Book Review – The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

 The Great Alone
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publish Date: February 6, 2018
# of Pages: 435
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


(From Goodreads) 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 it 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.


Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 9
Pace – 8
Plot Development – 10
Ending – 10
Characters – 9
Enjoyability – 10
Ease of Reading – 8

Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah follows the life of the Allbright family as they head up North to become homesteaders off the grid in Alaska. The book is a poignant journey of fear, despair, heartbreak, and hope.

My goodness, I’m still picking up the pieces of heart after reading this book. Hands down, this book made me feel all the feels–I laughed, I cried, I was anxious with fear. Kristin Hannah’s book is one worthy of being read and reread and given a special place on your bookshelf.

Kristin Hannah is a master storyteller, and the Alaska world she paints is vivid with detail. The writing in the book is beautiful, and the pacing is superb. There’s never a dull moment in The Great Alone, even during the more descriptive moments of the plot development.

I absolutely adored the story concept. Ernt, a former POW, is the guiding force of much of the Allbright’s life in Alaska. Ernt struggles with demons from the war, which greatly affects his wife Cora and his daughter Leni. Because of Ernt’s PTSD, there’s hardship and difficult choices. Parts of the story are tough to read, and there are moments when you cross your fingers, just hoping the family catches a break. I loved every page of the book and could have easily read it in a single day, had I the time to do so.

The ending of the book was raw with emotion. I loved it, even though it shredded me.

The characters in the book are so rich in detail that you feel as though they’re sitting beside you. All of them–from the main characters, to secondary characters like Large Marge. They’re all breathtakingly realistic and stunning portraits of humanity.

Should you read this book? If you enjoy women’s fiction, then yes you should read this book! I’ve already recommended it to several family and friends and will shout this recommendation to the moon and back.


“Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next.” 

“Fear was a mansion, one room after another, connected by endless hallways.”

Let’s Talk!

Have you read The Great Alone? Did you love it as much as I did??

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