Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pat's Review: The Great Alone

I've got another "not a romance" review today, but Pat loved this one so much she just had to share. This one is a bit historical fiction -- right? 1970s would be considered "historical" at this point, yes? IDK -- and a bit women's fiction, and I know some of you will love it just like Pat!

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 6, 2018)
Genre: Historical Fiction

Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.

Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women. About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah's ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.

Where to Buy*:
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Pat's Review:

This is an emotional, heart wrenching read that I couldn’t put down. There's beauty, pain, and sorrow mixed with so much love. I wondered if I would ever read anything as powerful as The Nightingale......I just did.

Lena Allbright’s father, Ernt, is a Vietnam vet who survived four years of hell as a POW. He returned a totally different person. Couldn’t keep a job, terrible mood swings, could never sleep. Her mom Cora, tried everything she could to keep life normal for Leni, despite constantly moving, changing schools and witnessing her father’s bursts of anger. The year is 1974. Finding out he has been left a plot of land in Lands End, Alaska has given Ernt new life and a lot of fear for Cora and Leni. But they go.

It was a cabin, more like a shack, literally at lands end. Her father was ecstatic. The closest town was Kaneq, there were shops, a one room school and wonderful people who welcomed them, and began to help immediately. They were warned repeatedly that this was the time to prepare for winter, it would be worse than they could even imagine. They did their best. Lena made her first friend at school, his name was Matthew and he was 13 years old also. They survived their first winter, and learned a lot more that will help them to survive the next. The years went by, Ernt became a follower of a local Doomsday group, preparing for war, or the end of the world, extremely militant. It made Cora and Leni that much more nervous, but life entered a pattern that seemed to work. When Leni turned 18, she and Matthew had grown up and into a relationship that was much more serious than friends. They were planning a life together and Leni was going off to the University of Anchorage on scholarship. But more frequently now Ernt was taking out his anger on Cora, viciously. She always accepted his tearful begging for forgiveness, but Leni had lost patience. Her love for Matthew was the only thing that kept her going. Then, tragedy struck, her life plans were shattered, and she and her Mom had to find a way to survive.

Mixed in with this emotional rollercoaster, the beauty of Alaska is painted for us by Ms. Hannah. The bitter cold of winter and darkness, contrasting with the never ending sun of summer. This is one of those books I will reread and get even more entertainment from. I have recommended it to many friends, and can only give it the highest praise.


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Pat received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

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Thanks for the review, Pat! 

Have you read Kristin Hannah?


Until Next Time,

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