This Tender Land

This Tender Land

by William Kent Krueger

Overview: 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.

Debbie Weiss (09/29/19): This is the second book that I have read by William Kent Krueger and I loved it just as much as the first, Ordinary Grace. The story involves 4 young orphans who are residents of The Lincoln School in Minnesota, an institution mostly for Indian children who have been removed from their families.  The school does have a few white children, too, who are orphans.  The people who run the school are cruel to all the students. Odie and Albert, who are brothers, and Mose and Emmy (a young girl whose mother died) decide to run away. Their plan is to travel to St. Louis to seek out an aunt who lives there.

These young people travel mostly on the river in their canoe. Along the way they meet some really good and kind people and they are often tempted to stay and set up a life in these locations. However, the call of possibly reaching a real family member is strong --- and the fact that the law is after them for kidnapping Emmy --- give these young people the fortitude to keep on going.

The characters are created by the author with love and every time fate thows them a curveball, you feel miserable. The story has some twists at the end which made it even more interesting. An excellent read!
Rating: *****

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