Your audiobook is waiting…

This Tender Land

Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,833 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Take a Listen

"I am a storyteller. I live in a house in the shade of a sycamore tree on the banks of the Gilead River…"
"The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago…"
"The first time I got thrown into what the Brickman’s called the quiet room…"
"You should be more like your brother…"
"My brother was 16 then. He had grown tall and lanky at Lincoln school…"
"Tornado! Someone shouted. Run! None of us moved…"

Now Playing

  • This Tender Land
  • "I am a storyteller. I live in a house in the shade of a sycamore tree on the banks of the Gilead River…"
  • This Tender Land
  • "The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago…"
  • This Tender Land
  • "The first time I got thrown into what the Brickman’s called the quiet room…"
  • This Tender Land
  • "You should be more like your brother…"
  • This Tender Land
  • "My brother was 16 then. He had grown tall and lanky at Lincoln school…"
  • This Tender Land
  • "Tornado! Someone shouted. Run! None of us moved…"

Publisher's 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

Editor's Pick

A well-crafted American odyssey
"William Kent Krueger is a writer with a passionate following—it was the many heartfelt listener reviews combined with the persistent endorsement of a respected colleague that finally got me to try him out (thanks, Pam!). This Tender Land is beautifully drawn historical fiction that manages to create both unforgettable, authentic characters and a distinct sense of time and place—I became totally invested in the lives of these four orphans in Depression-era Minnesota. Narrator Scott Brick makes it a perfect trifecta of character, setting, and standout performance. Krueger's writing is an example of great American storytelling that I am so happy to have finally experienced."—Tricia F., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,288
  • 4 Stars
    373
  • 3 Stars
    112
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    22

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,275
  • 4 Stars
    259
  • 3 Stars
    94
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    34

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,204
  • 4 Stars
    321
  • 3 Stars
    106
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    21

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

115 of 119 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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 .

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

42 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

"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.

160 of 188 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • De
  • 09-09-19

Wonderful book

What an intriguing book. The writing is superb. I have loved Williams books. His books are works of art.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Wishing I had read rather than listened.....

Similar to “the book was better than the movie”, I am thinking I should have read rather than listened to This Tender Land.

I was disappointed in the narrator (a first for me) and consequently let it effect how I felt about the book. I loved every aspect of Ordinary Grace and listened to this newest book on the heels of finishing that one.

To be fair, this book picked up for me toward the end, but a little too late for me to save it.

I was appreciative of the sense of the 1930’s this book provided, but much of the dialogue seem forced and perhaps due to the narrator, overly dramatic and not sincere.

Am I put off from listening to the next William Kent Krueger? Never.

55 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

captivating

I was impressed it was written with gusto for all the areas of life it touched.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Historical Fiction

This Tender Land
By: William Kent Krueger

This historical fiction set during "The Great Depression" takes the listener into the rough times a lot of people suffered through. The author is an excellent storyteller, with vivid descriptions and believable characters!!!



The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. Scott Brick is one of the finest narrators out there. Never disappointed with his work!!!



I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Blue Maplethorpe
  • Blue Maplethorpe
  • 10-11-19

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.