can’t heal her own scars. Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, although born a daughter. Since dreams of love and longs for adventure. All three will become entangled in a web of treachery and heartbreak, and must fight to forge their own paths. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

I absolutely loved this book. Sistersong is the kind of historical fiction that reminds me why I love this genre. The story is gripping and engaging right away. Usually it takes me a while to get into the story but with Sistersong I was immersed instantly. The whole book had such a charm to it.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this book. I loved all of the sisters, Riva, Kenye and Sinne. I’m sitting trying to decide which was my favourite but I loved them all. Each perspective was incredibly interesting, and the characters all so different and well written that I always knew which perspective I was reading. I loved all the individual journeys they went on. It was brilliant.

Kenye also goes on a really personal journey, that I won’t go into to much detail, because you’ll discover it when you read the book but I thought it was really well done. I found it emotional, especially when their sisters accepted them. And I loved it was tied into the old folklore. It was brilliantly done. And I loved to see this topic in a historical fiction book. I know that was vague, read the book you’ll get it.

There was a couple of romances in this book that I’m going to try and take about without spoiling it for you. I’m not going to say who the character of Tristan has romance with, but damn I was invested. But I also couldn’t decide if I could trust him and it kept me so intrigued. The other romance in the book was sweeter and much more subtle but no less enjoyable. They were both so well written, neither were really the main focus of the book, but they were so believable. Super enjoyable.

I loved the magical element to the book, and again I thought it was really well done. I loved how it didn’t over power the whole novel, because the other elements of the novel were so well done.

I think you’ve got the message that I thought this book was really well done and the ending didn’t disappoint. Lucy Holland had built such moment that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It felt like a very cinematic ending. I can’t help but think this book would make a brilliant mini-series. I mean, it would be amazing!!

Also can we talk about how stunning the cover is!?

I can’t recommend this book. It’s a fantastical historical fiction that is brilliantly written and fully immersive that you won’t be able to pit down. It’s out now.

Thanks to Stephen at Panmacillan for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. Thanks for having me on the Blog Tour.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Drowned City by K. J. Maitland

Title: The Drowned City

Author: K. J. Maitland

Publisher: Headline

Length: 418 pages

Synopsis: 1606. A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage. In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds. For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of the dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer.

The Drowned City promises to be the start to an exciting new series. A new series that I will look forward to continue reading as the first book is such a wonderful read.

I absolutely loved the period of history this book was set in and the author manages to create such wonderful imagery of the place. She also creates so much atmosphere. You can really tell The Drowned City was meticulously researched. I loved the use of all the old words and the glossy at the back. It made the book so immersive.

Now, this is a book that has a lot of characters but the main ones we follow in the novel are great. Daniel, the main character, was a complex and intriguing character and it was good to get to know the other characters, and the story, through his eyes. I also really enjoyed when we had a few chapters from the kings perspective. They were really interesting. It really did have some many interesting characters.

My favourite thing in the book was how K. J. Maitland built momentum. Every character Daniel met had information and was guiding him to the next person and the information got more vital. It made the book so exciting and intriguing. Which meant I couldn’t put this book down.

There was a mystery throughout This Drowned City that I couldn’t figure out and I was desperate to know how it would end. All the clues that had led me to the end of the book and let me tell you I never would’ve figured it out, it was so surprising and I loved it. I loved how we were kept guessing. Such a brilliant ending,

Like I said, I shall look forward to more adventures from Daniel Pursglove. If you love historical fiction, then you’ll love this book. Filled with mystery and intrigue that makes for a book you can’t put down.

Thanks to Headline books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out April 1st.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, historical fiction, literary ficton, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: While Paris Slept By Ruth Druart

Title: While Paris Slept

Author: Ruth Druart

Length: 512 pages

Publisher: Headline

Synopsis: Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door. Paris 1944. A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction in my time as I love the genre and While Paris Slept is one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve read in a while.

We start off with Jean-Luc and Charlotte in America in 1955 and when the police show up to question Jean-Luc about something in the past you are immediately intrigued. I knew then I was hooked within the first 20 pages.

There was also a twist that I did not see coming that shocked me and I knew I needed answers. And it’s one of those books where the answer didn’t disappoint me, it actually exceeded me expectations. Don’t we love it when books do that?

I really enjoyed the dual timelines, with the other half of the book being set in 1944. It was so interesting and heartbreaking to see how all the characters ended up where they are. As we switch between the timeline each one ended on a cliffhanger and made it impossible for me to put this book down.

Now I like my historical fiction to be detailed and intricate and I can gladly say that While Paris Slept is both of these things. It’s the little details that make it atmospheric and believable. It also shows the cruelty and hardship of war. It’s a big book that you can really get emotionally involved in and you’ll absolutely fly through it.

Ruth has created such fantastic characters that it makes the perfect blend of historical details and emotion. They all go on such emotional journeys that you grow to care for all the characters so much. There’s a sweet romance that survives against all odds between characters and familial heartbreak that will break your heart. The while book has such my heart in it.

Here’s what I think is really special about this book and makes it stand out from other historical fiction is how it deals with Sam, the child in the novel. I’m going to try and talk about this without giving any spoilers because I want you to read it for yourself. It was incredibly powerful and heartbreaking to see how the events have a psychological on him. I couldn’t decide what was best for him and Ruth captures perfectly the emotion and complexity of the situation.

Also the ending made me cry. It was such a build up of emotion that I couldn’t help it. When you read it you’ll see what I mean. That’s all I’ll say as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

This is Ruth’s debut novel and I think it’s brilliant. It’s such a strong, emotive debut that I can’t recommend enough for you all to read. This is a book I won’t forget for a long time. I’m already looking forward to what Ruth will do next. I’ll be picking it up for sure.

Thank you to Louise at Headline books for my gifting me copy of While Paris Slept in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out March 4th

Until the next review

Jthbooks

author, blog, blogtour, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, gay, gothic, historical fiction, interview, lgbt, queer, review, thriller, Uncategorised, ya, young adult

January Wrap Up

Hello my bookish friends, another month has come to an end and I can confirm its been a good reading month for me. In England, we have gone back into Lockdown so that means I’ve had a lot of time to read on my hands (which I’m not mad at).

I managed to read 10 books this month, which is very good for me. It ties with the most I’ve ever read in a month. I enjoyed most of the books I read this month, so that makes it a really good month.

Lets talk about the books shall we?

First I read This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry. I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, I loved all the stand up elements to the book. It’s a great YA contemporary that’s out in the UK in February.

Then I read Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean. This book was so adorable and wholesome. I loved every page. It’s a children’s book but I truly think everyone should read this book. It’s got such an important message. It’s out in February

Thirdly I read The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe. This book is absolutely wild. It’s so intense, with a plot that will keep you hooked until the very last page. Filled with twists and turns and complex characters. It’s out in February.

Up next was Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s taken me a long time to make my mind up, but i think I loved it. It’s so human but other worldly. It’s out in March.

Then I read Forever Ends On Friday by Justin A. Reynolds. This was such a wonderful book, that deals with a heavy subject that made me really emotional. I really loved this book. Thanks to mykindabook for my copy. This one is out now.

Up next was A Meeting Of Two Prophets by Judah Tasha. This a sweet queer love story from a perspectives I’ve never read before. The love story really captured me but it also taught me a lot. Thanks to Judah for sending me this book. It’s out on February 4th.

Then I read Native by Akala. I read this as part of my 2021 challenge to read a nonfiction book every month. Such a brilliant book on class and race in the uk. I learnt so much. It was so informative yet accessible. This one should be required reading.

Up next I read Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson. I was really looking forward to this book but for me it unfortunately missed the mark. There was just something missing and few things that didn’t quite work for me. It wasn’t bad, but not my favourite. Thanks to Netgalley and SourceFire books for my copy. Out February 2nd.

Then I read The Coven by Lizzie Fry. I really enjoyed this book. It was engrossing and really clever. With fantastic characters and a book that parallels a society we find ourselves living in today. And who doesn’t love witches? Thanks to the publishers for this book. It’s out February 25th.

Lastly I read The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. I absolutely loved this book. I loved it. Every page, every character. The only thing I didn’t like is now I’ve got to wait for the second one. Such a brilliant young adult fantasy. This one is out February 4th.

So that’s all my books for the month. Do you plan on reading any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

#fiction, #literature, author, blog, book blog, book blogger, book bloggers, book review, books, historical fiction, review, Uncategorised, ya

ARC Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Title: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Length: 464 pages

Publisher: Macmillan

Synopsis: Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli has finally found the life she’d yearned for: a family, a home and a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all that she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonising decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Lorena and Ant, west to California in search of a better life.

Kristin Hannah has done it again. I know we all love The Nightingale, but I think The Four Winds might surpass it.

Here’s the first thing that struck me about this novel, was its characters. You instantly care for Elsa. And I mean instantly. By the second page you feel for her, you hate how her family treats her and you want her to succeed in life. As you go on her journey with her, you only go onto care for her more. And I loved how she grew, she was such a complex, strong and vulnerable woman and it was just fantastic to read. I also really loved Loreda. She felt like the modern voice in this novel. But you also cared for her as well. Kristin just writes fantastic characters, and the connection she creates between them is brilliant. There’s lot of connections in this book that are so well done.

We all know that Kristin is a master at historical fiction, and this book has an epic feel to it. While the connections are intimate, the story is a sweeping novel that takes you back in time to 1921 when this novel begins. This book includes piece of American history I’ve never read about before and Kristin describes them in terrific detail. You can tell this novel has been meticulously researched and it just makes it all the more immersive. The farming, the dust storms, the droughts. It’s all dealt with brilliantly. Then when the family move to California for work in the Great Depression, it shows the harshness, the poverty and the horrible conditions of the camps. These are things I had no idea about. They make for a fantastic read.

There was a romance in this book that I didn’t see coming but I found totally believable and heartwarming. It works because the depth of character Kristin creates. Obviously its a sad book, and it needed this love story to give the book a bit of lightness.

Now lets talk about the ending shall we? I thought I knew how this book was going to end, I’d maybe decided halfway through that I knew. But boy, how wrong was I! Even when something happened (no spoilers here) I thought it would still end differently but i was still wrong. The ending had me sobbing. I didn’t see it coming and it was so sad. I think it was brave ending and the right one. But it definitely had me reaching for the tissues. It was so sad.

I said it earlier in the blog and I’ll say it again, Kristin has done it again. The Four Winds is a brilliant, moving novel that captures nearly two decades of American history with characters that will capture your heart. I couldn’t recommend this book more. I have a feeling a lot of you will be picking this one up.

Thank you so much to Macmillan for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out on February 2nd.

Until the next review

Jthbooks