November 7, 2019
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Adventure, Great Depression
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
A journey to find safety, love, and home….
During the Great Depression, four orphans escape from the Lincoln School in Minnesota, an unhappy and perilous home/institution for Native American children where they had little food, harsh punishments, and suffered abuse. This quartet of miserable children consists of rebellious, free-spirited, and harmonica-playing Odie; his responsible and conscientious older brother Albert; their best friend and Native American, Mose; and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy. The foursome makes their escape in a canoe down the Gilead River toward the Mississippi in search of a safe place to call home and people to love them. They become found family to each other and survive encounters with all types of people.
Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars
Writing: An unforgettable and memorable story, Krueger’s writing in This Tender Land is lyrical and a joy to read! Some of the circumstances require a suspension of disbelief, but I was so wrapped up in the story and the writing that I was willing to go there with the author. Filled with vivid setting descriptions, colorful characters, and harrowing adventures, the story is a page-turner. I’m rounding this up to five stars because the author wrote an emotionally engaging story with characters I cared about. I couldn’t put it down until I knew the outcome for the four “vagabonds.”
Characters: These four children! :::::sigh::::: I cared about their well being, wanted to protect them, and cheered for them to find a forever home. They have a common goal to escape their dire circumstances at the Lincoln School, but they each have individual struggles, too. The story also features a cast of colorful and memorable (some unlikeable) supporting characters.
Themes: Thoughtful themes in This Tender Land include found family, survival, searching for safety and home, loyalty, friendship, helping others, homelessness, generosity, bravery, faith, reconciliation, and healing.
Because of references to Giliad, I kept thinking of the refrain to the song:
“There is a Balm in Gilead“
There is a balm in Gilead
to make the wounded whole.
There is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sinsick soul.
Recommended: This Tender Land is recommended for readers who appreciate a well-written, poignant, and lyrical story by a master storyteller, for fans of William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace), for those who love historical fiction and adventure stories, and definitely for book clubs.
***Content Warning: Child abuse and neglect (if this were a movie, I would rate it PG-13)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 on Goodreads)
This Tender Land Information (affiliate link)
Meet the Author, William Kent Krueger
Have you read Ordinary Grace? Is This Tender Land on your TBR?
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
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Glad to read this review– I read his book, Ordinary Grace las spring. Also so many heartfelt characters. Putting it on my list. Thanks again Carol!! And just finished The Dearly Beloved, every bit as great as you promised!! Going to recommend it for our Lit group’s next book list. And the Bee Keeper of Aleppo. Really like that as well, but wished we could have gone on with their story to see where/how they settled. Thanks for all your great recommendations– I can’t tell you how many people I have sent the link to your blog!! xox
Thanks for taking time to comment and being my biggest cheerleader Rhonda! I appreciate your support so very much! 😍 I’m happy to hear you loved Dearly Beloved! Great discussion topics! I’m still on a waiting list for Bee Keeper. Hoping to get it before the year’s end.
Fantastic review Carol!
Thank you Nicki!😍👍
I look forward to reading this and Ordinary Grace soon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I hope you enjoy them! He’s a masterful writer and story teller! 😍👍 Thanks for commenting!🙌
I loved this book too! And I’m hoping to read Ordinary Grace soon.
I have Ordinary Grace on my TBR mountain too Jaymi! Thanks for commenting! 👍😍
I’m listening to this later in the month. Krueger is one of my most favorite writers. Lovely review, Carol💜
Thanks Jonetta! I hope you enjoy this unputdownable story! 😍👍
Great post 😊
Thanks for reading and commenting! 👍😍
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Wonderful review Carol. I’ve read and reviewed this author’s “Ordinary Grace” and I’m really looking forward to reading this one.
I’ve had Ordinarily Grace on my TBR for a while! Tender Land is unputdownable! Enjoy! 👍😍
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Thanks for the link, Carol. I think I would enjoy this book.
It’s an amazing story…. enjoy!
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Glad you liked this one!!
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