Fifteen Book Club members met at Lynn Leissler’s home in November to discuss Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah. With solid structure and strong, complex characters, Hannah unfolds a tale of relationships and history that spans the globe, starting in WWII Leningrad and ending in Washington State—with a side trip to Alaska along the way. Between Stalin’s oppression and German aggression, Russian-born Anya Whitson and her countrymen endure unimaginable terror and hardship during the war and the ensuing siege. Anya uses a fairy tale to tell her story, but only part of it. Her Russian husband and two young children died. In American family she has a second husband and two grown daughters. Anya is cold toward her daughters. They crave her love, but not knowing the end of the story, they don’t understand their mother. The Book Club members, tear-soggy Kleenex in their hands, found the book a satisfying tale of forgiveness, hope and redemption. Lynn decorated her dining room table with a white tablecloth (snow) and symbols representing both of Anya’s worlds: belts and torn strips of wallpaper (“food” from the siege), and an apple tree depicting life in America. She served Russian Tea Cakes, and as mentioned in the book, Apple Walnut Strudel.