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Winter Garden Audiobook

Winter Garden: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

in Kristin Hannah’s Winter Garden, we find three women — a mother and two daughters by blood, but strangers in their hearts — reeling from the loss of the man who held their fragile family together. Emptiness pervades this story — hollowing out what is left of the Whitson family and creeping into the space between narrator Susan Erickson’s words.

Anya and her daughters Meredith and Nina have already lost their husband and father to death — and risk losing each other to pride. Evan Whitson knew of this risk, and on his deathbed asked his wife to tell their daughters her “fairy tale” from start to finish. And so we find the Whitson women gathered in the dark at their family home, Belye Nochi, night after night.

Meredith is the older daughter who stayed home to take care of the family business, and her marriage is falling apart. Younger sister Nina, meanwhile, has traveled the globe as a renowned photographer, but refuses to marry the love of her life. Neither sister has much of a relationship with the other — much less with their cold and distant mother, Anya, whose mysterious past in Russia haunts them all.

Erickson’s Anya is resolute, her Nina bold, and her Meredith lost. Effortlessly, it seems, Erickson captures in one moment the decades of sorrow in Anya’s voice and in the next the ready spirit in Nina’s. Always we hear the sheer exhaustion in Meredith’s. Erickson’s voice is at times empty and full, icy and warm, sharp and soft. Throughout the book all three women are alternately devastated with loss, isolated by bitterness, and joyous for the love of family, and Erickson lets us hear it all with her honest and gentle delivery.

Winter Garden is a story best listened to — it is after all a testament to the power of storytelling. What Meredith and Nina hear in their mother’s story will cause them to face their grief head on and just might make them a family once again. —Sarah Evans Hogeboom

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the smash-hit best-seller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past.

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father fails ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time - and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya's life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago.

Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother's life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

©2010 Kristin Hannah; (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1186 )
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Performance
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  •  
    ShariJoy Kansas City 10-29-14
    ShariJoy Kansas City 10-29-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I have yet to hear a bad story from Kristin Hannah"

    It took me a few chapters to warm up to this one but Kristin Hannah never lets me down! And Susan Ericksen was fabulous!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sky1 denver, co USA 10-22-14
    Sky1 denver, co USA 10-22-14
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    1
    1
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    "Don't waste your time"
    If you could sum up Winter Garden in three words, what would they be?

    Soggy, soppy, sloppy writing. Some (very small) good sections, but overall uncompelling and a waste of time listening to this dribble.


    What was most disappointing about Kristin Hannah’s story?

    ...the story


    Any additional comments?

    Demand better writing. Return this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanie Bloomfield, NM, United States 08-04-14
    Joanie Bloomfield, NM, United States 08-04-14

    Everyday is a New day!

    ratings
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    20
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    "Favorite book of ALL Time!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this book to many friends and family. Its a must listen!
    The journey this book takes you on is Amazing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter Garden?

    The story telling and change of language thru the book.


    Have you listened to any of Susan Ericksen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet but I will


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Do you know your family?


    Any additional comments?

    If you think about stopping the audio like I did...DONT

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Beitz 07-23-14
    Nancy Beitz 07-23-14 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    "Absolutely loved it!"
    Where does Winter Garden rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Wonderful story filled with surprises, complex human interactions and a healthy smattering of seldom heard history. The performance of the narrator was outstanding in presenting the variety of characters unique voices and dialects.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the author carefully unfolded the story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to pick one favorite.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Never laughter...tears yes and toward the end relief and joy.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 04-17-14
    Jennifer 04-17-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I can handle more"

    The book had in interesting ending but getting there was typical and uneventful. I was hoping for more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillie 12-26-13
    Gillie 12-26-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Not as good as Night Road"
    Any additional comments?

    I recently read Kristin Hannah's Night Road and enjoyed it so much that I decided to read this book. While it is a good story, I found it tended to be too long and drawn out, thus making it a little boring in patches. And, as with all books that are drawn out, it rushed to end the story.
    I will be happy to read another of this author's books in the hope that the promise of the first book, Night Road, will again be fulfilled.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Normandie Fischer North Carolina USA 11-30-13
    Normandie Fischer North Carolina USA 11-30-13
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    13
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    "Wonderful narrator made this story sing."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter Garden?

    Too many to name.


    Have you listened to any of Susan Ericksen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to others by this narrator, but I'm on my way to find more now. A good narrator makes all the difference. An excellent one, such as Ms Ericksen, could probably raise even a mediocre story to another level. A poor one can destroy a book (as I'm in a position to know).


    Any additional comments?

    This was a hard book to listen to for long periods because of the pain detailed in both stories, but I'm so glad I persevered. Excellent character development and tension, well paced. The author's depiction of war-time Leningrad made me ache for the sufferers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 09-16-13
    Tracy 09-16-13
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    "Stick With It"
    What does Susan Ericksen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accents and voices are great for immersing me in the stories.


    Any additional comments?

    This book's first half is almost painful. The characters are annoying at best - spoiled, selfish, and I had no love. But the second half makes up for it. Wow. the story had me in tears more than once, and I could not stop listening. I know this story will stay with me a long time. It makes me want to seek out more stories from that time and place.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cathy stockbridge, GA, United States 08-30-13
    cathy stockbridge, GA, United States 08-30-13 Member Since 2014

    Love listening to audiobooks. I have been with audible since 2008, either here or with another account! I love audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this book, but you will NEED kleenex!"

    I really loved the story and the characters! It is very heart wrenching though! I would definately recommend this book to others.!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz 08-01-13
    Liz 08-01-13 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thank You"


    Where ever it is, whatever the reason, who ever is there - war savages humanity. Why is it women are more victims of the brutality than men!

    This story is well told and heart wrenching. The vividness of the horror is something that will stay with me especially as I know it to be an accurate portrayal of the circumstance even if the characters are fictional. Hopefully it will help me see more beauty and be more grateful for the peace that surrounds me.

    From a personal viewpoint - as the offspring of a World War II veteran and having lost loved ones to Vietnam I can attest as to how war continues its horrific embrace on all members of a family. Thankyou Kristin for helping me to release some of my own demons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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