The Great Alone

The Great Alone

Book - 2018
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Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780312577230
Characteristics: 440 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Best Historical Fiction

When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

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Jan 07, 2020

A good read., sometimes going on a bit too much about the complexity of lives in the family. However, the author perfectly described the small towns of Alaska, and the hardships faced living there. The ending was perfect with Lenny returning home with her son to reunite with her love.
Definitely 8/10

Dec 28, 2019

A book set in alaska

Dec 26, 2019

One of the biggest soap operas I have come across. Good lord. I kept looking down at my audio book and thinking, "ELEVEN more chapters left?!" The mother character was weak in my opinion, the whole abusive relationship part was way overdone. I couldn't finish it.

Dec 26, 2019

Good, but very typical KH writing. A little simple.

Dec 10, 2019

Kept my attention, didn't care for the Cora character at all, nuff said

Dec 05, 2019

There isn’t an adjective existing, whether positive or negative, that can’t be applied to this book. There were times, many actually, when I didn’t want to turn to the next page, but I did anyway. That was the only way to reach the end.

Nov 28, 2019

Incredibly powerful read! I can’t remember reading anything as emotional as this book before. Hard to put down! From cover to cover...never a dull moment.

Nov 27, 2019

How anyone could fail to give this book 5 out of 5 is beyond me. It is a masterpiece page turner and I haven't read a book so incredibly compulsive as this one was, for a long, long time. I'd give it 6 out of 5 if I could.

Nov 22, 2019

After reading The Nightingale as one of our reading projects, we decided to try another of Hannah’s books. I should warn anybody reading this comment that my reading has always been heavily non-fiction. After retiring (sort of) I tried to expand my horizons a bit. Reviewing my “completed” list, it appears that before the current project with my wife, my reading was still 4:1 non-fiction, and the 20% fiction was roughly half classics (The Inferno, Death in Venice..). But since the reading project with my wife began, it has flipped in the opposite direction. So, anybody perusing my comments should understand that my background in fiction is slight and highly colored by my addiction to sci-fi as a young man.
Still, I really enjoyed this book. Hannah does a great job with her characters. Although I dislike Ernt and question Cora’s decisions, I have seen enough of that in the real world to know that her characters are not unbelievable. Cora’s letter was the only part that I couldn’t accept, but it was necessary to achieve the desired romantic outcome. Yes, I know there is a difference between love and romance. The granularity of her description of life in Alaska was what most affected me. As Hannah's attention to the little things did in Nightingale, her detail in this book put me in the scene.
BTW, if you liked this story about the Great Alone, try Hampton Sides' "In the Kingdom of Ice." It's not fiction.

Nov 06, 2019

The author did do a great job of describing life in remote Alaska and that part was very interesting however I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone. It was one of the most depressing and sad books I have ever read, with one of the worst characters I have ever read about. Yes, I know the guy had PTSD and that was the main problem but still.......I will take some of the blame because I was expecting more along the lines of the story about the father and daughter who lived in the park in Portland. This was for sure not that!!

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May 22, 2019

“Such a thin veil separated the past from the present; they existed simultaneously in the human heart. Anything could transport you - the smell of the sea at low tide, the screech of a gull,the turquoise of a glacier-fed river. A voice in the the wind could be both true and imagined.“

Dec 20, 2018

“Books are the mile markers of my life. Some people have family photos or home movies to record their past. I’ve got books. Characters. For as long as I can remember, books have been my safe place.” - p. 240

Dec 20, 2018

“Love and fear. The most destructive forces on earth. Fear had turned her inside out, love had made her stupid.” - p. 284

Dec 20, 2018

“Alaska doesn’t attract many; most are too tame to handle life up here. But when she gets her hooks in you, she digs deep and holds on, and you become heres. Wild. A lover of cruel beauty and splendid isolation. And God help you, you can’t live anywhere else.” - p. 347

ArapahoeMaryA Mar 13, 2018

You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska—the odds are good, but the goods are odd.


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Mar 20, 2019

This book is every bit as good as Nightingale. I got so involved with the characters that, at times, I had to put the book down because it made me so anxious and nervous about what was going to happen to them. I can't wait to read another of Kristin's books. 5 star rating from me!

Sep 11, 2018

This story of life in Alaska evolves around a family (the Allbrights') Ernst, his wife, and Leni, their Daughter who move up to Alaska after Ernst is left the property by a friend he knew during the Vietnam War. Ernst suffered from PTSD and creates havoc and fear whereever he goes. I was unable to put the book down; an excellent read and well recommended.


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Mar 05, 2019

pmeadows2020 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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