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Summary

The acclaimed author of Ordinary Grace crafts a powerful novel about an orphan's life-changing adventure traveling down America's great rivers during the Great Depression, seeking both a place to call home and a sense of purpose in a world sinking into despair. 

"Ask me, God's right here. In the dirt, the rain, the sky, the trees, the apples, the stars in the cottonwoods. In you and me, too. It's all connected, and it's all God. Sure this is hard work, but it's good work because it's a part of what connects us to this land. This beautiful, tender land." 

1932: Located on the banks of the Gilead River in Minnesota, Lincoln School is home to hundreds of Native American boys and girls who have been separated from their families. The only two white boys in the school are orphan brothers Odie and Albert, who, under the watchful eyes of the cruel superintendent Mrs. Brickman, are often in trouble for misdeeds both real and imagined. The two boys' best friend is Mose, a mute Native American who is also the strongest kid in school. And they find another ally in Cora Frost, a widowed teacher who is raising her little girl, Emmy, by herself. 

When tragedy strikes down Mrs. Frost, it's the catalyst for a series of events that will send Odie, Albert, and Mose to rescue Emmy and flee down the river in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi, leaving a dead body in their wake. Soon, they are wanted by the law, and they know that Mrs. Brickman will stop at nothing to track them down for dark reasons of her own. Over the course of this unforgettable summer, Odie, Albert, Mose, and Emmy carefully make their way through the small river towns and big cities filled with people who are by turns desperate and generous, cruel and kind. As they search for a place to belong, these four remarkable children will lose their innocence but gain the strength to survive in the face of terrible loss. 

With his signature "pitch-perfect, wonderfully evocative" (Dennis Lehane, New York Times best-selling author) prose, William Kent Krueger's This Tender Land shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

©2019 William Kent Krueger (P)2019 Recorded Books

What listeners say about This Tender Land

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Beautiful and engaging

I loved this book and the narrating of it. The narrator had a wonderful voice that truly captured the feeling of place and time. I don’t remember how I came across William Kent Krueger but I am thankful I did. He is up along side my favourite authors. He never disappoints.

1 person found this helpful

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Good story enhanced by wonderful narrator

Scott Brick is superb narrator, conveying the voices of women and children seamlessly. I love Kent Krueger's writing and enjoyed this epic tale hugely.

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Superb book

Superb story with great imagery. The characters were I've to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it

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  • Momac6
  • 02-11-19

Scott Brick

Please try a bit harder to match the narrator to the class/genres of the Writer's story. I don't know Mr. Brick. I do know he should not be reading stories by Mr. Krueger. His interpretations are much better applied to sappy romance or religious novels. I managed 50% of chapter 1. It made me nauseous.

145 people found this helpful

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  • MWG
  • 06-11-19

WANDERING

Wm K Krueger is generally one of my favorite audio authors; I have spent many pleasant hours listening to his novels. Scott Brick is my least favorite narrators. Many seem to like him; I find Scott Brick's performance consistently overwrought. Generally I avoid any work he narrates but I tried because of the author of this [and Lee Child's recent book]. Both were endurance listens because as emotion rises, his voice drops off...the performance feels ...syrupy? Not for me.

101 people found this helpful

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  • Nonni4hlk
  • 17-12-19

Heart breaking.....for me!

I was introduced to the narration of Scott Brick in the Nelson DeMille/John Corey series. I have listened to all of them and became a Scott Brick ‘groupie’! Some times I will look for books he’s narrated and get them based solely on that. That faithful following sadly has now come to an end. I’m not sure what Mr Brick was trying to convey but the overly dramatic cadences and lilting tones were too much! I mean who talks like that??? There was one section in the story where Odie found all the makings for a very rudimentary fishing rod. Nothing really to get excited about but the way Mr Brick read the authors’ words you would have thought Odie was putting together a golden wishing wand. This sort of over-dramatization was throughout the whole story! Too much! Very hard to explain...it’s a personal preference and may not be an annoying listen for some! Highly recommend listening to the ‘sample’ provided. My bad but then.....who knew? The story was OK...kept my interest somewhat so I finished it. Sad to say, I’m finished with Scott Brick as well :-(

85 people found this helpful

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  • Kate Comings
  • 14-09-19

Wonderful book, but incomplete.

I loved the story, and Krueger's writing is, as always, gorgeous and wonderfully evocative. Unfortunately, the audiobook is missing the epilogue, which tells what happened to each of the four vagabonds.

244 people found this helpful

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  • George Woolley
  • 28-09-19

A Masterpiece far exceeding my high expectations

Amazing book, It touched my heart. It grabbed onto me immediately and held me to the end. It surprised me throughout. Many tears and driveway moments. This will be in my personal Top Ten List of books .

46 people found this helpful

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  • Holly Roberts
  • 04-10-19

Current Literary Masterpiece

I imagine this book will become part of High School and College literary curriculum. So many great issues of the period explored through colorful characters.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Linda Scialabba
  • 10-12-19

Sappy silly contrived plot.

The plot is so contrived and has many ridiculous turns. Then there is the condescending tone of political correctness ...

20 people found this helpful

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  • cathy bates
  • 26-09-19

Great Story

Loved the characters. Just a great gray adventure !!! Bravo. Had tears in my eyes at the end. Happy tears! Wonderful take. Don’t miss it!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 15-09-19

1930s coming of age story

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.

73 people found this helpful

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  • Curtis
  • 23-09-19

"Didn't need the underlying social message"

I have listened to to most all of WKK's novels about the Boundary Waters and I have enjoyed them all partially due to the fact that in my youth I camped and canoed those waters 60+ years ago. I thought the storyline of This Tender Land was interesting , but as a 77 year old son of depression era parents from Dust Bowl Kansas, who suffered extreme poverty and other physical and mental hardships, I have intimate knowledge of the mindset and attitudes of that generation. The circumstance of these vagabond children did not, in my opinion, did not lend itself to concern over white privilege, guilt, or the slaughter of Native Americans decades before they were born. I also doubt that they had any special concern for the environment other than being repulsed by the smell of the sewage pollution of the waterways. My comments aren't meant to be critical but they are meant to fine tune the authenticity of that time in our history, goodness knows I was reminded almost daily for the first eighteen years of my life. Unfortunately those of that time are nearly all gone or their memories have faded leaving it to my generation to keep it real.

368 people found this helpful