Release date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
Normally I fly through books at a rapid pace, devouring them in a day, (two at the most) but it took me over two weeks to read this one. It’s not what you think though. I didn’t struggle to stay engrossed, I wasn’t uninterested in the story but rather I wanted savor each page, each word of this gorgeously written book. I’ve been slowly coming out of a reading slump and this book was the one constant that I could pick up and totally lose myself in. I was almost dreading turning the final page because I wasn’t ready for it to end.
This book already has close to 100,000 reviews on Goodreads so I’m sure that you’ve seen at least one before, so I’ll keep this brief. If you loved The Nightingale read this, I liked it even more and that’s one of my most loved books. If you like atmospheric stories where the setting is a character of it’s own, read this book. If you like stunning imagery, deeply developed characters and reads that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, read the book. It will probably make you cry though so fair warning. Seriously, don’t miss this one it’s phenomenal.
The Great Alone in three words: Captivating, Thought provoking and Evocative.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.