The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
Published by Pan, 10th January 2019
Genres: Historical fiction
Source: Borrowed (library)
Trigger warnings: domestic violence
When Ernt Albright, a former prisoner of war, returns from Vietnam he is a changed man. When he loses yet another job, he makes a drastic decision: he will move his family to Alaska. They will be free to live as they want there, in America’s last true frontier, nobody will bother them and they will all be happy once more.
For thirteen-year-old Leni, the move to Alaska is just the most recent in a long string of moves and changes. Caught in the middle of her parents’ tumultuous relationship, Leni remains hopeful that maybe Alaska will be the answer to their problems. At first, the beauty of the Alaskan summer and the support of the local community make up for the Allbrights’ inexperience and lack of preparation. But as winter sets in, with its impassable snowdrifts and 18 hours of darkness, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon Leni and her mother Cora discover that they are on their own and that the Alaskan winter is not the most dangerous thing they are facing.
Another stunning book from Kristin Hannah! I have been wanting to read this one for ages so when I spotted it in my local library, I snatched it up. And I was not disappointed. This is another beautifully written and heart-breaking story, populated by strong female characters and set in a stunning location. In case I wasn’t already longing to visit Alaska, this book made me want to go there even more.
I loved the depictions of frontier living in Alaska in the 1970s, the strong men and even stronger women who went into this unforgiving wilderness and survived and thrived there. It was very inspiring to read about and imagine. The contrast between the inexperienced Allbright family and those who had been in Alaska for generations was really well written as well.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Just that if you love historical fiction, a stunning rural setting and heart-breaking romance, you have to read this. It is absolutely one of my favourite reads of the year.
My rating: 5/5