Review of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Thank you to St Martins Press for generously supplying me with a review copy of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
"The last frontier was like her dad, it seemed larger than life. Expansive. And dangerous. " - Page 12
"Alaska isn't about who you were when you headed this way. It's about who you become." - Page 42
A lot of you fell more even more in love with Kristin Hannah after you read the Nightengale. I did too. When I heard that she was writing a new book I was very intrigued. I had no idea the journey I would go on in her new book. A lot of people were wondering if this book was like any of her previous novels and my quick response was, "NO!" After reading this book I decided to reshelve Hannah in my mind because previously I had always put her in the chick lit category. Maybe because of how girlie the covers of her previous novels are. I am not sure, but after reading The Great Alone I think Hannah deserves to be read by lovers of literary fiction.
This book does not drag its feet. I was completely immersed in this story almost immediately. I was very unsure about this book being written from the perspective of an eleven-year-old girl, but Hannah wrote Leni's character with such a maturity for her age that I kept forgetting that she was a young girl. This feeling also made me sad many times because Leni faces so much conflict as a young girl that I wanted to shield her from. The Great Alone is set in the 70's and almost right away Leni's dad decides that Alaska is where their lives will finally begin. Leni's dad, Ernt, believes that Alaska will offer him healing for the horrors he faced in war. And Corra, Leni's mother, will do anything that Ernt wants because her love for her is just as fierce as Alaska, At first Alaska does seem to be the answer to all of their problems, but as the summer months recede and daylight drops to just a few hours a day Ernt's demons begin to appear. Without any escape for Cora and Leni inside their small cabin, Alaska's dangers seem to pale in comparison to what they are facing when they look their father in the eyes each morning.
I live in Southern California and the idea of any type of survival is completely void on me. I am writing this review in Starbucks wearing sandals in January. I have no idea what weather even is. The Great Alone is set in the last frontier, Alaska. Alaska is fierce and not a place to be taken lightly, "...fear is common sense up here." page 29. Throughout the book, you see the residents of this remote town in a continual state of preparing for winter. The cold and Alaska are characters in this book in their own right and I was equally fascinated and scared of these quiet companions throughout the book. I am now officially obsessed with Alaska. In the last couple of months, two of the best books I have read in a long time were both set in fierce Alaska. The connection is not lost on me. Alaska brings forth a feeling and a setting that cannot be ignored.
The Great Alone is a gritty story of love. Not love in the traditional sense, but a love story that becomes toxic and harmful. A story about a daughters love, a mothers love, a husbands love, a wife's love. What love will push you to do or what it won't push you to do? After I finished reading this book I was left feeling completely gutted by the story.
I would highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy extremely well-written fiction. Told from a strong viewpoint, and written powerfully.
Just a quick disclaimer for readers with triggers. I would not recommend reading this book if you struggle reading books with a theme of domestic abuse.
Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover: 448 pages
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press