The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah Book Summary

In Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

#1 New York Times Instant Bestseller (February 2018)
A People “Book of the Week”
Buzzfeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”
Seattle Times’s “Books to Look Forward to in 2018”

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights 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 newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. 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.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah Book Reviews

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- Great Alone5 star

Loved it. Great setting, plot and characters.

- Great read!5 star

Loved this one! Took me a minute to get into but once I did I had a hard time putting down.

- Alaska or Bust!5 star

It makes me want to move to Alaska for the Summer, but it was an awesome story of love and loss and had plenty of twists and turns. I’d highly recommend it!

- The Great Alone5 star

Such a great story— would totally recommend I like how the father was finally able t o settle down in Alaska after going from place to place for all those years after returning from the war.

- Not fully satisfying2 star

The descriptions of the landscape were beautiful, but the character development left much to de desired.

- First book I’ve read start to finish in YEARS5 star

Beautifully written and leaves you thinking each time you have to put it down. Starts of fast and keeps you hooked throughout. My first read in such a long time, so glad this was recommended to me.

- 😭5 star

I loved this. Be ready to cry, though.

- The great alone was fabulous I cried at the ending thank god Matthew survived4 star

It was great I have read all of Kristen Hannah’s books

- Buy now!5 star

I loved this book! Much different than the murder mysteries I usually read. But this kept my attention the whole time. I’d find myself at work anticipating getting off so I could continue to read! Buy it now, you won’t regret it!

- Rich and intense4 star

Hannah masterfully creates a scene of chaos, abuse, and fear. She shows how easy it is to be controlled by fear and manipulated by someone who is supposed to love you.

- Beautifully written5 star

And beautiful landscape. A story of survival, love and family bonds

- Amazing5 star

The writing is captivating, the characters are intricate and realistic, and the plot continues to surprise you with unexpected turns. Easy to fall in love with and highly recommend.

- Beautiful and moving!5 star

Beautifully developed story! Hannah still has me thinking about this story months later and probably will for years. Great great book!

- After reading other of KH books..1 star

I can’t believe it is written by KH. I had to struggle to finish the book. Very disappointing

- Amazing!!5 star

For the last few paragraphs I was reading through tears. Hannah does an excellent job of connecting you to the story and strife of the main character. I felt loss, love, happiness and adventure as if I expreienced it for myself. A must read!

- Will read again5 star

Wow, what an absolutely amazing story! A great read for anyone! A huge eye opener to what the Alaskan life is really like and gives a whole new prospective to mental health and how important it is to do your best when it comes to your family. Most definitely will read again!

- Great Read!!!5 star

Loved this book, well written and enjoyable...especially wonderful company during a Wisconsin winter.

- Couldn’t put it down!4 star

I read this, as with all this author’s novels, in 3 days. Well written, enticing, surprise ending! I highly recommend it!

- Great story5 star

Very well written and easy to read. I read the whole book in two days while traveling.

- Beautiful, touching, and sad4 star

Unique characters fill this heart breaking and captivating novel. Satisfying end, modern themes/issues even though the novel is primarily set in the 1970s and 1980s.

- Excellent read5 star

Great adventure book!

- Worth the rime5 star

I loved this entire book!

- Just a dope author5 star

Nightingale was the first novel I read from Kristin Hannah and was blown away. So I tried this new title, the Great Alone, and I was blown away again. In my opinion, she’s terrific at pulling you into the story. You see, hear and smell the world she’s written with the images she leads you to conjure. She makes it so easy to relate to her characters, because they’ve been created in such vivid and disturbingly realistic detail. I look forward to reading her entire catalogue. She’s dope.

- I want to go to Alaska!5 star

Terrific novel, very hard to put down. I will recommend this to everyone I know who reads. Loved this book.

- The Great Alone1 star

I’m not sure this book deserves one star. The characters are underdeveloped stereotypes and the storyline is trite. A waste of time and talent.

- Alaska4 star

I loved this book and the story of Alaska.....Kristin Hannah is a very descriptive writer in that you can visualize her words so much, you get lost in them. Her best is The Nightingale, probably my favorite book ever. This is a great read.

- Cliche.1 star

I really wanted to like this book. I love anything to do with rural Alaska living. But all of the characters are basically one dimensional caricatures out of a poorly written soap opera. No one is believable or likable, or has any depth. Every problem is solved by deus ex machina. The father, who is the villain, is monstrous because he is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. It is an extremely poor, misguided, and even offensive representation of PTSD. There is no depth beyond that. He has PTSD, and thus he is Bad. We are TOLD that he was once a kind, loving man, but that is never brought forth in the writing and we are just expected to believe it because that is what we are told, and War made him evil. His actions just more and more ridiculous and unbelievable as the story goes on. Overall, this wasn’t a good read. I started skipping through by the end just to see what happens because I was no longer invested in the story or the writing.

- Doesn’t live up to the hype.3 star

I really wanted to like this book, but it was disappointing. While some of the descriptions of scenery and people are engaging and evocative, the writing feels really flat overall — characters are one dimensional, plot developments are predictable, and complex problems and situations are resolved simplistically and unrealistically. I continued reading because I wanted to hear the ending, but the writing often distracted me from enjoying the book.

- Life’s too short for this ridiculous book1 star

Mediocre writing, little to no character development, relentlessly brutal and depressing. Such a disappointment. I stuck with it at first because of the allure that it might get better - and it was neat to get a glimpse of life in rural Alaska - but overall it was absolutely not worth the time. Find another book!

- Had to break up with this book1 star

I wanted to love this book. I’ve read a few other books by this author and enjoyed them. She clearly has a gift for describing life in Alaska, as she had lived there and the story echoes some of her upbringing. However...it drones on and on...and on...I couldn’t bear to read more about the alcoholic father whose tantrums progressed into destroying everything around him. I found myself dreading the read...which isn’t the point of reading for me. I quit the book a few times. I eventually made it to the midway point and finally got tired of the story. All the wilderness details couldn’t save it for me. I just assumed the father would self-destruct, karma would have its way with him-blah blah...I won’t spoil it for you but you can see the ending coming from about chapter 3. Out of curiosity...I read the final chapter...and sure enough, my predictions were correct. I’m glad I didn’t waste more of my life muddling through the muckity -muck of it.

- Deep and moving5 star

Well written and a great story and a great read! I recommend it!

- Hoping for adventure2 star

Gah! I usually love books about people adventuring into far flung places. Sadly, this book read like the author imagining Alaska, not actually having ever been there. And then the loooong drawn out drama of the abusive Father. You just wanted it to be over! I dragged myself through the last half of the book, which just killed any enjoyment I got out of the first half.

- Emotion5 star

I am an avid book reader and Iv never been so emotional reading a book. This story hit so close to home for me and I couldn’t put it down. I cried, I laughed, I cried, I was frustrated, I cried, I got angry, I cried some more. I didn’t want it to end and I know it will be a book I will read over and over for years to come.

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- Great Read5 star

This book was great! It will forever be in my collection of books I could read over and over again.

- Loved5 star

Loved this book. Favorite book of 2018.

- One of the Best5 star

Excellent!

- The Great Alone- Great all around4 star

Loved this book. It made me smile and swoon. It also make me cry, but it ended well. It reminded me why I love books so much.

- Alaskan Wilderness Effect5 star

The Great Alone, deeply disturbed me, as I have been drawn to wilderness my whole life and yet I knew how the wild could threaten and bring out the ugly (and amazing) in me. This book digs into a whole lot of painfulness, especially from a female perspective while showing hope and love as finally victorious. Read it and see what comes up for you!

- Amazing story5 star

I could not put this book down, I felt entranced by every plot turn. The hardest I have ever cried reading a book. This is my second Kristin Hannah book (Nightingale was the first) and she has made me addicted to reading!

- The Great Alone5 star

In the very beginning I thought to myself.....” I just can’t get into this book “ but I continued on and believe me when I say that this book was possibly the best book I have ever read. What a marvelous story!!!! It made me smile, made me very nervous and made me cry, but the ending was everything you could ever want. Stick with it people....you certainly won’t regret it.

- The Great Alone5 star

Kristin Hannah never disappoints. The Great Alone drew me in and I couldn’t put it down. Finished it in three days. What a touching story of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers. As well as reminder of the power of forgiveness. All set in the state of Alaska that the author so beautifully describes in vivid detail. I know want to visit Alaska someday soon!

- Beautifully written story5 star

I enjoyed this book so much. It made me laugh, cry and it left me on the edge of my seat. I generally hate books about the wilderness but I enjoyed this book about the trials of romance and family in Alaska. I recommend this book for people everywhere.

- The Great Alone5 star

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. It just kept getting better and better as I went along. It was very descriptive and very well done. Almost made me want to move to Alaska! I highly recommend it.

- Wonderful!5 star

I’ve never left a review for a book before but I almost didn’t buy this book because the one review I saw was that it’s the worst book Kristin Hannah has ever wrote. There were so many highs and lows in this book. So many amazing turns that you didn’t see coming. I’ve never cried so hard from reading a book, after falling in love with the character! But the book. It’s great!

- Very Slow1 star

We are 8 hours into listening to this book and nothing of interest has happened yet. Giving up!

- The Great Alone5 star

What a wonderful book. You will get hooked with the first sentence and not be able to put it down!!! Loved and hated the characters, and want to go live in Alaska!!! You know an author is great when you can't stop thinking about the book when you have to put it down, and can't wait to get back to it !!! Love, hate, tears, joy, forgiveness, anger, resentment, just a few of the feelings this story will invoke in you! A must read!!!!!

- The Great Alone4 star

It kept me reading. There was a lot I didn’t like & I almost stopped. I did like the ending.

- The Great Alone2 star

Had to force myself to read this contrived and obvious novel. Basic writing skills and characters that are made up to propel a story that seems as if it was written by a high school student left me flat. I just didn’t care. No real depth. Was it written in two weeks? Dull.

- Tough subject4 star

This is a love story depicting good love relationships and destructive ones. It is a frustrating, hard to read book at times. There are some “feel good” romantic moments but many more gritty, tough, hard to accept ones.

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bestlifejourney - A rare gem!5 star

I rarely write reviews but when a book moves you so fiercely, you want to share it so everyone has the chance to experience it for themselves. It’s what those that love reading search for; a journey told through mesmerizing, picturesque words, a life I will never live, and yet, I did for just a little while. I will revel in this peace, gratitude and awe I feel, after finishing this novel, for as long as possible. Thank you.

Gmaofpbjbep - The Great Alone5 star

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. One of the best I have read recently.

dannylewiki - The Great Alone2 star

I got a little more than half-way through this novel before I gave up. I was bothered by the bad stereotypical description of the ‘north’ and the shallow character development.

pinknight1958 - The great alone5 star

Excellent story. Ms Hannah did a wonderful job describing g the cycle of abuse.

RWillms88 - Top 3 KH book5 star

A little slow to get going to the good stuff but well well well worth the wait. Very suspenseful, surprising and emotional. Great book

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kodair - Interesting, adventurous, gut wrenching5 star

It takes a little while to get deep into the action but once it does it will have you hooked. Interesting perspective about life in Alaska and living through the cold and dark winters. Love that it’s from a teenage girl perspective.

leelindig - The Great Alone5 star

I read Thor, Silva, Baldacci, Childs, Van Lustbaden, Taylor, Iles, C.Hahhah, Phillips, Baldwin- this was by far the one novel that really touched my heart and made me cry. It was so well written. I almost gave up at the beginning with all the “ wife beatings”, but I stuck with it and was rewarded in the end. Lee

ms_sea - Wow5 star

The author took great pains to develop characters that have true depth! Great read

catbridges - The Great Alone5 star

This was the best book I have read in a long time. The depth of the characters and the descriptions of the area were both heartwarming and gut wrenching. A wonderful read.

lauren anderson - Worst book I’ve read in a long time1 star

I have always enjoyed Kirsten Hannah books; however this is the most depressing, implausible book I’ve read in a long time. The storyline was horrible and just kept getting worse; I continued reading thinking it would have to get better but it never did. The information about life in Alaska was interesting; however the storyline was so depressing, so frustrating, and so predictable it was horrible. I absolutely do not recommend this book!

AnnGMama17 - One of the BEST books I’ve read in a while!5 star

Loved this book! Great summer read! Didn’t want to put it down!

colleen3345 - On point!5 star

Excellent! Typical Kristen Hannah - page turner and never dissatisfied! I’ve read all her books. I even full on cried in this read!

jdnyk - THE BEST!5 star

I fell in love immediately with this book and could not put it down. It was so well written, I felt I was in Alaska looking into a world laid out for me. Absolutely the best book I’ve ever read!!!

ms lillian - The great alone by kristen Hannah5 star

Wonderful story, authentic characters, lovely, and spare writing. Loved learning more about wild and beautiful Alaska and the kind of people who live there. Thank you, Kristen, it was a pleasure.

BethAnneW - Another book that I couldn’t put down.5 star

The author has an amazing ability of making the reader care about her characters. The characters are so well developed that if you close your eyes you can almost see and hear them like they are real people. The story was riveting and packed with actual location in and around Homer Alaska and the Kenai peninsula. I have told every reader I know about this wonderful piece of historical fiction. Now to find another book by Kristin Hannah.

TaraBaraCO - Beautiful5 star

This story was beautiful. I highly recommend this book. I couldn’t put the book down. It reflects every human emotion.

Danichic21 - Loved all of it 💛5 star

I just love Kristen Hannah’s stories. I love the details and the strong characters. This one does not disappoint.

Wezielou - The Great Alone5 star

This book was hard to put down. The characters were real and let you live with them. I am never disappointed when I read this authors books. L. Golden

Jobo238 - Another great Kristin Hannah novel5 star

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a wonderful story of love, how complicated life can be, of forgiveness, of the love between a mother& her child, of loss and renewal. Ms. Hannah has created characters with depth, sympathy. The story of life in Alaska was fascinating. One thing - have tissues handy, the end of this story will get your tears flowing. Highly recommend!

jomartha8 - Not to be missed5 star

Such a beautifully crafted story that I didn’t want to end. I fell in love with some of the characters and hated others! The landscape and travails of Alaska were so realistically described. One of my favorite books ever!!

mkr109 - Engrossing5 star

I fell in love with the characters in this book. I’m a Man, but I will admit I was brought to tears at certain points in the novel.....and I very much want to see Alaska!

Meggie610 - “The Great Alone”4 star

****** MAJOR SPOILER*********** I loved this book. Loved everything about it until Matthew’s fall and subsequent TBI. (Traumatic Brain Injury). Initially the author’s portrayal of Matthew’s injury is correct. And then he shows to be severely brain-damaged- unable to communicate, confined to bed. And this seems to go on for several years. That is a baseline catastrophic TBI. Brain cells don’t regenerate. For Leni to return with MJ approx 5-6? years after the accident and have him walking and talking and showing mild cognitive delays is not realistic and I had a large problem with believability. Yes, I’m a psych RN; and I just know better,but very disappointing at the end of a great book. Meggie610

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AmberAnnW - My Favorite Book This Year5 star

I loved The Great Alone so much and felt incredibly connected to the characters while reading. Couldn’t put it down!

Mikkia!!! - Disappointed3 star

I’m not sure what is wrong with this novel. It’s probably me. I could not fall in love with it like The Nightingale. Or any of the other wonderful books she has written. I felt the story was somewhat forced, disjointed and then predictable. I did not feel the pity for the the parents in the story that I know she wanted us to. Wish I had enjoyed it.

bkreaderrrrr4444r - Great read!5 star

A+

JeffKBS - Well Done5 star

So well written. The author has such a way with descriptions. Similar to Nightingale I was drawn into the rich characters and writing. Despite the sadness a gripping endearing novel.

Cmh bearby - Loved this book5 star

I really loved everything about this book, the characters, the story, the setting. I was happy with how everything turned out for Leno. It really kept my interest through the storyline.

Kimmek51 - Absolutely magnificent!5 star

One of the all time best books I’ve read, at times I didn’t want to read on, afraid of the words to come but no way to stop myself from turning the next page. The story grabs you immediately and intensely, gives you hope, fear laughter and love on every page.

SCEnglishteacher - Loved it5 star

Hannah writes with such vivid imagery. Her description of Alaska and the events made me feel like I was experiencing the hardships and triumphs in the novel. I could not put this book down.

Alishal1 - Fast read5 star

A little dragged out in the end but overall a fantastic story.

57lac03 - The Great Alone5 star

What a well written and interesting book! I have been to Alaska but this gave me a whole new perspective. I highly encourage you to read this book! Lisa C.

Mtell333 - The Great Alone5 star

Great read!

buehler1990 - Stopped halfway through2 star

Could not take one more page of stupidity and abuse. Every time I thought something would change it just got worse.

Leahcat123 - Great book5 star

Loved every page. She’s just a terrific writer. Highly recommend. Liked it as much as The Nightingale.

Idk12345:43278960 - Great alone5 star

Great story. Learned about what it takes to be an Alaskan.

Rachaelgierke - So good5 star

Couldn’t stop reading!

Javanna - Can’t put it down5 star

I ignored my husband and kids to finish this book. It’s so good.

lcgenest - Child of the 70s5 star

Kristin Hannah nailed the protagonist existence in the era of70s. Moreover to be a young female during this time. We were all on the cusp of change. I felt all of it as it erupted. Her laguage is so evocative.

NTA33 - Could not put this down5 star

I loved this book!

GiveUsWars!! - The Great Alone5 star

Outstanding book. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. Written beautifully and makes you want to travel to Alaska and experience it in all its rural splendor. So much love and heartache all wrapped up in this story. The things we do fpr the love we believe we cannot live without.

Hcbooyah - Not something I would normally think to read5 star

Normally if I read the description I probably would not read this book but knowing what a feat author Kristin Hannah is I gave it a shot and it did not disappoint. She has a way of writing to bring you into the novel to where you can see what is going on in such clear description and feel what the characters are going through. This book was so good I finished it in 3 days I could not put it down. Enjoy!

Wellsreader - Great5 star

This was a joy to read the trials of a mother and daughter and the love they had.Happiness and sadness thru the book can bring smiles and tears.

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GThroop - This Book Will Get You5 star

I started this book and was enjoying the characters but struggling with the looming abuse and then, I was all in. I spent next two nights up past 2am unable to put the book down and leave the world that Kristin created in Alaska. Love this book! It’s a beautiful world that is dirty and scary and love prevails in a realistic Alaska that you never want to leave.

Kcat206 - Wow!5 star

I’ve never had a book that moved me to tears like this one did. Amazing and could t out it down. Well done!

Jg1222 - Captivating!5 star

Captivating! Just as a wonderful read as The nightingale!

ReaderReading - Great book till almost the end4 star

Loved this book and the intensity of it. The way it ended was a little too simple which gave you relief but it quite didnt feel right to me. Still, a good read.

Oliver Jacobs - The Great Alone5 star

This novel was remarkable, touching every emotion with sensitivity and strength. I loved its characters, it's spirit, and it's unwavering celebration of love and truth.

SPBerko - The Great Alone5 star

I read 25-30 books each year(for at least the last 10 years), and “The Great Alone” ranks in the top ten on my list. Kristin Hannah’s novel, “The Nightingale” is a fabulous book and I enjoyed it a great deal. But with Hannah’s latest novel, “The Great Alone” she has risen to the top of her profession. It is beautiful in character and landscape description and holds you in suspense from the first to the last page. Thank you, Kristin Hannah, I will wait anxiously for your next work. Steve Berkowitz

W.doug Mccullough - Visual orchestra the mind ...5 star

Stupendously written in an adventure and reading!

hellymac - I could not put down this book5 star

Amazing story. Captivating from chapter one. I’m so glad I downloaded this book....it’s a fantastic story!

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JANEQueenie - Another wonderful book by Kristen Hannah5 star

I always love her books and this one was great!!

Mwmelcode - The Great Alone1 star

Horrible!! I want my $15 back. Depressing from beginning to end!!

Kristin Hannah - The Great Alone Comments

About Kristin Hannah Wiki

Kristin Hannah (born September 25, 1960) is an American writer. Her published books include Winter Garden, The Nightingale, Firefly Lane, The Great Alone, and The Four Winds.
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