This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Published:  September 3, 2019 – Atria Books

Book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, 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.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.  (publisher)

My take:  This Tender Land is the story of four “Vagabond children” (orphans) on a journey during the summer of 1932. They leave dire circumstances at a boarding school for Indian youths in Minnesota with the goal of finding a better home with their aunt in St. Louis. Along the way they face harrowing events but somehow manage to keep going. They meet interesting characters, learn life lessons, and learn to rely on their developing instincts. It’s a coming of age story that had me cheering Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy as they searched for home. I appreciated the epilogue as well as the author’s note that rounds out the novel and answered questions I’d had while reading.


11 thoughts on “This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

  1. I’ve seen this book on a few blogs and have been intrigued by it. I love that the four grew and had you cheering. Sounds like one to read! Will check the library.


  2. I’ve read several rave reviews on this one. I can’t wait to get a copy as I’ve enjoyed this author in the past. Thanks for sharing Mary.


    • I’ve read mixed reviews but my experience was good with this book. I haven’t tried the author’s crime fiction but am tempted. Loved Ordinary Grace.


  3. I’ve got a copy of this one to try at some point. Our mystery group loved Ordinary Grace several years ago. And I’ve also read a few of his Cork O’Conner mystery series. My husband reads that series faithfully. Glad this standalone worked well for you, Mary.


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