Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
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 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.
About: The Great Alone is a historical women’s fiction written by Kristin Hannah. This book will be published on 2/6/18 by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan, paperback, 448 pages. The genres are historical, women’s, and fiction. According to Macmillan’s website, “St. Martin’s Press has a long and respected history of publishing a solid and varied list. We are dedicated to publishing emerging new authors, and offering a fresh perspective on classic genres, while maintaining a diverse and interesting range of books.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Great Alone on 1/21/18 and finished it on 1/28/18 at 2:50AM. This book is a fantastic read! What a surprise and unexpected treasure. Definitely a book I have been waiting to read for a long time but not knowing where to look or what I want. I love getting to know Alaska. I love all the characters in this story. I like following Leni from her adolescent years until she grows up. I like following Cora’s thoughts and Matthew’s thoughts as well. I love Large Marge! She’s awesome! This book brings all emotions out of me and it’s all worth it. Reading this book makes me feel desperate to watch documentaries about Alaska. I watched the Great Wild North on Netflix to have a clear picture of what living in the bush looks like and to see what a bush plane looks like. I then watched several YouTube videos to see how living off the grid looks like. I also watched Life Below Zero on Netflix to see how life is near the arctic circle and the people that choose to live there.
This book is told in the third person point of view following Lenora Allbright aka Leni aka Red, 13, as she tries to fit in at each new school after each move her family made. Her mom, Cora, 30, was a rich girl who defied her parents and quit high school to run away with her boyfriend, Leni’s dad. After Leni’s dad was drafted to war in Vietnam, Leni and her mom struggle to survive and support each other. After her dad comes back from the war and being captured, he grows more impatient and constantly losing his jobs. A final move when Leni’s dad receive a letter to inform them that they are to inherit some land in Alaska and they could move there to live off the land. Leni is a bookworm like us all. Alaska in 1974 is untamed and wild. Roads are unpaved, electricity, running water, and telephone are unavailable. Citizens carry weapons with them at all times. Living off the land is truly as it is and the Allbright’s family will have to hunt for meat and grow vegetables for food and store the extras to prepare for winter. Surviving Alaska in the wild is not the only threat facing Leni. She grows up questioning what love is when love hurts, especially witnessing the volatile of love in her home. Life in the wild unprepared is not the only danger to worry about.
This book is very well written and developed. I love the humor and the realistic feel in the remote of Alaska. I like how this book focus on love and what love is. I like how this book shows readers of unhappiness, how Leni thinks she has it worse but then realized that Matthew may have it far more worse than she. I like the variety of characters, rich vs. poor, stability vs. instability, war veterans vs. people looking for an escape, and etc. I love the mother-daughter relationship in this book! I like the imperfection of family. I like how this book shows the real life of family, with money and without. I like Leni’s book haul at the Salvation Army. This book is definitely the best love story I have read and I highly recommend everyone to read it!
Pro: fast paced, page turner, cover, humor, realistic, Alaska, the remote, mother-daughter relationship, adrenaline rush, love, couldn’t put down
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of novels including Night Road, Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden. She was born in Southern California and moved to Western Washington when she was eight. A former lawyer, Hannah started writing when she was pregnant and on bed rest for five months. Writing soon became an obsession, and she has been at it ever since. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
More Information about St. Martin’s Press
***Disclaimer: I won this book from Goodreads Giveaway through the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and my opinions are honest.