Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

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.

Review: The Guide

The Guide

The Guide
By Peter Heller
Knopf, 9780525657767, August 2021, 272pp.

The Short of It:

I read this one in one sitting. Held my attention even though it’s different from Heller’s normal fare.

The Rest of It:

The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where he uncovers a plot of shocking menace amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests. – Indiebound

I’ve read a couple of books by Heller and loved them both. What I did not read before this book is The River. Apparently The Guide is a follow-up to that book but I didn’t miss it at all. This one stands alone just fine. Thought you should know that in case you pick this one up thinking you have to read The River first. You don’t.

This was an interesting read for me. I was fully taken with the setting. Heller is a master at putting you in the setting. The river, the lodge, the people in it, all very descriptive and he totally pulled me in. What I didn’t expect was the mystery behind what is going on at the lodge. As an outsider working as a fishing guide to the rich, sometimes even famous clients, Jack sees things that raise a red flag to him. For one, the hasty retreat of the guide before him. A women’s scream in the middle of the night. Was it an owl? Perhaps. Why are there so many cameras and a gate code to get out?

I felt like the mystery was a bit farfetched but I enjoyed all that time on the river and I enjoyed Jack. He’s endured a life full of loss and finds peace on the water, so when his peaceful world is shattered by these nefarious events, you take notice. The Guide was a good read and I read it in one sitting. I will be reaching for The River soon.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.