“‘Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There’s a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you.'”
Tragic, bleak, beautiful, painful, powerful, hopeful – all are words that could describe The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. My body would tense has suspense built. My heart would break for their characters and their struggles. Old personal emotions gripped me as Kristin Hannah’s prose brought them to the forefront of my memory.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that this was my first Kristin Hannah book. I’ve heard such wonderful things, and now I’m annoyed with myself for holding off until now.
Lenora (Leni) Allbright and her parents, Cora and Ernt, move to Alaska in 1974 in search of a fresh start. Ernt drives the decision to move. As a Vietnam veteran and POW, he has returned with nightmares and a host of problems that make him unable to hold a job.
The Allbrights arrive in Kaneq, a small town in the Alaskan bush, woefully unprepared for what they’ve gotten themselves into. Winter is coming, and the locals warn of the host of dangers they will face. However, the longer they stay in Alaska, Leni finds that she and her mother have more reason to fear the dangers inside their own home than those of the Alaskan wilderness.
The Great Alone is a family saga, a tragedy, a love story and a coming-of-age tale all in one, and it is exquisite. The descriptions of Alaska alone were beautiful. The landscape is as much as character in the book as any of the people. I honestly want to visit Alaska now – there’s something so intriguing about places that are so pure and alluring but also harsh and uninviting.
I’m sure this will be one of my favorite books of 2018, and it is worth all of the hype that has surrounded it since its release. Kristin Hannah has penned a magnificent story I see myself revisiting time and again.