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The Tenderness of Wolves by [Penney, Stef]
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The Tenderness of Wolves Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 258 customer reviews

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Length: 468 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

" The Tenderness of Wolves stood out from a very strong shortlist. We felt enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and effortless story-telling. It is a story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn't put it down." -- Costa Award Committee

"An original and readable mixture of mystery and history, with a good dollop of old-fashioned adventure."-- "The Times" (London)

"A fascinating, suspense-filled adventure, a refreshing contrast to the conventional murder mystery."-- "The Sunday Telegraph" (London)

"Penney's descriptions of the harsh landscape and the deprivation of living there are vivid and excellent."-- "The Daily Telegraph" (Australia)

"A quite remarkable debut novel set in the snowy backwoods of Canada in 1867 . . . atmospheric and delicately written mystery."-- "Birmingham Post"

"The novel has a large canvas and . . . the story twists and turns. "The Tenderness of Wolves" is an entertaining and well-written adventure thriller."-- "The Spectator"

""The Tenderness of Wolves" stood out from a very strong shortlist. We felt enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and effortless story-telling. It is a story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn't put it down." -- Costa Award Committee

"Confident and complex portrait of 1860s Ontario. . . . Between twists and turns of plot, Penney evokes the land -- its shades of light and changes of weather, its marshes and treacherous waters. Rarely has winter seemed so febrile. . . . This one is a powerhouse."-- "Books of Canada"

"Stef Penney, who in an even more unusual coup, won the first novel prize with a murder saga, "The Tenderness of Wolves," The (Costa) judges said it made them feel "enveloped in the snowy wastes" of Canada in 1867. Penney, agoraphobic at the time, did all her research in the British Library."-- "The Guardian" (Manchester)

"An entertaining, well-constructed mystery . . . sexy, suspenseful, densely plotted storytelling . . . a novel with far greater ambitions than your average thriller, combining as it does the themes of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" with Atwood's "Survival," and lashing them to a story that morphs Ian Rankin with "The Mad Trapper of Rat River,""-- "The Globe and Mail" (Canada)

"In suitable Jack London style for a setting in Canada's snowy wastes, wolves wander in and out of this suspenseful 19th-century epic, offering a leitmotif of constant unease. So begins what masquerades as a traditional murder quiz but quickly broadens out to encompass other lines of inquiry -- the mystery of two long-missing young sisters, the quest for a forgotten native American culture, the twists and turns of an unusual love story. Stef Penney is from Edinburgh and claims never to have visited Canada -- impressive, then, that the land of her imagination convinces."-- "The Guardian"

Book Description

A panoramic epic, a magnificent piece of storytelling, an unforgettable debut novel

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4359 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; New Ed edition (8 Feb. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847240674
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847240675
  • ASIN: B0038QN28A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 258 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,101 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a strange book, enthralling, with a great deal of beauty in it but also with a number of significant flaws. To start on the positives, the descriptions of landscape are excellent. Also Mrs Ross is an intriguiging character, one gets to know her, but there is also a great deal unknown about her. I may be giving too much credit, but it feels like there is a great deal to her that we don't learn about (rather than her just being shallow). Thirdly the central plot is nicely intricate and well resolved.

On the down side, it just feels as if the author had too many ideas, which, as this was her first novel, she felt compelled to include. There are just too many peripheral characters and subplots which remain unresolved. What is the 'Line' subplot in there for ?. Also the frequent change of narrative voice gives the book an unwelcome fragmentation. Thirdly, probably as a result of the fragmentation, the characters remain rather distant and undeveloped.

On balance I would give this book the thumbs up and say that it is worth buying and reading, but with caveats.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written book, with a few unexpected surpises! But the title was really related to the content of the book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this book on time and as promised. I am currently reading it and enjoying it. Thank you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
prompt arrival and accurate description of the product ~ even better actually ~ the condition is almost perfect
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
A beautifully written book. It cleverly alternates between the story and the narrative told by its heroin Mrs Ross; who in the Canadian winter of 1867 trecked north from Georgian Bay, in search of her missing son.
From Georgian Bay she follows her sons trail through the forest of central Canada and out onto the treeless tundra that stretches north to the frozen Hudson Bay.
But Penney Stef has never visited Canada and clearly has no concept of distance or climate. The Hudson Bay Co territory covered three million square miles -ten times the size of the Holy Roman Empire.
Stef Penny takes them across the tundra to an HBC fort in a couple of days. In a country where it takes three days to drive along the north shore of L. Superior!
Neither does Penney have any concept of winter climate.
The Hudson Bay history records "..great fires burned in the hearths of York Fort.. but made little difference in a climate where quicksilver in the thermometers froze solid".
In contrast Penney's heroin narrates [p246] a blizzard on the freezing tundra "..the tent is gone, the wind is screaming... [the men] light the fire for tea, huddling round with scorching fingers... I watch the men smoking their pipes, a warm and soothing thing". Oops!
An excellent first novel made all the more remarkable by Penney never having been to Canada. But a black mark on 'Quercus' for failing to pick up on some glaring errors that make the story unbelievable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stef Penney's debut has attracted some hostility from the literary establishment on winning the Costa (formerly Whitbread) prize as Book of the Year,largely because "nobody has read it" and the author researched her subject in libraries rather than by trekking through the wastes of Canada. Well, stuff them. It's a terrific novel, and the judges were absolutely right to prefer it over Boyd's latest or even the charming memoir about a happy East End childhood.

Mrs. Ross, the narrator, is a Scottish pioneer and ex-asylum inmate who discovers the body of a French trapper, murdered and scalped in his house near Dove river. Her beautiful, adopted 17 year old son Francis has disappeared, and so has the victim's money and a piece of bone which may prove the "Indians" had a written culture. A half-breed Cherokee trapper is arrested and beaten up to try nad force a confession out of him, but the magistrate has more compassion than the fur-trading company to whom all are in thrall, and releases him. Mrs Ross and Parker embark on an epic journey, tracking her son and another, fainter set of footprints, across snow and ice. In their wake are more Company hunters, bent on tracking them down...

It is a wonderful story, set in 1867 and featuring an agoraphobic heroine who must overcome her fears (and her growing passion for her guide) to find justice. In many ways it reminded me of Ursula le Guin's masterpiece, The Left-Hand of Darkness, for though this is meticulously researched historical fiction, not fantasy, it shares the same sense of passion and desperation growing on the extreme edges of civilisation. All the characters are well-drawn, and though the narrative switches between first and third person, it is consistently interesting and beautifully written.
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