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.
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Our book club met last night to discuss one of our best reads so far, The Great Alone. No one rated the novel lower than a 4.5 out of 5, so it comes highly recommended! This is the second novel that I read by Kristin Hannah, the first being her highly popular The Nightingale.
I think I would have to give an edge to The Great Alone over The Nightingale, just because I love the in depth look into the family. I was also more engaged with The Great Alone. Since I read the novel in one sitting, it’s clear that I couldn’t put it down.
The Great Alone does touch on heavy emotional topics including abuse and PTSD. You feel such a connection with Leni (the 13 year ago old daughter) and Cora (Leni’s mother) that the emotions they felt really impacted me as a reader.
The secondary characters in the novel were amazing! I loved everything about Large Marge and Tom Walker! Hannah also writes so beautifully that Alaska felt like another character by itself. You felt the fear that winter in Alaska brings and the isolation that comes with living in such a remote location. It was truly off the grid living.
5 calculators out of a potential 5! The Great Alone will make you feel. I laughed, I cried and when I finished I hugged my mom (and cried some more). Read this novel (and the Nightingale if you haven’t already)!!