The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is an amazing – and very timely – novel

Fifty mile an hour winds were gusting at our house when Linda walked by my table and suggested it would be a good time to start reading Kristin Hannah’s book, The Four Winds, published by St. Martin’s Press. Great idea!

But when I saw how thick the book was (448 pages), I wasn’t sure I had time to read it. But as soon as I began reading, I was hooked, and when I got to page 448, I was disappointed the book didn’t have another 400 pages!

Yes, this is a very compelling story, with lots of difficult and sometimes tragic situations. The story is focused on a man and wife with two kids who live with his parents on a Texas farm. But a long stretch of severe weather ruins the farm and almost kills the boy. This all happens during the great depression. The storms fill their house, and even their lungs, with dust and sand.

The husband leaves his family and heads west to California, and much later, worried that if she stayed her son would die, the wife heads west with her kids in their truck with very little money. Their trip is horrific, but I’m going to stop here, and trust me, there’s a lot more to this amazing story.

Kristin has written 20 novels, many of which I have enjoyed, and won lots of awards. At the back of the book, she shares her thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, which killed her husband’s best friend,

Writing about this novel, she says, “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the Great Depression would become so relevant to our modern lives, that I would see so many people out of work, in need, frightened for the future.

“We’ve gone through bad times before and survived, even thrived. History has shown us the strength and durability of the human spirit. In the end, it is our idealism and our courage and our commitment to one another – what we have in common – that will save us. Now, in these dark days, we can look to history, to the legacy of the greatest generation and the story of our own past, and take strength in it.”

An important message, for sure.



George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.