The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah, 2018

Glad I stuck with this book. The first 1/2 seemed like it was written by an amateur for teenage girls. After about 250 pages, however, it was a page-turner. Set in 1970’s Alaska, somewhere near Homer on the Kenai Peninsula, in a town called Kaneq, which I think is a fictional town. Young Lenora (Leni) moves there at the age of 13 with a violent, lunatic father and a mother whom she adores, but who cannot leave her abusive husband.

Leni falls in love with a local boy, Matthew Walker, whose father, Tom Walker, is hated by Leni’s father. Leni gets pregnant, her father finds out and starts beating her, her mother (Cora) says, “Not my Leni,” and shoots him dead. Leni and her Mom dispose of the body and skip town, making it look like they were murdered. They disappear for 7 years living in Seattle under different names. Leni has a baby boy and Cora eventually dies of lung cancer (she smoked constantly). Before she dies, Cora writes a letter admitting she killed her husband so Leni can return to Alaska, her home and where the love of her life lives. After some fast-paced suspenseful twists and turns, everything turns out wonderful – Leni and Matthew are together, even though he is badly damaged from the fall he took trying to rescue Leni 7 years ago when they were hiding from her father. The little boy loves his daddy and his grandpa. They all live happily ever after in the wilds of Alaska. Ended up being a great book.