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I had originally chosen The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughterto be my December 2017 choice for BOM however after finishing The Great Alone on December 31, 2017, I had to ultimately go with this one. A stunning piece of fiction.
December 2017’s Book of Month is…
Title: The Great Alone
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publication Date: 2/6/2018
A Stunning Piece of Fiction
Hannah’s epic sweeping tale of a young family’s move to a remote town in Alaska during the turmoil of the sixties and seventies is a stunning piece of literature that will not disappoint fans of The Nightingale.
It is said that Alaska reveals the true nature of a person. Leni is thirteen years old when her father, a dark casualty of the Vietnam war, inherits a cabin in Alaska on a piece of land overlooking the water. He moves Leni and his younger wife to this place to start life anew. Prone to domestic acts of violence, unable to hold down a job, and suffering intense nightmares since coming back from the war, Ernt Allbright decides to uproot his family once again.
Arriving during the Alaskan summer, Ernt, Cora, and Leni are welcomed into a small, tight knit community and taught the essentials on how to prepare for the tough winter ahead. As winter approaches, jealousy over his wife consumes Ernt, even in a place as remote as this. An ugly knot begins to grow. As winter’s darkness descends on their world, a sinister darkness takes hold of Ernt. As his nightmares and paranoia intensifies, so does his acts of violence toward his wife.
Leni comes of age at serious odds as to what love is while discovering real love for herself. Her mother continually refuses help from those around her who are aware of what she is suffering which sends a confusing message to her daughter. No matter how hard Leni and Cora try to pacify Ernt, his paranoia and hate-spewing continues to grow and he is eventually ostracized from the community. This has grave consequences for both his wife and daughter. Leni and Cora’s circumstances grow dire with each passing day until things come to a sharp head.
This story is a page-turner from start to finish. Hannah keeps the tension taut and the suspense building throughout. The threat of physical violence is set against the often brutal Alaskan territory in which Ernt, Cora, and Leni live. The stunning landscape play a vital role in framing the unrelenting urgency of this story about love, loss, and the contrast between true survival and what it means to thrive.
BRB Rating: Read It.