Winter Garden [WINTER GARDEN 11D] [Compact Disc] CD-ROM – February 2, 2010
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- ASIN : B005HBPN7C
- Publisher : Brilliance Corporation (February 2, 2010)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1423325192
- ISBN-13 : 978-1423325192
- Item Weight : 0.096 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,253,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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A while ago I came across and read “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah and loved it so when this book was recommended by a friend and knowing that it was also about WWII era I picked it up enthusiastically. Unfortunately it turned out to be a HUGE disappointment as it does not compare in any way to her former book.
The characters in this book are extremely flat, one dimensional and unrelatable. They are outright cold and unlikable and no matter the horrible experiences they go through I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for them. The first half of the book is a constant repetition of how damaged the relationship between the mother and her daughters is and how disconnected they are from each other and themselves. The plot barely advances and there is no deeper insight into the characters either, a complete drag. When the parallel WWII Russia story starts the plot somewhat gains momentum but again the book does very little to connect you to that era. It feels to me like despite the valuable research Mrs Hannah has done on Stalin era Leningrad she has very little understanding and appreciation of the nuances and intricacies of the culture and the place she writes about. As such her description of the events and characters in that era is superficial at best.
And the ending was the worst part. It is so sugar coated it feels completely fake and unrealistic as if she wanted to reward her readers with cheap candy for perseveringly through the misery of the rest of it.
All in all this book was definitely not for me or anyone looking for a good piece of literarure or realistic account of WWII Russia and its survivors. Please save your time and money and read something else!
I say skip it read one of her others for example the Nightingale now there was a great book !
Top reviews from other countries
This story follows the lives of the Whitson family - sisters Meredith and Nina and their elderly parents Evan and Anya. The story is ultimately Anya's story. Anya has never been a loving or affectionate mother and through a series of stories we learn why Anya is the way she is. What unfolds is a vivid and heartbreaking account of survival and loss through Stalin's reign of terror in Russia.
Kristen Hannah is excellent at drawing you into the worlds that she creates so you can visualise every tiny detail. The only reason I didn't award the full 5 stars is because the story doesn't really take off until just after the halfway point of the book. Once this happens, the story is riveting but up until that point it can be a bit repetitive by times however it still held my interest.
All in all I loved this book and would highly recommend it. The other book I've read by this author is The Nightingale which was just phenomenal so if you liked Winter Garden and haven't already done so, I strongly urge you to read The Nightingale.
Kristin Hannah certainly knows how to weave a story, and people it with characters that do feel 'real' - characters who I quickly came to know and to care about. The tale begins with two sisters, Meredith and Nina, who are like chalk and cheese. Meredith is a 40 year old married lady, who has two grown up daughters, and runs the family business - a large apple orchard and fresh fruit storage facility. In contrast, Nina is a carefree, successful 37 year old photo journalist, who travels the world - often visiting war-torn countries seeking out those dramatic photographs, whilst facing danger. For reasons that soon become apparent, the sisters are temporarily reunited at the family home. Whilst there, they try to find out more about their rather cold, elusive mother who originally came from Russia. Their mum has never spoken about her life before she came to finally settle in America, her only previous tentative references to Russia was via the Russian fairytales she told to them when they were children. However, in later years, Meredith and Nina begin to suspect that one of those fairytales is based on their mother's real-life experiences......