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This Tender Land

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  951 ratings  ·  372 reviews
For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace.

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be edu
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Atria Books
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4.51  · 
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 ·  951 ratings  ·  372 reviews

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Angela M
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The best historical fiction doesn’t just take me to the time and place depicted in the story. It takes me into the heart and soul of people who lived there and then. This is precisely what William Kent Kruger has done in this beautifully written story of four orphans on their journey to find safety, home, and love while discovering themselves along the way. He does this with characters who are everything to this telling of history, whose stories tell of the extreme hardships of the Great Depress
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

After reading this book I think there should be a separate genre for incredibly well written books that will endure the test of time, this is truly a “masterpiece”. It is literary fiction, adventure, mystery, a lesson in morality and forgiveness, and so much more. To understand this book you really MUST READ it, and I seldom say that about a book. It is every bit as good as Ordinary Grace by this author.

The time frame for the book is during the Great Depression, it’s 1932 and
Diane S ☔
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lor-2019
When one reads a book that is almost 500 pages, and upon completion is not ready for the book to end, in fact could continue on for another 500 pages, then you know a book deserves 5 stars. At least for me. Four children, three horribly mistreated at the Lincoln school for Indians, make a life changing journey. Although only one boy is a Native American, all are orphans. All have no choice but to be on the run. All will change in big and small ways during this journey.

Although this may sound li
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’d give this one more than five stars if I could. I am a huge fan of Willian Kent Krueger and absolutely loved Ordinary Grace. I wasn’t sure anything could top it. Well, hard to say if this is better, but it’s equally as good. WKK is just such an amazing writer. He’s got it all, well turned phrases, engaging plot, characters that draw you in immediately and feel so real you’re convinced you’ve met them.

“Home is where the heart is.” And Odie, Albert, Moses and Emmy are all looking for their own
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I've poured the best of myself into this story and I invite you to experience all of its remarkable twists and turns. As Odie says in the very beginning 'Open yourself to every possibility, for there is nothing your heart can imagine that is not so.' Blessings, -William Kent Krueger

True to his word, William Kent Krueger did pour his heart and soul into this book. His writing is both moving and beautiful. I found myself highlighting large sections of text. He has the heart of a poet. If you ha
Elyse Walters
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“This Tender Land”, is a mesmerizing tale with wonderful characters, rich themes, extraordinary storytelling, delicious writing....with dialogue that sprinkles gold nuggets in our hearts, gut, and mind.
A couple of times I thought: “Stand By Me” - meets “Deliverance”....meets Huckleberry Finn. It has those ‘type’ of a ‘feelings’.
I’m pleased as a pickle—to say this novel is every bit as good as “Ordinary Grace”...( another book by Krueger that’s one of my favorites).....
starting wi
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The story takes place in the 1930's during the Great Depression in Minnesota. Odie and Albert are two white orphaned teenage brothers who live at the Lincoln school. It's a school for Native American Indian children who are forcibly separated from their parents and sent there to be educated. Four and Albert are forced to live there as well, with the Indians. They were the only two white orphans in the school. Mrs Brickman who was known as The Black Witch was the school superinten
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quintessential Midwestern American fable, This Tender Land is a coming of age novel and a tale of an epic journey in the form of homage to The Odyssey and Huckleberry Finn. During The Great Depression, four orphans runaway from an abusive Indian school by canoeing the rivers of Minnesota in order to reach St Louis and the protection of an Aunt. As the river turns, they meet a variety of people along the way struggling to survive the profound effects of the catastrophic economic downturn. Some ...more
5 +++++ glorious stars

I have been waiting for a long time to say this about a book, and now I can: This novel is a masterpiece. It is William Kent Krueger at his very best - it is clear he threw his entire heart and soul into this book. I will buy a hardback copy (something I never do) and keep it forever.

Set during The Great Depression in 1932 in my home state of Minnesota we follow our protagonist, 12-year-old Odie, and his three fellow travelers (self-dubbed The Four Vagabonds) on their searc

"Of all that we're asked to give others in this life, the most difficult to offer may be forgiveness."

It all begins in HELL and some of what's told here is true.

"What happened in the summer of 1932 is most important to those who experienced it, and there are not many of us left."

Odie O'Banion's life actually began in Missouri Ozark country, but now orphaned in Minnesota, he and older brother Albert need a miracle to get out of Lincoln School, the only white boys in a school f

"Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles." (Charlie Chaplin)

William Kent Krueger sweeps aside the present and takes us to an era in American history in which hope was at a far distance and pain and heartache were daily visitors. It's 1932 and the Great Depression has dug its roots deeply into the American landscape. The Haves had far less and the Have Nots had even less than nothing.

The Lincoln School was set upon the banks of the Gilead River in Fremont County in Minnesota. To
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“Maybe it really is like it says in the Bible,” I offered. “God’s a shepherd and we’re his flock and he watches over us.”

For a long while, Albert didn’t say anything. I listened to that kid crying in the dark because he felt lost and alone and believed no one cared.

Finally Albert whispered, “Listen, Odie, what does a shepherd eat?”

I didn’t know where he was going with that, so I didn’t reply.

“His flock,” Albert told me. “One by one.”

william kent krueger has written eleventy bill
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This book was a beautiful symphony to my ears, refreshing smell of nature to my nose, healing hands to my soul, heart-warming, emotional touch to my heart, lyrical, poetical, nurturing elements to my brain. There was not much words to express my feelings how I loved this book and how I enjoyed each word, sentence, each of the journey those orphans have taken, each i
Susanne  Strong
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4 Stars.

A beautifully written character driven novel about the meaning of family and friendship and most of all the definition of home.

It’s 1932 and the Great Depression has hit and hit hard.

In Minnesota, four young orphans attend the Lincoln School - a school for Native American children. Odie and Albert are brothers, Odie is often in trouble for something, frustrating his older brother Albert to no end. Moses, is mute, and uses sign language to converse. Emmy has recently lost everything a
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"There's no place like home." Four vagabonds are on the run from the Lincoln Indian Training School searching for "safe haven" during the summer of 1932. They will experience hope and despair, cruelty and kindness as they canoe down the Gilead River destined for the Minnesota River then the mighty Mississippi. Final destination: Saint Louis. Who are these vagabond children and what has precipitated this perilous journey? In the words of our storyteller, Odie O'Banion, "Four years of my life [hav ...more

An ode to another time and a journey born of desperation, a prayer for the innocence of childhood shattered by evil intentions and cruel actions of adults entrusted with their care, a classic coming-of-age tale that includes an ambitious quest, and an entreaty for the inner peace found in offering forgiveness to others.

“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
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
One of my all-time favorite books is Ordinary Grace, a book I gave 5 stars and have read twice, even though I rarely re-read books. I was highly anticipating the author’s new release and was thrilled when offered a review copy by the publisher.

Four orphans escape an abusive situation at a boarding school and set off on a river trip in a canoe bound for St Louis. The trip is not a leisurely one, as the authorities are hot on their trail. Along the way, they meet a variety of people, all trying to
This is a wonderful book that deserves all the accolades possible! Set during the Great Depression, it tells the tale of four orphan children who escape from a cruel institution to look for a home where they will be loved and welcome. It's a tale that comes directly from the author's heart to touch ours.

The narrator, 12 year old Odie O'Banion and his older brother Albert are the only white boys in a school set up to 'take the Indian' out of native Indian boys by teaching them the white-man's cul
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books that are simply written often tell a wondrous tale. They don't need gimmicks because the writing shines through and takes a reader on a journey that is moving, loving, and ever so worthwhile reading. This Tender Land is one of those books.

“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
In ‘This Tender Land’ William Kent Krueger takes the reader on a mythic journey with four children running away from the Lincoln Indian Training School in 1932 Minnesota. Krueger's expressive prose and historically astute depiction of people and places during the Depression-era quickly captivated me; I was engaged as well by the main characters and wanted to know how things would turn out for them. Two of the children are orphan brothers, Albert, sixteen, and Odie, twelve, the only white childre ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The synopsis provided for this novel is precise, so I will only be reviewing my likes and dislikes.

There was a fair amount of historical context incorporated through the eyes of a 12-year old living in 1932 Minnesota as a runaway orphan. The characters that he and the other three orphans meet along their voyage are layered with the voice of those who lived during that time. The atmosphere of The Great Depression not only interrupted the innocence of many children, as we see in the runaways in th
“The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago. Of killing and kidnapping and children pursued by demons of a thousand names. There will be courage in this story and cowardice. There will be love and betrayal. And of course, there will be hope. In the end, isn’t that what every good story is about?” Odysseus O’Banion

There are a few authors that I’ve read in my life that make me feel as if I know their soul just by reading their words. William Kent Krueger is one of them. He can tell a w
Rating: 5 captivating stars

Wowie, wowie. What a masterpiece! This is in the Top 5 reads of 2019 for me, if not the top read this year. Run to your nearest book outlet and get this book. You will not be sorry. That is much more lavish praise than I usually provide in a book review, but William Kent Krueger’s latest book has earned it.

This is a coming of age adventure story told by Odie O’Banion. His 83 year-old self is recounting the summer of the Vagabonds, which happened when he was 12, in 193
Once upon a time in a land suffering from hunger and deprivation, four young vagabonds (one a mighty giant, one a wizard, one a fairy princess and one an imp) escape from the clutches of the Black Witch and set off on a journey to find their true home in a city faraway.

No, no, no, this isn't a fantasy story or a fairy tale. It's actually historical fiction and a wonderful coming-of-age story set in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. The four children, Odie, his older brother Albert, Mo
It was 1932 and the Lincoln Indian Training School was run by a cruel and ruthless woman the children called Black Witch, alongside her husband Clyde Bricknall. Thelma and Clyde had others who would also do their bidding – no one outside the school had any idea. But when brothers Odie and Albert O’Banion, best friend Mose and six year old Emmy, who had just lost her mother, had no option but to escape the school, they did it under the cover of darkness and with the help of a kind old man who’d a ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Four years ago W K Krueger won awards for Ordinary Grace, in which he brought the 1960's to life. Now, he does the same with the 1930's, and what these two excellent novels share is a 13-year-old protagonist and an exceptional example of great storytelling from a master. Stepping back for the moment from his addictive Cork O'Connor series, Krueger presents another great standalone, but all of his books share a respect for the landscape and his characters, and an appreciation for Native Americans ...more
Karen Rush
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intelligent coming-of-age story that incorporates adventure, faith, survival and growth. The writing is imaginative, the development of characters facing numerous challenges along a downriver journey well done. Orphans Odie and Emmy were my favorites. Loved their unique POV’S, their spunk, tenacity and devotion. Thanks to Atria Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Susan Johnson
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
If you only read one book this year (an absurd idea) then pick this one. It is simply magnificent and brought me to my knees. It is, by far, the best book I have read this year and I think it is destined to be a modern classic.

It is a deceptively simple story. The author calls it a retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with a tribute to Sinclair Lewis but I see an homage to To Kill a Mockingbird in it. It is set in Minnesota during the Great Depression. Two brothers are sent to one
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In 2013, William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Krueger was under contract for a companion novel, which was eagerly awaited by his publisher and readers alike. The problem was that the novel didn’t live up to Krueger’s high standards for his work. He couldn’t justify sending the manuscript to his publisher if he himself was not satisfied. With his publisher’s understanding and approval, he scrapped the project and started anew. The result is a heart-touching, ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 Stars
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Play Book Tag: This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger - 5* and a Heart 4 11 Sep 12, 2019 06:35PM  
Book of The Month: This Tender Land 5 24 Sep 11, 2019 07:04PM  
Temecula Valley B...: New Release by Book Club Author - Krueger 2 8 Aug 27, 2019 08:47PM  
Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for ...more

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