Review: This Tender Land

This Tender Land

This Tender Land
By William Kent Krueger
Atria Books, 9781476749303, May 2020, 464pp.

The Short of It:

A lot of heartbreak, but these characters quickly pulled me in.

The Rest of It:

In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own. ~ Indiebound

This was the book I was reading when I got hit with all my health issues and so the details of the story are not forthcoming and I had to miss my club’s discussion so I have no idea how they felt about the book but here is my take:

I loved these characters but this book is filled with one heartache after another. These kids do not live an easy life and the people they encounter are both filled with good, and bad. It’s been compared to Huckleberry Finn and Where the Crawdad’s Sing and I can see that comparison, but honestly what it reminded me most of is The Wizard of Oz. Everyone is searching for something, mostly a place to call home. But the rhythm of heartache was hard to read over and over again and parts of the story were a tad hard to swallow. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it but felt that it got a little repetitive halfway through and could have been edited down a bit.

Have you read it? I had no idea how many books this author has written. I will absolutely read another book by him because I was really into these characters.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

7 thoughts on “Review: This Tender Land”

  1. I love this author and have read his entire detective series. I really liked This Tender Land and would also recommend his other stand alone Ordinary Grace. Loved those characters too. He has a one off thriller which I also enjoyed. For me he is a solid story teller and delivers every time. I never feel that he signed a 5 book deal and is just churning out to fulfill his deal .

  2. I read this in March 2020 (with my book group) and wrote the following:

    I loved the lyrical prose of Ordinary Grace and went into this new book with high hopes, especially since everyone I know who has read it has loved it. It took me a long time to get interested in the story and once I did, it still didn’t call to me the way Ordinary Grace did. I thought it was a good tale, but I didn’t mark any favorite passages and I was eager to finish and move on to something else. Whether a case of too much hype or the distraction of the Coronavirus, I’m sorry to say that it missed its mark with this reader. Looking at all the five-star reviews on Goodreads, I am obviously in the minority, but thankfully, I have 16 more Cork O’Connor mysteries (Krueger’s popular series) to look forward to.

  3. I think I’ve only read Ordinary Grace but I remember loving it. Must add this and the previous Lightening Strikes to my 2022 lineup. Hope your group loved it as well.

  4. This one has been sitting on my TBR shelf for quite some time since I got it from Book of the Month. I’m glad to hear you liked it and will get to it in January.

  5. It sounds like too much heartache over & over … for me. But folks swear by Ordinary Grace, which for some reason I haven’t gotten to.

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