This Tender Land By: William Kent Krueger – Audiobook Online

“This Tender Land” is a coming-of-age adventure novel set in the Depression-era Midwestern United States. The story follows four main characters: Odie O’Banion, his brother Albert, Mose, and Emmy. The narrative begins at the Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota, where Odie and Albert are students. After a series of tragic events, the four friends embark on a journey down the Gilead, Minnesota, and Mississippi Rivers in search of a place to call home.

As they travel, they encounter various challenges and meet different people who shape their understanding of themselves and the world around them. The novel explores themes of friendship, faith, resilience, and the impact of historical events such as the Great Depression and the treatment of Native American children in boarding schools.

Throughout their journey, the characters undergo personal growth and transformation as they navigate adversity and strive to find belonging and purpose in a harsh and uncertain world.

The acclaimed author of Ordinary Grace has created a powerful novel about the life-changing adventures of an orphan who travels along America’s great rivers during the Great Depression, searching for both a place to call home and a sense of purpose in a world steeped in despair.

“Ask me, God is 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 all It’s all God. It’s certainly difficult, but it’s good work because it’s part of our connection to this beautiful, gentle 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 supervision of their cruel supervisor, Mrs. Brickman, often get into trouble for misdeeds both real and imagined. The two boys’ best friend is Mose, a mute Native American who is also the strongest kid at school. And they find another ally in Cora Frost, a widowed teacher raising her young daughter Emmy alone.

When tragedy strikes Mrs. Frost, it is 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, bound for the mighty Mississippi, leaving behind a dead bodies behind them. . Before long, they are wanted by the law and they know that Mrs. Brickman will stop at nothing in hunting them down for her own dark reasons. During this unforgettable summer, Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy carefully make their way through small riverside towns and large cities filled with people 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 terrible loss.

The story begins with a sad scene and continues on such a sad plot line that I wasn’t sure if I would continue reading or not. But I’m glad I stayed with it. The characters’ journey is long and full of adventures, with good and bad. Their lives are realistic and sad but also evolving. The book was unpredictable and kept me turning every page until the last. I highly recommend this book.

This book held my interest from start to finish. The characters are well developed and distinctive. Not a true story but it could very well be. Loved some of the history covered in the book. Some great twists, especially at the end. Would definitely recommend reading this book.

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