Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is a story about two sisters who try to reconnect with a mother who shut them out many years ago. When a fairy tale from their childhood is retold, they discover that their mother was hiding a deep and painful secret.
Meredith and Nina Witson are daughter of Evan and Anya. The story begins in December 1972 as Meredith writes a play based on a fairy tale her mother tells her. After her mother abruptly stops the play and vows to never tell the fairy tale again, a wedge is placed between Anya and her daughters. Fast forward to 2000, Meredith is now married to her childhood sweetheart with two grown daughters and Nina is a world traveling photographer. When Evan suddenly dies, Nina is determined to hear the fairy tale again. At first Anya is resistant but soon she begins to tell the story again, Meredith and Nina realize that more and more elements of the story are different. They begin to realize that this story is no fairy tale but a story of their mother’s deepest secret. A secret she wanted to die with her. Will Meredith and Nina get the real story? Or will their mother keep her wall of secrecy?
I’ve been a fan of Kristin Hannah for many years and have read nearly all of her books. None of her books have affected me more than Winter Garden. The reader discovers the facts of the story along with Meredith and Nina and there are a great many heart gasping moments. I can’t give too many details about the fairy tale as it will ruin the course of discovery. I can say that this book is among the few in which I cried. My heart broke for Anya as she finally reveals the painful secret of many years ago. Events are described in vivid detail. My favorite line in the book is from Anya who tells her daughters, “You would be amazed at what the human heart can endure.” I highly recommend Winter Garden as it is a story of a mother and her daughters and the painful events in which human often must endure.
Winter Garden and other titles by Kristin Hannah
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