• The Four Winds

  • A Novel
  • By: Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (35,239 ratings)

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The Four Winds  By  cover art

The Four Winds

By: Kristin Hannah
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's summary

This program includes a bonus interview with the author.





"The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times

"A spectacular tour de force that shines a spotlight on the indispensable but often overlooked role of Greatest Generation women."—People

"Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind." Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

©2021 Kristin Hannah (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

2021 Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Long-listed

2021 Hudson Booksellers Best of the Year, Long-listed

2021 Washington Post Best Books of the Year, Long-listed

2021 USA Today Best Books of the Year, Long-listed

2021 Read with Jenna, Long-listed

"With forceful narrative drive, Whelan delivers a compelling performance of Hannah's memorable new novel." —AudioFile Magazine

"Julia Whelan is herself a master storyteller because it’s absolute magic how she brings this novel to life for listeners. Her emotional rendering will bring tears and laughter and she portrays every character perfectly, men women and children...Have the tissues close when you put those earbuds in." —Reading Franzy

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Editor's Pick

Pure audio bliss
Listening to Julia Whelan perform a Kristin Hannah novel is a salve for the soul and a joy for a historical fiction fan like me. I knew The Four Winds was coming months ago (news of an upcoming Hannah is always big news!) and I was lucky enough to get an early review (hardcover) copy by surprise in the mail. I immediately devoured two-thirds of it—then forced myself to wait for the audio to finish. I gladly started from the top and was thrilled to hear Whelan as the voice in my head. It was a seamless transition. Whelan brilliantly embodies the voice of Elsa—the heroine of this Dust Bowl-era story—as well as the array of Texans, Italian immigrants, and a whole host of unforgettable characters. The Four Winds is one I will return to—I’ll surely be thinking back on it, and relistening whenever in need of a story to get lost in. —[Tricia F., Audible Editor]