The Great Alone

From Amazon: 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 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.


Hannah does an incredible job of creating characters in such a way that they truly come alive in your mind while reading. I'm not sure that I've loved a character like Large Marge in such a long time. As much I hated so many of the choices the characters made at times, I felt like I knew them in such a way that I understood what they were doing, even if I loathed it. She took me to another world - Alaska in the 1970's. Beautiful, tragic, remote, and breathtaking. There's a significant story here but if domestic abuse and violence are triggers, this might not be for you. Hannah broaches a tough subject and handles it beautifully. My only complaint was something in the ending but I won't spoil that one for you.

Overall, I really loved The Great Alone. It is so very different from The Nightingale so try not to compare - I won't lie, that was hard for me. I wasn't exactly satisfied with the ending but I still thought the book was incredibly well written. I was completely sucked into the story and stayed up late to keep reading. Bonus points for both making me laugh out loud AND tear up. 


The Great Alone is out 2/6/2018. Pre-order your copy here. Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for a free copy in exchange for a review. All opinions my own.