Editor's note: Attendees at Malice Domestic earlier in the spring received a copy of This Tender Land along with many mystery books. As I am such a mystery snob and pretty much only read mysteries, I wasn't going to bring This Tender Land home with me, but when I read the back cover I was intrigued. I am so happy I did.
My guest reviewer is Denise Kainrath, a reader of many more genres than I am. Thanks to Denise for her lovely review and thanks to William Kent Krueger for a wonderful journey down the Mississippi.
This Tender Land was one part Huckleberry Finn, another part Where the
Crawdads Sing, and nothing short of enjoyable. Two orphaned white boys end up at a Native American reformation school in northern Minnesota, where they are mistreated alongside children from native tribes across the country. A traumatic series of events has the two young boys on the run, accompanied by Mose, their mute Sioux friend, and a newly orphaned little girl.
The group sets off down the river in a borrowed canoe, hoping to make it to St. Louis by way of the Mississippi River. The brothers are certain that there is a better life for their newly-minted family, and they meet quite the cast of characters along the way.
As I was reading this, I could hear the crickets chirping, water splashing and feel the heat of the summer sun on my face. The storytelling in this book is one for the ages, and definitely warrants an auto-buy for anything that William Kent Krueger writes in the future.
This book is perfect for any reader on your Christmas list, or even for yourself. I read this snuggled with with a blanket and a caramel apple spice latte from Starbucks and have no complaints. If you enjoyed the isolation and resiliency found in Where the Crawdads Sing, this is a book you are sure to love.