The Tenderness of Wolves: A Novel

by Stef Penney | Mystery & Thrillers | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 1416571302 Global Overview for this book
Registered by AlterEgoZoe of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA on 8/5/2017
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by AlterEgoZoe from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA on Saturday, August 05, 2017
Picked up at a library book sale. To share.

The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. Laurent Jammett had been a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company before an accident lamed him four years earlier. The same accident afforded him the little parcel of land in Dove River, land that the locals called unlucky due to the untimely death of the previous owner.

A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man's cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross's knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother's love -- for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect.

In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the crime and to the township -- Andrew Knox, Dove River's elder statesman; Thomas Sturrock, a wily American itinerant trader; Donald Moody, the clumsy young Company representative; William Parker, a half-breed Native American and trapper who was briefly detained for Jammett's murder before becoming Mrs. Ross's guide. But the question remains: do these men want to solve the crime or exploit it?

One by one, the searchers set out from Dove River following the tracks across a desolate landscape -- home to only wild animals, madmen, and fugitives -- variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good.

In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller; a panoramic historical romance; a gripping murder mystery; and, ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, an epic for the ages.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, March 11, 2018
I'm claiming this from the Indigenous Peoples bookbox.

Later: Interesting mix of characters and subplots here, told from different viewpoints and with flashbacks - a format I have enjoyed, though it helps if the author makes it clear with each viewpoint/timestream shift just who and when we're dealing with. Having to take the time to work that out for myself detracted from the reading experience for me.

The wintry 1867 wilderness is strongly evoked here, with a good sense of place whether in the shabby little cabin that was the scene of the murder or in the treks through snowbound forests. The victim was not a particularly admirable character, though apparently charismatic enough to win lots of attention, including the heart of a 17-year-old boy with considerable artistic talent... and of course adding a note of potential romantic jealousy makes him a suspect, which his disappearance from his home seems to confirm. But he's far from the only person with a possible motive.

I found the touches of indigenous culture - and bias - interesting, and found myself worrying a LOT about the "funny piece of engraved bone" that serves as a talisman for the nearly-vanished Native culture and also as one of the story's McGuffins. People fret about it, wonder what it is, pick it up and lose it... I was more interested in what happened to it than to most of the human characters {wry grin}.

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 20 Broad St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, April 13, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (4/14/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, 20 Broad St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library on this warm spring afternoon; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2018 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

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