Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of the much-praised The Nightingale, and her new novel, The Great Alone takes us to the vast wild expanses of Alaska. But once again Kristin Hannah has written an extraordinary novel with a wonderful sense of place, unforgettable characters and a plotline with loads of emotion and heart. I loved this book!
The novel opens in 1974 and Ernt, a Vietnam veteran who as a POW, is a changed man from his former happy self. Since he has returned from Vietnam and has dragged his wife Cora, and his daughter Leni around the USA, always looking for a fresh start. But then he inherits a cabin in Alaska and he uproots his family one more time. Leni is thirteen-years-old, and we see most of the story through her eyes. The unbelievable beauty of the Alaskan landscape, but all the terrible brutality, where one mistake could mean death in the unforgiving wildness. Slowly, over the summer the family transform their rundown cabin into something that resembles a home, with the help of the local community. Leni starts again at another school and quickly makes her first real friend, Matthew, the son of one of the oldest families in the area. But as winter approaches, her father’s demons return, and then it feels nothing it safe anymore as they share their isolated home with a man who is increasingly unstable.
The Great Alone is an intimate story of family love and people tested beyond endurance. It’s also an epic tale of survival against the elements. The Great Alone is beautifully written novel with a great deal of heart. I challenge anyone to read the ending and not cry, or to read the story as it unfolds and not be completely captivated. I would highly recommend this wonderful novel – it is outstanding!
Reviewer: Karen McKenzie
Macmillan, RRP $34.99