Book Reviews · Contemporary Fiction · Fiction · Historical Fiction

The Great Alone – Review

Kristin Hannah.

Doesn’t the name just make you want to grab a box of tissues?


She is definitely one of a kind when it comes to emotional roller-coaster writing. Personally, I’ve been sobbing my way through reading her books since 2012, when I returned to my one true love: books. Her stories are always complex and explore the different kinds of love that we’re capable of. I love that they aren’t your typical “love stories”, but more an exploration of friendships and relationships. My favorite of her works is The Things We Do For Love, which I forced on friends and family as I tend to do.

The Great Alone follows the Allbright family to Alaska, where Ernt Allbright hopes to find the peace and happiness he’s been searching for since being released from POW in Vietnam. His wife, Cora, will do whatever her husbands wants, in hopes that her pre-war husband will return. Leni is their daughter and has only known her father as the volatile drifter he has become, always dragging his family along in his search for peace. The book is told from her perspective.

Once the Allbrights arrive in Alaska, you realize just how serious the locals take their lives in the wild. Right off the bat, you can tell that they aren’t prepared for the harsh winters and difficult climate. Luckily, the people of their town understand “the call of the wild” and take the Allbrights under their wing and help to teach them the ways of the land. Unfortunately, winter in Alaska brings darkness and the darkness brings out the worst in people; therefore Ernt’s PTSD can’t stay dormant for long. He turns to alcohol and escalates the problem, despite telling his family he will do better. *trigger warning* There are some strong scenes of domestic abuse and violence that take place. Leni takes refuge in her books and friendship with Matthew, the only local that’s her age. The story follows the Allbright family through the years and we watch as Leni becomes a young woman, who shows strength and independence that come from growing up fighting for her life.

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

“You think you know what wild means. It’s a word you’ve used all your life. You use it to describe an animal, your hair, an undisciplined child. In Alaska, you learn what wild really means.”

Hannah’s writing is simply stunning in The Great Alone. I felt like I was actually in Alaska while reading her descriptions. I found myself googling pictures of the towns mentioned, amazed at how accurate her descriptions are. Her scenes reiterate how breath-takingly beautiful, but potentially deadly Alaska is.


My only complaint about this book was the last 5 chapters. The amount of drama packed into that bit of the book absolutely threw me for a loop. There were dramatic moments through the book but more happened here than in the whole book! It did feel a bit rushed, like maybe she was trying to cram a bit more drama in and still tie it up, but if nothing else, it made me fly through the last pages. I’ve seen some people complain about it on GR, but it didn’t really bother me?

Overall, I give this read 4 stars!




Per her bio on her personal site, Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter GardenNight Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library JournalPasteThe Wall Street Journal and The Week.  Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

Learn more about Kristin Hannah here on her website.

Buy your copy of The Great Alone, out on February 6, here!

Thank you to Goodreads, Kristin Hannah and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a free ARC of The Great Alone. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway!

Happy Reading!


5 thoughts on “The Great Alone – Review

    1. I didn’t know anything about it when I started and there were definitely slow parts. The imagery is beautifully described though, the author makes Alaska a character in the novel! It’s a really great coming-of-age story but there’s lots of difficult parts too so it won’t be for everyone! If you read it, let me know your thoughts!

  1. AHHH! 1) I can’t believe you won a goodreads giveaway. 2) I am so excited to read this. I went ahead and ordered the “Once Upon a Time” box for my copy of The Great Alone instead of getting it with my Book of the Month. I figured it being 500+ pages having matching gifts to go along with what I read would make it easier to get through the book.

    1. Wait wait wait. What is this “once upon a time” box you speak of?! Also, I can’t believe I won either, but honestly I enter every one I can LOL so I was bound to get one eventually!!

      1. My bad! I totally butchered the name 😴 I meant the Once Upon a Book Club box. It’s a subscription service where they send you a book and little gifts to upon up on certain pages (they match with what you are reading).

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