Anya Whitson is a Russian immigrant who moves to the United States after marrying her American husband. Anya is very hard woman who shows no love to her two daughters, Meredith and Nina, throughout their lives. Nina is an unsettled world traveling photographer and I Hate Everyone shirt is a workaholic wife and mother who remains home to run the family orchard and never does anything for herself, it’s always for others.
When Evan Whitson, husband to Anya and loving father to Nina and Meredith suffers a stroke and is not expected to live, he makes Anya promise to finish the fairy tales she would occasionally tell to her daughters when they were young. He also makes Meredith and Nina promise to listen to their mom and support her after he is gone. Not to give up on their mother like they have felt she had given up on them.
Through shots of whiskey and much prodding, Anya slowly opens up to her daughters and begins to tell a Russian fairy tale of a handsome prince and the black knights. As the story goes on Meredith and Nina realize that perhaps this isn’t just any fairy tale, could this be the key to learning of their Russian mothers past? Is this the key to their mom’s ice cold heart melting and finally having a relationship with her daughters?
This is my first Kristin Hannah book and I loved it. Definitely an emotional book that takes you all over the world from the past to the present. I finished this book about I Hate Everyone shirt, and it’s one that still pops into my mind (especially after yesterday’s mid-March snow!). As noted in my review of The Great Alone, I read Winter Garden during the same time, making both books my first experience with Kristin Hannah. And I was so pleased.