Written By: Kristin Hannah

Narrated By: Julia Whelan

Date: February 2021

Duration: 15 hours 2 minutes


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

'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

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


  • Tracy B.

    So sad that one of my favorite authors has decided to thinly disguise this political opinion as a novel?! Even though my opinions line up with hers, I’m sick of these preachy, get-woke “best sellers”. In the effort to get her point across, the story is long, boring, repetitive, and overkill with details that seemed to be there to just take up space on the page. Stuck with it til over half way, then gave up. I have never NOT finished a novel:(

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful.

  • Linda I.

    Disappointing at best. Much to long, too many details and felt that it lacked depth. This author could write for YA. Boring after 3 chapters. Did not care about the characters. I fell asleep during the audio for about an hour and still knew what was happening when I missed a few chapters. Not a fan.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    This book was so well written, presented, and interesting I was totally stuck until I finished it. This was Kristin Hannah’s best book yet. I found it remarkable to recognize the parallel similarities to the current state of our world.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

  • Christopher T.

    I loved so many things about this book, but mostly that you can make it through anything as long as you have love. Heartbreakingly beautiful!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Melissa R.

    This was a “read in one sitting book” for me. Oh, bring the Kleenex.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Communism is sexy and intelligent. Capitalism is ugly and irrational. A very pro-Union book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Rachel S.

    Disappointed, I love Kristin Hannah’s other books. This was not one of her best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Tracie

    Really good book!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Not only an incredible story based in history but a superb author. Her characters live inside me I talk to to them as if they were in my life. I have enjoyed all of her books. However this one connected strongly with me being from farmland and the love of growth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Diane C.

    Every American should read or listen to this book based on researched historical data that is relevant to the times that we live in today especially in regards to how Americans treat the lands and the consequences of not learning from past mistakes as in the case of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression . The book was incredibly well read depicting the characters well and the suffering that they each endured differently. The devastating events that led to the migration of thousands of people from one area of the country to another along with the human suffering, enslavement and treatment under the guise of the haves and the have not's was very sad and again relevant for our times. The ending was well suited to the situation that each character in the book depicted even if it was not what I was expecting. Great read and great narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kacie S.

    I thought this was a great book. Honestly didn’t know much about the dust storms and how people were treated during the depression. Did not expect the ending.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sylvie L.

    Very sad historical stories ...Since it’s a romance historical story the end should have been different !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Trent J.

    This was an amazing story. Not only historical (I learned a lot about some of our American history) but it hit home as to what is currently happening in the world with the refugees trying so hard to find a new life in America. Where is our love, compassion and Christian values America? A good listen/read ...People that have so much in their lives turning away from those in need ... those who claim to be Christians turning a blind eye to poor ... parents turning away from their own children who do not meet their high expectations. But yet there is alway hope and some people do over come and succeed despite the many hardships they are forced to endure. I would say this is a good book for a young reader that has a desire to see more good in this troubling world of ours. I / we give this one a 5 star.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Linda E.

    At first. I wasn’t sure of this book! It was really vivid and depressingly long at the beginning! As a lover of historical fiction, I kept with it! It isn’t the feel good story of the year but it is a wonderful portrayal of what our American ancestors went through at the early 1900s! A very moving book! I really liked the interview with the author and her narrator at the end! Very interesting!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Destiny J.

    The book itself is good, but the way the narrator speaks while reading as the children is unsufferable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Judith B.

    One of the best told stories I have read

  • Cynthia W.

    This book was a great reminder of how grateful we should be for the simple things that we enjoy.

  • Todd N.

    Four Winds.. friggn’ awesome! Both author and narrator knocked it out of the park. Moved me emotionally had me cheering and crying.

  • Kristi R.

    It's a very well told story with just the right amount of attention to details and characters to make you wish it wouldn't end.

  • Sherri M.

    Loved this book and didn’t want it to end!

  • Micki T.

    Loved it and learned so much history that I was not familiar with..

  • Angelia H.

    Although this books takes place during hard times it held my interest to the end.

  • Rita S.

    I have read all the other books by this author and loved them. This was informative about the time period in history. So read it if only for that. I felt it took too long for the main character to get her voice. Finding myself like her daughter, urging her to stans up! I understand also it was a terrible time, but it'd have been more balanced to have some joy, here and there. I wouldn't recommend it. What happened then is miles different from now,so I don't agree with that opinion. That was a disaster of unfortunate circumstances and human error In California and the breadbasket of the Americas.

  • Rita

    I learned a lit from reading this book. I found it to be so sad but I guess that’s what’s to be expected in those times. The book was well written and the narrator did a great job

  • Anonymous

    My family lived through these times on the plains. It puts knowledge in my heart of what they went through. It's a super great read! I had a hard time putting it down.

  • KristenLeigh

    Excellent book! I loved learned the historical aspects and the storyline was amazing! I couldn’t stop listening. The narrator portrayed the characters beautifully. Highly recommend!

  • Emily B.

    This book took an interesting dive into the dust bowl, Great Depression and workers rights. Well written

  • K O.

    This was a sad read. I was bought to tears.

  • Suzanne

    This book is one of my new favorites! It captivated me on so many levels! The struggle of teenage girls, farm families, migrants, wives, mothers - the author does a great job of presenting each perspective in a heartfelt way! Very good book!!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely loved this novel. Gripping tale of a time and place I knew little about. I’m glad I didn’t have to live through the Great Depression as it was

  • Helen O.

    This book will stay with you even months after you are done. Beautiful story about grit and perseverance in difficult times.

  • Nikki F.

    Slow but it gets in your soul!

  • Bonita M.

    Excellent book

  • Sommer B.

    Words that will stay with me for the rest of my life. A beautifully written page turner. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars!

  • Marchell I.

    I think everyone should read this book, yes maybe had some political stuff, but that aside the story was amazing, made me want to know more about the time. We are so spoiled now, can’t even imagine the suffering, made me think about how much I take for granted. Loved it.

  • Anonymous

    More of interesting than expected.

  • Susan Rollenhagen

    Well written, interesting book. How anyone could not care about the characters is beyond me.

  • Stephanie M.

    This was not only a lovely story about the tumultuous relationship between mothers and daughters but also a very interesting story about a time in history many of us really haven’t thought about before

  • Karyn B.

    I thought the book was good overall. I wish the ending was a little happier. There were so many struggles throughout the book. They over came so much for it to end that way for the main character.

  • Anonymous

    This story was so interesting and provided insight to a young woman’s journey into motherhood during the brutal Dust Bowl. I particularly enjoyed the historical aspects combined with the characters development. A wonderful book.

  • Kimra M.

    A great story. Very informative about the dust bowl and Great Depression time period. Would liked to have had more story line on fictional character. What happened to her original family and her husband. Enjoyed it a great deal.

  • Candace W.

    Absolutely loved this book!

  • Sharon S.

    Very well researched book. I learned a lot about the dust bowl and how the “Oakies” were treated when they arrived in California. It really shows why there was a need for unions in the 30’s and 40’s. All that said, this was the saddest and most depressing book I have ever read. I will not reread it- ever. Once is enough. Do not read if you have depression issues.

  • Anonymous

    While the books addresses a significant event in history (Dustbowl). The events and details were monotonous. Oh was very disappointed.

  • Rosanne R.

    Fantastic. I loved it so much I went out and purchased 7 some of Kristen Hannah’s works. They are all fantastic. I would put Kristin at the top of my future selections. She most certainly has a gift.

  • Karyn G.

    This was a really great listen! I enjoyed it so much!!!! I didn't want it to end.

  • Sabra G.

    I enjoyed the story but not so much the ending. I felt a little disappointed in the end.

  • Anonymous

    A bit depressing

  • Mary T.

    I never miss a chance to read Kristin Hannah. While this book was well-written in her usual style, it missed the mark of a "5" for me. It is so depressing, often without relief, that I at several times had to stop listening to provide my own relief! What more can go wrong? When the tent and all their possessions blew into destruction, that was it. I have always believed that social issues should be a part of good novel, which is one reason why I like her books. In this case, there was not enough humor, lightness nor hope to keep us going through the truly disastrous situations and events. After all, those are the elements that get us through life, thankfully.

  • Elena L.

    Incredible book! Captivating and moving! A must read!

  • Anonymous

    good for history and the idea that a fairy tale prince won't save us..,we nmake our own destiny

  • hjjburton

    Absolutely beautiful.. a sad part of American history. We read this for book club and can’t wait for the discussion..

  • Mary F.

    The hours flew by listening to this book. It will not disappoint.

  • Kathryn T.

    Enjoyed it!

  • Jeannie F.

    Full disclosure: I’m an English and I LOVE The Grapes of Wrath, so I absolutely LOVED this book!!! I listened to it in the car and would listen long after I arrived at my destination!

  • Linda A.

    Well written but in the end the story just fizzled out. Like the author just got tired of the story and gave it a quick ending.

  • J R.

    Very good, thought the narrator did a great job.

  • Anonymous

    Good read well read!

  • Anonymous

    Could not stop listening to this book Learned a lot of history but the ending ruined the whole book for me So disappointing

  • Sandy J.

    A good listen at this time, very timely

  • Joanne B.

    Love the historical context. The story was strong and meaningful. Even though historically based very timely for today’s young women. Hated to have it end.

  • Lynn E.

    This book held my interest and I learned some historical facts.

  • Linda M.

    This was a dramatic story of the Dust Bowl and how people have treated others in times of desperation. Elsa is so beautiful on the inside, while she was told by her parents that she’s physically ugly. She’s a survivor, until she’s not.

  • Anonymous

    Hard to put this book down always wanting to see where the young woman would find happiness.

  • Laura A.

    I loved this book. I enjoyed the characters and learning more about the dust bowl in America’s history. It was sad and depressing but an accurate portrayal of the life they lived during that time. Very engaging and definitely pulled at the heartstrings.

  • Donna P.

    dust bowl and depression in tandem... It was a history clarification for me.

  • Anonymous

    I liked it even though it was slow at times. Narrator had some issues with the characters at times but was able to finish listening.

  • Amy V.

    I liked the story and the details. I didn’t think it was too political. But the ending did disappoint.

  • Susan haley

    The character Jenny was fun.

  • Robin B.

    I loved this book. It was very well written, researched and I learned so much about the history of the Dust Bowl and life during those amazing times. The narration is spot on.. Julia again knocks it out of the park. Too often we are taught history through a man’s perspective. It was refreshing to hear this history through a woman’s eyes. After all, the gender roles and social mores were different then from what they are now. I highly recommend giving this fabulous production a whirl.

  • Melissa A.

    This was a gripping book with great narration. The historical fiction angle is extremely well done. I think the author excels in describing the characters’ feelings and inner struggles. When they make bad decisions, they seem human and sympathetic. Very well done.

  • Anonymous

    I will start by saying it’s absolutely beautifully written. It is captivating. But it is heavy and will stick with you for a while.

  • Anonymous

    The narrator was outstanding!!!! Wow! this book was so depressing and not my favorite by this author.

  • Carol P.

    Excellent So much in-depth thought provoking comments on the history of the dust bowl

  • Nancy W.

    This book captured my attention from the first page. Very well written and narrated. The struggle was real and this is American History that has been pushed aside. Discrimination, racism and greed all rolled into one novel.

  • Jeanice M.

    Loved it! The only thing I would change is the reference to “ninny”. There is a strong association with “pickaninny”being a racial slur. I’d prefer to avoid any association with it altogether.

  • Nancy K.

    Loved this book and thought the narration was excellent. I could not put this book down. Interesting to see the similarities to people who are suffering today and how our country doesn't always care about the welfare of their hard working citizens. Beautiful story, one of resilience, courage & love. I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint!

  • Monica T.

    K. Hannah does it again. This was my first audio book. Very impressed with narration I could almost see the characters talking. I have read many of Hannah’s books and I have never been disappointed. This book hit home because I am originally from Bakersfield and I am very familiar with the farm workers and the history with the dust bowl MTurnquist Visalia ca

  • Anonymous

    Incredible! Catches your attention from the first chapter, and only gets more engaging. The narrator only improves the listen. Kudos!

  • Donna S.

    A wonderful story and a great reminder of what our pioneers had to go through and how very fortunate we are in so many ways. The Narrator was one of the best I ever heard. She made the novel come alive! The Narrator can make or break your interest in a book.

  • Elvira Eloise

    Enjoyed this book and I recommend it. A theme where the “other” is criminalized because of assumptions, misgivings, and mistrust. Justifying cruel human behavior when we perceive others as “less than.” It’s about finding our own voice.

  • Elizabeth R.

    Kristin Hannah never fails! Loved this book even though the ending was hard. Great characters and story. Highly recommended!

  • Anonymous

    The story is one of an amazingly difficult struggle, but met with great strength and uplifting courage. I found it quite memorable.

  • Anonymous

    Very good book!

  • Kimberly P.

    I could not put this book down. I enjoyed the narrator and the way she presented the story. I fell in love with the characters. Incredibly well written. I would highly recommend this book

  • Chribarn

    One of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. The narrator is one of my favorites and the story will make you feel like you want to jump into the story and truly “know” the characters. I sat in my soaking tub several times listening and absorbing the strength of a woman and a family with tears streaming down my face. This book proves that the human spirit and our resilience to live can overcome things we never dreamed we could. Relevant to today’s social and political turmoil, it is an example of why history is so important! Knowing where we have been as a nation, as humans, as mothers and daughters helps us believe and fight to be better than where we were. Download it. Get some tissue and be prepared to love Elsa and family!

  • Mary C.

    I have loved every one of Kristin Hannah's books and she once again had me on the edge of my seat and very connected with all of the characters. Her ability to create a captivating story based on history is one of the things I love about her writings. Although the story is hard to hear it is one that people should hear and not forget.

  • Anonymous

    Book was really good but the accent the narrator gave the characters was a tad off-putting for this Southern girl. And the children’s voices.....

  • Anonymous

    I was hooked on the story but this book left me feeling extremely depressed. It was like a car wreck...you can't help but look. It was sad from the 1st chapter until the very end. Just not what I had in mind.

  • Deborah M.

    Kristin Hannah never disappoints! I learned so much about California history from this book and am now going to actively research the Dustbowl days. The story and narration were both first rate.

  • Anonymous

    Hannah did it again - another great, touching read with great, likable characters. It’s “Grapes of Wrath” from a woman/mother’s perspective. Great reader, too!

  • Anonymous

    Really good read. However if you have read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah you can’t help but recognize the similarities. Main character was estranged from her family, trying to overcome her personal struggles, in a bad marriage, living in bad conditions, struggling with enough to eat, trying to make her daughter stronger, falls in love with a good man, ends up dying and daughter becomes a strong independent women. All that said, Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors and she never disappoints.

  • Anonymous

    great writing, but i thought it very depressing.

  • Neal R.

    Julia is a brilliant narrator and truly bright the story to life

  • CJohanna

    Epic story, brilliant narration. Loved it.

  • Anonymous

    Kristin Hannah's books always touch my heart & this book was no exception. Without realizing it I would find myself crying with the characters & their story.

  • Lacey T.

    This was one of her best books! I hate 1930’s dates in books but this was so good! I cried at the end!!!

  • Anonymous

    Loved the strength of the characters

  • Sondra W.

    Listened to go to sleep but was so wonderful I didn’t want to sleep. Loved the narrator and was impressed by the lack of foul language. Subject was very interesting and educating but the love story was beautiful

  • Anonymous

    Amazing!! The love story of a mother and child is perfectly depicted! The narrator did an incredible job bringing the characters to life!

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed every breathtaking minute of The four Winds. It is one of those books that is hard to put down.

Four Winds: A Novel

by Kristin Hannah

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Four Winds: A Novel, Kristin Hannah
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This title is due for release on February 2, 2021.

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