With a whopping 200 holds on its various formats, The Four Winds has topped hundreds of people’s summer reading lists. Kristin Hannah’s tale of a woman’s struggle to keep her farm, family, and marriage alive through the Dust Bowl has hooked readers with deft writing and details of the gritty reality of 1930s rural life. But what to do if you’re still waiting for your copy to turn up?
Below are 5 titles to tide you over while you wait.
The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly
Overshadowed by the Dust Bowl, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 raged for over 5 months, displacing 750,000 people and dwarfed any subsequent river flood in US history until 2008. Around this catastrophe, Franklin and Fennelly weave a story about two Prohibition agents sent to the Mississippi Delta to investigate the disappearance of their predecessors. The agents find themselves entangled with an orphaned baby, bootleggers, and a grieving mother, all interwoven with the same sort of gritty historical details that have captivated Hannah’s readers.
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
In the middle of WWI, Emily Bryce becomes engaged to a recovering Australian soldier, but when he’s sent back to the front, she volunteers as a “land girl,” through the Women’s Land Army, helping keep Britain’s farms active while men were serving overseas. Though brighter in tone than Hannah’s novel, The Victory Garden taps into a similar connection between determined women and the land they work in the face of tragedies and hardships.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
In Japanese-occupied Korea, an apparently dutiful daughter brings shame to her family when they discover she’s carrying the child of a married man. A kindly pastor marries her to help her save face and they move to Japan. Their story spirals out across four generations and eight decades as they settle down, have children, face discrimination and success, and grapple with what it means to be an immigrant living in the country of your conqueror.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Recently come to Kentucky, Alice looks to escape her stifling life with her husband and father-in-law by joining a packhorse library, bringing books and news and literacy to families in the Appalachian mining region. The women of the WPA library band together in the face of poverty, rapacious mining companies, unrest in the community, and one rather salacious book.
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
3 women try to make lives for themselves in 1800s Tasmania, in the penal colony on the island. An Aboriginal orphan is adopted by an English woman to try to “civilize” her. A governess, wrongfully accused of a crime by her wealthy employer, is sentenced to “be transported.” A midwife’s daughter uses what she’s learned from her mother to her advantage on the same journey. When the ship docks, their three stories converge, some with happy endings, others sad.