Curl Up with ‘The Great Alone’ by Kristin Hannah

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you’re looking for a book to curl up with on a cold winter day, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is just the ticket.


Set in Alaska in the early 70s, it chronicles the lives of the Allbright family as they adjust to homesteader life, for which they are woefully unprepared. 


“Winter tightened its grip on Alaska. The vastness of the landscape dwindled to the confines of their cabin. The sun rose at a quarter past ten in the morning and set only fifteen minutes after the end of the school day. Less than six hours of light a day. Snow fell endlessly, blanketed everything…In the few daylight hours, the sky stretched gray overhead; some days there was merely the memory of light rather than any real glow.”


Leni Allbright is thirteen when the story begins. Her father, a Vietnam war vet, has PTSD, although the condition is never named outright. As the winter drags on, her father, Ernt, begins a feud with the Walker family- who has lived in Alaska for generations -over Tom Walker’s plans to bring in electricity and build a hotel to attract tourists.

As the best love stories are ill-fated, Leni falls for Tom’s son, Matthew, causing the final unraveling of the Allbright’s tenuous hold on stability.


The Great Alone is not an easy novel, but it is worth it for the gorgeous and haunting descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness and a love story for the ages. This story has many threads – survival, female friendships, family dynamics – making it a perfect book club selection. Kristin Hannah provides some good discussion points on her website.


Note: this novel contains scenes of domestic violence.


Find your copy of The Great Alone from your favorite retailer.

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Praise for The Great Alone

Featuring a rich cast of characters and elevated by the riveting portrayal of homesteading in Alaska in the 1970s, this is a compassionate story of a family. – People, Book of the Week

This epic atmospheric novel examines humans’ will to endure the unthinkable. – Real Simple magazine

There are many great things about this book…It will thrill her fans with its combination of Greek tragedy, Romeo and Juliet-like coming of age story and domestic potboiler. She recreates in magical detail the lives of Alaska’s homesteaders…and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America. A tour de force. – Kirkus (starred review)

Hannah vividly evokes the natural beauty and danger of Alaska and paints a compelling portrait of a family in crisis and a community on the brink of change. – Booklist

Reliably alluring… The Great Alone is packed with rapturous descriptions of Alaskan scenery… Hannah remembers and summons an undeveloped wilderness, describing a gloriously pristine region in the days before cruise ships discovered it. – New York Times

Author Bio

KRISTIN HANNAH is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale, a major motion picture directed by Michelle MacLaren, and The Great Alone, set in Alaska. Hannah is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Firefly LaneWinter GardenNight RoadFly Away, and Home Front, which has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (producers of the Oscar-nominated film The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

If you liked The Great Alone, you may also enjoy other titles by Kristin Hannah.

Kristin Hannah Books on Bookshop.org


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