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Loved it! Yes, there was a lot of drama, but I got sucked in. Leni is the character that kept me reading. I felt very invested in the characters and have found myself missing them since finishing the book. To me, that's a great story, and great storytelling.
One of my favorite all-time books is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This novel did not deliver for me. If you want to read about the reality and hardship of living in remote Alaska and then add to that a story of extreme domestic abuse, then this will fit the bill.
This was my first Kristin Hannah book, and I have to say that I really, really enjoyed it. The story deals with a lot of difficult topics (abuse, trauma, and loss), but if you’re able to get through it I think it’s definitely worth the read. The writing was so effortless, and I found myself getting lost in it and reading for hours on end. This book was pretty bleak at some points, but I think that might have been the point. Throughout the story we’re told that Alaska is unforgiving, the winters dark, and that not many people can handle the tough lifestyle, and that’s exactly how I felt while reading some parts of the story. I think Kristen Hannah did a phenomenal job with this book, and I cannot wait to pick up some of her others.
Also, I don’t know how it’s possible, but Kristin Hannah made me fall in love with a place I’ve never even been to. Anyone up for a trip to Alaska?
Great book, really glad I read it, off the grid Alaska living in the 70's is an incredibly interesting setting, and Kristin Hannah nailed it (I read in the acknowledgments her family homesteaded there and many of them currently live there, so not surprising she was so great at capturing those Alaska feels). In saying that, the parent's characters were, I felt, a bit over the top, but you be the judge for yourself, because this book is definitely worth a read!
A good read., sometimes going on a bit too much about the complexity of lives in the family. However, the author perfectly described the small towns of Alaska, and the hardships faced living there. The ending was perfect with Lenny returning home with her son to reunite with her love.
One of the biggest soap operas I have come across. Good lord. I kept looking down at my audio book and thinking, "ELEVEN more chapters left?!" The mother character was weak in my opinion, the whole abusive relationship part was way overdone. I couldn't finish it.
Kept my attention, didn't care for the Cora character at all, nuff said
There isn’t an adjective existing, whether positive or negative, that can’t be applied to this book. There were times, many actually, when I didn’t want to turn to the next page, but I did anyway. That was the only way to reach the end.
Incredibly powerful read! I can’t remember reading anything as emotional as this book before. Hard to put down! From cover to cover...never a dull moment.
How anyone could fail to give this book 5 out of 5 is beyond me. It is a masterpiece page turner and I haven't read a book so incredibly compulsive as this one was, for a long, long time. I'd give it 6 out of 5 if I could.
After reading The Nightingale as one of our reading projects, we decided to try another of Hannah’s books. I should warn anybody reading this comment that my reading has always been heavily non-fiction. After retiring (sort of) I tried to expand my horizons a bit. Reviewing my “completed” list, it appears that before the current project with my wife, my reading was still 4:1 non-fiction, and the 20% fiction was roughly half classics (The Inferno, Death in Venice..). But since the reading project with my wife began, it has flipped in the opposite direction. So, anybody perusing my comments should understand that my background in fiction is slight and highly colored by my addiction to sci-fi as a young man.
Still, I really enjoyed this book. Hannah does a great job with her characters. Although I dislike Ernt and question Cora’s decisions, I have seen enough of that in the real world to know that her characters are not unbelievable. Cora’s letter was the only part that I couldn’t accept, but it was necessary to achieve the desired romantic outcome. Yes, I know there is a difference between love and romance. The granularity of her description of life in Alaska was what most affected me. As Hannah's attention to the little things did in Nightingale, her detail in this book put me in the scene.
BTW, if you liked this story about the Great Alone, try Hampton Sides' "In the Kingdom of Ice." It's not fiction.
The author did do a great job of describing life in remote Alaska and that part was very interesting however I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone. It was one of the most depressing and sad books I have ever read, with one of the worst characters I have ever read about. Yes, I know the guy had PTSD and that was the main problem but still.......I will take some of the blame because I was expecting more along the lines of the story about the father and daughter who lived in the park in Portland. This was for sure not that!!
What an amazing book. The author did an incredible job of describing the wild, scenic beauty of Alaska's last frontier. The plot had me hooked from the first chapter. Having seen first-hand how PTSD and alcoholism (especially combined) can break a person's soul, I could empathize with the struggles this family endured. All in all, an intense, yet wonderful read.
Kristin Hannah shows incredible backbone as she tackles the Vietnam era. The isolation of Alaska helps readers follow this Vietnam Veteran's broken life. I think she did it justice; her fiction brings it to life.
Awesome book! I loved it! It was sweet, thrilling, true-to-life, a love story, anxiety-producing, and an adventure--all rolled into one story about The Great Alone that is Alaska. It is the story of Leni Allbright, her family (headed my a father who loved and hated to extremes and was a Vietnam Viet who had experienced life as a POW that changed him into a mean tyrant most of the time), her friend/boyfriend Matthew, his family, and the friends Leni created in Alaska.
This story can make you shiver with the cold and desperation in its pages. It is also very readable and the character of Leni (Lenora) a 14 year old dependent on her mentally ill parents in a remote Alaska is compelling. The beauty of the land of midnight sun shows through too as well as that long dark cold that one cannot surrender to or they will die. I've always been privately afraid of people who consider themselves survivalist and there are quite of few of them in this book. It creeps me out to think of communities of people who feed off of each others paranoia and hopelessness and create a sickness that infects the vulnerable. But talk about your drama. This book has drama, drama, drama but so does life so I'm giving it a thumbs up because if anything it takes you away from your own dramas.
Difficult to read.
I found the family situation sad and claustrophobic.
Novel shifts between insight and cliche.
There is a relentless darkness to Hannah’s novel:
something long and lonely as the land’s winter clock.
The stain of domestic violence spills out and spreads beyond
The family walls;it’s bile harming the daughter’s lover/and saddening
Endlessly giving grandparents.
The terror and brutality these characters endure give the inhospitable
Landscape an ironic and protective charm that only the suffering understand:
A kinship that doesn’t strike back.