33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Easy and enjoyable,
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This review is from: The Tenderness of Wolves (Paperback)
The first few chapters of this book failed to capture my interest, but as I read on I became more and more engrossed. Part of the problem was my initial dislike for the main protagonist, Mrs Ross, who seemed aloof and unsympathetic. But as more of her motivations and background were revealed she became someone with whom it was easier to empathise. She was certainly courageous.
Various threads have been cleverly woven into this accomplished first novel, although I agree that the bone tablet seems little more than a distraction. No doubt with more thought it could have had greater relevance. There are a lot of characters, but the author handled her large cast effectively, avoiding any confusion about who they all were.
The ending is perhaps a bit sudden, predictable even (but only late in the book), and although there are some loose ends, they were not left hanging entirely free - there is nothing wrong with being left to imagine what might or might not ensue from the hints and insinuations scattered through the final chapters.
As others have said, one of the strengths of the book is its portrayal of vast snow-covered forests and wilderness. There are other books with an equally strong if not better sense of coldness - Helen Dunmore's 'The Siege' and 'A Spell of Winter', for instance, or Anita Shreve's 'Light on Snow' - but nevertheless, Stef Penney's descriptions are shiveringly realistic.
It is obvious from the other reviews that the book has disappointed some. It isn't perfect, but I can only say that I found it an easy and enjoyable read - and certainly one I would recommend.