Anne Smith, Champlain Library

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone is a book that captured my heart and has led me to read other books set in the great outdoors. How could a place so alive and beautiful, be so harsh and cruel? You will find out if you read this book.

This is a story about a Vietnam veteran, a POW, from Seattle who inherits a property in Alaska (the Great Alone) from an army buddy. He, and his wife and daughter, decide to move there to escape unpleasant situations which have surfaced since his return from Vietnam.

It turns out, that the cabin they inherited “looked like something an old toothless hermit would live in.” They were determined however, to make the best of it. It wasn’t long before they found out that there were two type of folks who moved to Alaska – people running to something, and people running away from something.

Hannah cleverly weaves the characters in and out of situations that are not always in their control. There is a constant struggle between the love of the wilderness, the challenge to survive in winter and the love of family. Sometimes unfortunate and terrible things happen in life, but love always prevails.

If you like books based on true to life hardships with some love, mystery and intrigue, then this book is for you. This is one of my favourite books. I also recommend The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler, Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen, and A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale.

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