The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an objective review…
Lenora Allbright is a pre-pubescent ‘tween’ in 1974 when her war veteran father makes an impromptu decision to move the family to Alaska. After losing yet another job, the PTSD ridden Ernt receives a letter from the father of a deceased military buddy offering him his sons’ home and land in the last frontier state. They pack their meager belongings and head to rural Kaneq, AK, where they quickly learn that Alaska is another world all together.
A small town with no electricity and none of the modern conveniences, Kaneq is full of colorful characters who quickly welcome the Allbrights into their midst. There’s Large Marge, who left behind a life as an attorney, and runs the towns market. There’s Mad Earl, the town eccentric, and Thomas Walker, who’s family once founded Kaneq, and whom Ernt rapidly comes to resent, and the lovable Thelma.
As summer gradually gives way to fall and into the long, dark Alaskan winter, Ernt becomes more and more irrational, planning for events that don’t come, and pitting himself against the whole town. He takes out his fears and frustration on wife Cora, while Leni does her best to protect her. However, Leni becomes close to Matthew Walker, Tom’s son, and Ernt refuses to allow the relationship to continue. But continue it does, and Leni finds herself in an impossible position – run away with the man she loves, or remain at home and attempt to protect her mother from an increasingly abusive and volatile situation?
When an attempt to run results in a serious accident that threatens Matthews life, Leni must remain home to safeguard her mother. On a dark winters night, violence flares once again, leaving Leni and Cora having to flee the land they’ve come to call home, and the man that Leni loves …
I LOVED this book, and like most of Kristin Hannah’s novels, it really resonated with me. I don’t believe I’ve ever made it through one of her books without tears – and this one is no different!! A must-read for Hannah fans, and for anyone looking for heartwarming characters, descriptive and colorful writing, and a story you’ll remember long after you put the book down!
Also, Alaska has just moved way up on my ‘bucket list’ of places I need to see!