Kristin Hannah has 23 published books dating back to the early 1990s. She is a prolific author with her most recent novels propelling her into one of the most well-known authors out there right now. Her most famous novel, The Nightingale, took us all by storm when it was released in 2015 telling the harrowing story of two very different sisters navigating through dangerous times when France is occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II. I think everyone I know has read this extremely emotional and compelling story, making it the gold standard work of comparison for any other WWII novel. Goodreads also suggests the ubiquity of this book and how it is universally liked with its nearly 500,000 ratings and whopping 4.56 rating out of 5 stars! With a huge portfolio of books, Kristin Hannah has an impressive backlist for anyone who likes her writing to explore. I am going to highlight here a couple of the lesser-known books that are worth a read by this well-known author that I have discovered.
This historical fiction novel, published in 2010, begins by introducing estranged sisters and their strained relationship with their mom as they come together when their father’s health takes a turn for the worst. When their father’s dying wish is for their mother to tell the girls the end of the Russian fairy tale story she always told them with they were kids, it takes them on a journey to war-torn Leningrad where a young woman must find a way to survive insurmountable obstacles. I read this book with my sisters and mom and we all liked the book, which I think is recommendation enough given our diverse tastes in books. Hannah’s signature finesse with writing sisters is present throughout this story, as well as her general aptitude for writing realistic female characters and their relationships.
This was my first Kristin Hannah novel that I picked up at a thrift store because the cover was so beautiful. This contemporary fiction novel, published in 2009, tells the stories of three sisters living in a small town and the wedge that grows between them when their youngest sister falls for the “wrong” sort of man. Taking place over many years and the trials and tribulations of each of their lives, this story had me emotionally gripped from the get-go. The story has an epic quality to it even though the book is less than 350 pages. It also helped that I have two sisters and found that the sisters represented in this story had ties to each of us. I was feeling very connected to this story and this is where I first learned that Kristin Hannah really gets sisters, and knows how to paint the beauty and challenges of that connection sisters share.