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Winter Garden - Excerpt & Giveaway

Winter Garden
One of the numerous books I read last year was Kristin Hannah's Winter Garden - a novel of mothers and daughters, times and tribulations. While the story was overall very interesting, there were aspects of it that made me terribly sad. I put it down, picked it up again, put it down again and so on. As a result, it was quite a while before I could finish this heart-wrenching story.

The trade paperback version of the book was released early this year and here's an excerpt. You can also find it online here.

On the banks of the mighty Columbia River, in this icy season when every breath became visible, the orchard called Belye Nochi was quiet. Dormant apples trees stretched as far as the eye could see, their sturdy roots coiled deep in the cold, fertile soil. As temperatures plummeted and color drained from land and sky, the whitened landscape caused a kind of winter blindness; one day became indistinguishable from the next. Everything froze, turned fragile.

Nowhere was the cold and quiet more noticeable than in Meredith Whitson’s own house. At twelve, she had already discovered the empty spaces that gathered between people. She longed for her family to be like those she saw on television, where everything looked perfect and everyone got along. No one, not even her beloved father, understood how alone she often felt within these four walls, how invisible.

But tomorrow night, all of that would change.

She had come up with a brilliant plan. She had written a play based on one of her mother’s fairy tales, and she would present it at the annual Christmas party. It was exactly the kind of thing that would happen on an episode of The Partridge Family.

“How come I can’t be the star?” Nina whined. It was at least the tenth time she’d asked this question since Meredith had finished the script.

Meredith turned around in her chair and looked down at her nine-year-old sister, who was crouched on the wooden floor of their bedroom, painting a mint green castle on an old bed sheet.

Meredith bit her lower lip, trying not to frown. The castle was all wrong. Too bright, too bold, too messy. It would have to be fixed. She got up, holding the treasured script in her hand, and went to her sister, kneeling beside her. “We’ve talked about this, Nina.”

“But why can’t I be the peasant girl who marries the prince?”

“Jeff is playing the prince and he’s thirteen. You’d look silly next to him. And besides, your part is important, Neens. Without the younger sister, the prince and the peasant girl would never meet.”

“I guess.” Nina put her paintbrush in the empty soup can and sat back on her heels. With her short, tangled black hair, bright green eyes, and pale skin, she looked like a perfect little pixie. “Can I be the peasant girl next year?”

Meredith put an arm across Nina’s narrow, bony back. “Of course.” She loved the idea that she might be creating a family tradition. All of her friends had traditions, but not the Whitsons; they had always been different. There was no stream of relatives who came to their house on holidays, no turkey on Thanksgiving or ham on Easter, like everyone else she knew, no prayers that were always said. Heck, they didn’t even know for sure how old their mom was.

Here are a few other interesting links about this book :

- Author website -
- A discussion guide for WINTER GARDEN (Alert: Spoiler!)
- Book groups can sign up for a chance to have Kristin speak to them via speakerphone:
- Watch Kristin discuss WINTER GARDEN here
- On Facebook


To win a copy of this book:
  • - If you've read this book, share your thoughts about it. If you haven't read it, tell me why you'd like to read it.
  • - Giveaway open to US and Canada. Ends Midnight CST of Jan 31, 2011.

Please read Giveaway and Prize Fulfillment Rules and Disclaimer.

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  1. I have read some of Kristin Hannah's other books and enjoyed them. She does make you cry, though.

  2. I have never read a book my Kristin Hannah and would love to win and read Winter Garden. One of my best friend's from school read it and highly recommended it as well. Thanks!

  3. I'd love to read this because it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the chance.

    tradingaddress at gmail dot com

  4. I have never read the book but I would like to. It sounds really good.

  5. i've never read a book by Kristin Hannah...this book interests me...thanks for the chance to read it.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  6. I read Firefly Lane and really liked it. I'm sure I would enjoy this book too! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  7. I am a mother of a young daughter who wants to get married this year.
    I believe this novel pertains to me and my situation
    rhondastruthers atyahoodot ca

  8. No, I haven't read her. I am an avid reader and woreould like to read this author

    rhondastruthers at yahoodot ca

  9. I haven't read any of her books, but the excerpt was enough to grab my attention!
    someluckydog at gmail dot com

  10. the little girl in the book reminds me of my daughter
    I'm sure she wishes I was like all the other moms (I know I'm not lol) and she too loves to write write write (And even has had her poetry published 5 or 6 times)
    I love new reads and discovering new authors

  11. I haven't read any of Kristin Hannah's books yet but she's on my list of authors to read this year. I have read many wonderful reviews of her books. I have read that Ms. Hannah writes her characters in such a way that they make you feel as if you could reach out and touch them. The reviews I have read of "Winter Garden" and the summary of the book have convinced me that the characters here are just like this. The themes and issues in "Winter Garden" sound like ones many women across the world can relate to and have encountered in some way or other. For these reasons, as well as because I believe Kristin Hannah's a wonderful writer, I'd very much like to read this book.

    Thank you for offering "Winter Garden" in a giveaway!
    ~ Amy

  12. I would like to read this one. Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors.

  13. I really enjoy Kristin's books, she writes beautifully, and I love the covers of her books. I read "Firefly Lane" recently and its one of the best I've read of hers. I'd love to win "Winter Garden"...thanks for the entry in your giveaway.



  14. I haven't read this book. But I would like to read it because it sounds good, and because I am a big fan of Kristin Hannah's other books. Please enter me. Thanks!


  15. I liked this review!


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