Archive for March, 2021

The Four Winds

Friday, March 26th, 2021

By Kristin Hannah

The Short Take:

While the depiction of Dust Bowl/Great Depression poverty was interesting, the unrelenting suffering of the primary character wears you out.


Having read two other books by Hannah I should have been prepared for misery piled upon misery. I wasn’t. From a hateful family to a distant husband to the horrors of the Great Depression–it was one thing after another, all faced by a woman who felt she got only what she deserved.

The writing is fine and the pacing is good. Maybe in happier times this book about the struggles of people who have been reduced to a footnote in history might have resonated. Now it only reminds one of how far we haven’t come.

A Little Plot:

Elsa’s prosperous and very proper family clearly look down on her, constantly telling her she is unattractive and incapable. No wonder she sees her own future as an empty wasteland. In a single act of rebellion, she goes out one night in a flapper-stye dress and meets a man. The outcome is not good.

For more about Krisstin Hannah and her books, click here.

A Thousand Ships

Monday, March 15th, 2021

By Natalie Haynes

The Short Take:

This novel tells the story of the Trojan War from the view points of its women. Plus it lays the blame for this 10-year long bloodbath squarely at the feet of it’s instigator–and it isn’t Helen.


Haynes’ unique perspective gives voice to the women and goddesses who play supporting roles in Homer’s epics. Why? Because even though these women did not go to battle (except for the Amazons), their stories are also heroic.

Written from many different perspectives, these women’s stories are not only drawn from portrayals in the Iliad and Odyssey but other classical writings that expanded their stories, such as the plays of Euripides. And Haynes provides character as well as plot: Penelope’s letters to her husband, Odysseus, develop a caustic tone as his journey home from a long war threatens to take even longer. Cassandra, who knows the future but is never believed, continually bears intense anguish due to her deadly knowledge.

Highly accessible and exceptionally informative this novel delivers a solid retelling of the war and its aftermath. It’s no feminist screed but does put a spotlight on the bravery, pain, vengefulness, pride, and patience of these women who are also heavily impacted by the death and destruction of this war.

A Little Plot:

It’s the Iliad and the Odyssey with some extra. You probably know the highlights of the plot.

For more about Natalie Haynes and her books click here.


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March 2021