I had read and blogged about Kristen Hannah’s book the Nightingale, so I was pleased to get this advanced reader’s copy of her next book which has just now come out this February. It is a magnificent novel, although very difficult in places. I give it five stars.
It is set in Alaska in the 1970’s when a former POW from Vietnam (with PTSD) shows up unprepared with his wife and daughter to homestead on the gorgeous Kanai Peninsula.This book is hard to put down; the tension builds so that you need either a long stretch in which to consume this novel continuously– which is hard to do at 450 pages– or you need to pace yourself over some weeks, with some recovery sessions in between, to help you breathe.
Heading off the grid in mountainous Alaska sounds good to me, so I was pre-disposed to love the setting of this book, so different from most other novels available. It certainly is a refreshing and dramatic setting for a novel, but it is the story, told so well, that brings this one all the way home.
Here, there is love, and pain, and violence, and loss, and fear, and community spirit, and endurance, and over arching it all is the harsh wildness and incredible beauty of the landscape. This is a story of battling for survival, but also about how you don’t stop loving a person when they are hurt. There is a bundle of emotional strain here, but also release.
This is by an amazing writer at the top of her game. Put this book on your reading list; you’ll be glad you did, even though there are some serious issues to deal with here.