Book #65 of 2020 | This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Title: This Tender Land

Author: William Kent Krueger

Thoughts: This book is devastatingly beautiful. Adding it to my “current all-time favorite reads” list immediately—it’s really that good. If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing and The Great Alone, you’ll love this one, too. It’s set in Minnesota during the Great Depression, and follows the odyssey of four young children canoeing down the Mississippi after escaping a Native American boarding school. It’s that, but it’s so much more. It’s a book about strength and where we find it, a book about family—family by blood and family by choice, and while it’s not a religious book, it is very much a book about God and where to find Him. It’s a book about nature, and about loss, and about hope. There aren’t many 450+ page books out there that you finish and say “wow, I wish there was more of this book,” but this is one of those books. Like The Great Alone, I’ll forever be describing this book as one that will break your heart and then put it back together.

Favorite Lines:
“In the beginning, after he labored over the heavens and the earth, the light and the dark, the land and sea and all living things that dwell therein, after he created man and woman and before he rested, I believe God gave us one final gift. Lest we forget the divine source of all that beauty, he gave us stories.” (p. 3)

“I’ve always thought of her in the way I think of a precious gem: The beauty isn’t in the jewel itself, but in the way the light shines through it.” (p. 16)

“I played on anyway, and Miss Stratton followed, and the music itself seemed to weep and not just for what we’d lost that week. It was for the families and the childhoods and the dreams that were, even for those of us so young, already gone forever.” (p. 63)

“‘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, Buck. This beautiful, tender land.'” (p. 151)

“There is something about a fire on a dark night, a fire shared with others, that pulls the gloom right out of you.” (p. 165)

“She gave Mother Beal a look I couldn’t, at that age, interpret but I have since come to think of as profound maternal compassion, a strength emanating from a deep well of endurance that, across my life, I’ve come to understand was not particular to Sarah Schofield. I’ve witnessed it in other women who have suffered much without losing their hope or their gift for embracing with forgiveness those who are broken.” (p. 288)

“…good things are made even better when you share the story of how they came to be.” (p. 396)

“Perhaps the most important truth I’ve learned across the whole of my life is that it’s only when I yield to the river and embrace the journey that I find peace.” (p. 439)

“But I believe if you tell a story , it’s like sending a nightingale into the air with the hope that its song will never be forgotten.” (p. 443)

Click here to purchase This Tender Land

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