Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: The Great Alone

By Melissa Amster

Alaska, 1974.
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.
(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

It's been three years since Kristin Hannah's previous novel, The Nightingale, came out. Three long years of waiting to see what she'd come up with next. I can assure you that The Great Alone was definitely worth the wait. I have one word for it: Epic.

I really didn't know what to expect from this novel. Truth be told, the concept of homesteading in Alaska was not what drew me to it as much as Kristin Hannah being the writer and the fact that a teenage girl was the narrator. However, I learned a lot of new things, including what an ulu is. (There's this funny video online that mentions it and I had no idea what they meant until now.) Even though I've never been to Alaska, it was easy to visualize through Kristin's writing. I can't imagine being in Leni's shoes (or Cora's for that matter), but I got some understanding about what Alaska really meant to them.

As a fair warning, there are some parts that are more disturbing and may be potential triggers to anyone who has experienced domestic violence. When Kristin writes about survival, she makes it raw and gritty. (If you read The Nightingale, then you know what she is capable of.)

Overall, The Great Alone is an incredibly powerful story that I can't stop thinking about or recommending.

I heard that there will be a movie sometime in the future. Hollywood, look no further...
Ernt: Jason Momoa
Cora: Evan Rachel Wood
Leni (teen): Ellie Darcey-Alden
Matthew (teen): Logan Shroyer
Tom: Eric Dane
Marge: Leslie Jones (She has the right personality for the role.)

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies to give away!


How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway ends February 18th at midnight EST.

More by Kristin Hannah:

27 comments:

Kristi said...

I am still in the process of reading this one but I'm loving it so far. Your casting is always spot on so now all the characters will replaced by your cast. :) Thanks for the great review!

Janine said...

When I was 10 years old, we moved from New York to Texas. At the time, I thought Texas was another country since it seemed so far away.

Suburban prep said...

I moved across country after college but then I moved back home after a year. I guess since coming from a large family I missed my family. If I had not moved back I probably would not have met my husband.

traveler said...

My favorite novel by Kristin Hannah is Night Garden. Memorable and unforgettable. We moved 2000 miles away from my home in 1995.

Kelley B said...

I am a big fan Of Kristin's. Can't wait to read this one.

Lesley McIntosh said...

I have not read any of Kristin's books but this sounds a great read. My biggest more was to shift off farm and into town when we retired. I live in New Zealand and the move was only to a town 20 km from the farm but it was a big adjustment, but gives me more time for reading!!!!!!!

Cori said...

I just finished this book. I literally inhaled it because I had the Audiobook and print version. I loved the characters and the struggles and the location. 5 stars in my opinion!! I think your cast would be perfect!!

Bonnie K. said...

I've never left California, but my family have moved from Northern California to Southern California and back to Northern California after two years and have stayed here since.

holdenj said...

I actually haven't read any, but this looks like a great place to start!

Jennifer said...

I lived in Nantes, France for a year during university!

Linda Kish said...

As a child, I moved across country, from California to New Jersey, at age 5. And I moved back to California at age 11.
As an adult, I moved from L.A. to San Diego.

Dianna said...

My favorite Kristin Hannah book is Firefly Lane.

Mary Preston said...

I have moved across country - FAR!!!!

Paula Williams said...

I’m a long time Kristin Hannah fan from many years ago. I’m so excited for her success. Well deserved. In the past I have bought her books when I’ve gone to her signing events at my local store but she isn’t coming this year so I’m hoping to win a copy!!!

Paula Williams said...

My favorite of hers has to be the first one I read, The Magic Hour.

Stacie said...

So far, my favorite Kristin Hannah book is Winter Garden, but I love every one I have read. I can't wait to read this one!

bn100 said...

no fav yet

jpetroroy said...

The Nightingale

Stephanie said...

I love Kristin Hannah! The Nightingale is my favorite and I can’t wait to read this one!

Suzanne W said...

My favorite of hers (so far) is The Nightingale.

Trish said...

We moved 8 hours away. Luckily we were able to move back 4 months later.

susieqlaw said...

The Nightingale

Amy L said...

I've read several of Kristin Hannah's books, and enjoyed them all, but my favorite is The Nightingale.

Kelly Rodriguez said...

My favorite Kristin Hannah book is Between Sisters.

Sarah Scholz said...

I haven't read any of her books yet. I've heard great things. My mom has read her books. She really likes her writing.

Carole said...

thanks, Melissa! Cheers

Michele Morin said...

This does sound good!