Winter Garden

Winter Garden

Paperback - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Mesmerizing from the first page to the last, Kristin Hannah's Winter Garden is one woman's sweeping, heartbreaking story of love, loss, and redemption. At once an epic love story set in World War II Russia and an intimate portrait of contemporary mothers and daughters poised at the crossroads of their lives, it explores the heartbreak of war, the cost of survival and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. It is a novel that will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.

1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves...

2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago...

Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother's bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.

In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

"Another powerful story of family love, and strong women...a fascinating story that weaves fairy tales into reality, fairy tales that don't always have the expected endings."-- The Herald-News

"...a gripping read. Hannah's audience will find plenty to discuss in this enthralling entry."-- Booklist

Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Griffin,, [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780312663155
Branch Call Number: FIC HAN
Characteristics: 394, 11 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 11, 2019

Kristin Hannah is so effective when writing about human relationships and hardship. Her novel "The Nightingale" remains my favorite among her books.

JCLHeatherC Mar 14, 2019

A powerful book that showcases how not dealing with your past prevents you from appreciating and enjoying your present.

ArapahoeKati Jan 11, 2019

A devastating story within a story about sisters, mothers and history. If you love historical fiction, but you're tired of WWII Europe, try this novel that takes place in WWII Russia instead.

Oct 09, 2018

A story of love, war and a family. The story the mother told was almost to much to read but I couldn't stop reading. What a sad, devastating life the mother had and she tells it through a fairy tale story. in the end all is well but you still feel like crying for the loss and love she shared.

Aug 30, 2018

Probably not Kristin Hannah's best work, but very good just the same.

Jan 28, 2017

This book is excellent. It was recommended by a radio talk show host here in Kansas City, and so I decided to read it. I was drawn into the characters, fascinated by the history, even though it was fiction, it seemed so real.

ArapahoeLoriN Sep 13, 2016

I recommend this one all the time, and for myself feel it is moving! I love the clever story within a story!

Jun 29, 2016

I absolutely loved this book. A great story of strength and endurance during WWII. I couldn't put it down.

Mar 16, 2016

Probably many of readers won't be agree with me if I say that this book is so boring and in slow motion – that I couldn't finish it. The siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg now) - lasted 872 days from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944 (blockade ring was broken January 18, 1943). In Soviet Union the war was named The Great Patriotic War. It was humanly almost impossible to survive in that city during that period of war. People who survived the siege, were reborn, and became a symbol of resistance, endurance and goodness. That is why the character of Anya (Vera), with its absolute coldness to her own daughters, to me didn't look as realistic. After the blockade - people have become more attentive and caring toward each other. But, I repeat, I didn't finish reading the book, so with 100% accuracy cannot give my opinion about it. By the way, when it is said that Anya cooked soup from wallpaper stripes, it is not exactly how it was done in Leningrad. In besieged Leningrad they made soup to survive, but not out of strips of wallpaper itself, they used adhesive paste, with which the wallpaper was attached to the walls. And the paste was prepared at home by mixing flour and water. That's why was hoped that by boiling strips of wallpaper, paste will decoction, and therefore some of the flour will result in “soup”. The same was with leather belts. Leather was made from animal skin, so there could be some nutrients still in them, in belts. There are so many incredible stories about Leningrad siege! I also didn't really like is description of characteristics of modern American women, in this book too. Almost always, they are described as so independent, so strong! They never need support. They are "closed" within themselves during the difficult periods of life and ask people around them, mostly men, to leave them alone for a time and do not try to help them emotionally. But humans, in the most difficult moments, need support from people who truly worry about them, instead of pushing away closest people in order to demonstrate who knows what.

Jan 18, 2016

This is a compelling story that I didn't want to put down. It relates a period in the history of the Second World War of which I knew nothing. The sad thing is, stories just like this one, are being lived out In Syria this very moment. A city under siege and people eating leaf soup and babies starving to death. Why?

View All Comments


Add a Quote
M_ALCOTT Apr 10, 2015

"He is my home. How will I live without him?"-Anya

M_ALCOTT Apr 10, 2015

"Every choice changed the road you were on and it was too easy to end up going in the wrong direction."

M_ALCOTT Apr 10, 2015

"Sometimes when you opened the door to your mother's past, you found your own future."

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at VIRL

To Top