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This Tender Land  By  cover art

This Tender Land

By: William Kent Krueger
Narrated by: Scott Brick
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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…"
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This Tender Land
"The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago…"
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This Tender Land
"The first time I got thrown into what the Brickman’s called the quiet room…"
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This Tender Land
"You should be more like your brother…"
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This Tender Land
"My brother was 16 then. He had grown tall and lanky at Lincoln school…"
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This Tender Land
"Tornado! Someone shouted. Run! None of us moved…"
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  • 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