Book Review- The Tenderness of Wolves

 

The Tenderness of Wolves

 

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney appeared to be a formidable reading group assignment with almost four hundred pages of dense type. After testing the first few chapters it seemed my concerns had been confirmed. At the same time it became obvious that the author was a skilled at weaving an interesting story and provided outstanding descriptions of people and places and also after working through first hundred pages I found it difficult to put the book down.  Despite a cast of characters that would fill a small book I had been hooked. The story is set in nineteenth century Canada in an area dominated by the fur trade and the Hudson Bay Company. A murder occurs in a Hudson Bay ruled settlement. The reason for the murder and by whom is the mystery to be solved. The early chapters of the book deal with setting up the characters and situation. The stories action intensified as the author put this large cast into motion and moved them like a chess player while the mystery deepens as more and more potential instigators’ and reasons for the terrible crime emerged. However, I was one of a number of readers in our reading group didn’t quite figure out who had done the murder after completing the book. That may have been the author’s intention. Ambiguity to the end.  An interesting read but as a person who has lived in the northern latitudes and experienced many winters, the descriptions of casual travel by foot and living outdoors for days during the deep winter by men and women, (The women in long skirts) seemed a little unrealistic. The books background information revealed that the author had never visited Canada. Possibly, boots on the ground might have made that aspect of the book more realistic. Another small complaint; the story had some detours that were interesting but didn’t move the story line to its conclusion. Maybe a little pruning would have made the novel less dense and formidable.