Winter Garden

Winter Garden

My love for the beautiful country of Russia and my love for studying the intricacies of mother/daughter relationships came together in the beautifully told story of Anya Whitson.  Although WWII feels so far away, both in time and space, Meredith Whitson uncovers a story that is so remarkable she almost doesn’t believe it is real. For years she knew that her Russian mother was sad and distant but it wasn’t until her father was on his death bed that she learned the history behind the cool Russian eyes that she knew so well.

The relationship between Meredith and Nina was interesting and very useful to the layout of the book, but the stories of Leningrad were captivating and heart wrenching. The story begins slowly but stay with it because it will soon have you wondering about the many experiences Anya suffered in her young adult life.

I didn’t love either Meredith or Nina but I excused their unlikable behavior because they were raised by a difficult mother. And the mother's story more than made up for the daughters.

I was often in awe of the strength Anya had in Leningrad but I was equally disappointed in her inability to love her two daughters in America. I had to remind myself that pain frequently causes people to be irrational and senseless and often leaves us with little control over our emotional state. Learning about the personal atrocities endured by the Russians in Leningrad makes me grateful for my life and helps me to see that I can endure the somewhat trivial trials I have been faced with.

 Historical Value- 4

Emotional Value- 4

Entertainment Value- 3

Personal character Value- 4

Age recommendation- Young Adult

 

“To lose love is a terrible thing. But to be torn away from it is unbearable. Will you spend the rest of your life replaying it in your head? Wondering if you walked away too soon or too easily? Or if you'll ever love anyone that deeply again?”

― Kristin Hannah, Winter Garden

 

“And maybe that was how it was supposed to be...Joy and sadness were part of the package; the trick, perhaps, was to let yourself feel all of it, but to hold on to the joy just a little more tightly...”

― Kristin Hannah, Winter Garden

 

“We women make choices for others, not for ourselves, and when we are mothers, we...bear what we must for our children. You will protect them. It will hurt you; it will hurt them. Your job is to hide that your heart is breaking and do what they need you to do.” 
― 
Kristin HannahWinter Garden

 

“Unaware of Nina, the woman paused at the riverbank and looked out over the scar on the land where the water should run. Her expression sharpened, turned desperate as she reached down to touch the child in her arms. It was a look Nina had seen in woman all over the world, especially in times of war and destruction. A bone-deep fear for her child’s future…Someday her portraits would show the world how strong and powerful women could be, as well as the personal cost of that strength…
She heard Danny come up beside her. “Hey, you.”
She leaned against him, feeling food about her shots. “I just love how they are with their kids, even when the odds are impossible. The only time I cry is when I see their faces with their babies. Why is that, with all we’ve seen?”
“So it’s mothers you follow. I thought it was warriors.” 
― 
Kristin HannahWinter Garden

 

“To those who are here, those who are gone, and those who are lost.” 
― 
Kristin HannahWinter Garden

 

“Young has nothing to do with love. A woman can be a girl and still know her own heart.” 
― 
Kristin HannahWinter Garden

 

“In rooms scented by dust, leather, and stone, she turns in the last of her father's dreams for her - that she will become a writer - she hands it in like an overdue book and takes joy in the words of others.” 
― 
Kristin HannahWinter Garden

 

 

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