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The Tenderness of Wolves    by Stef Penney order for
Tenderness of Wolves
by Stef Penney
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A Costa Book-of-the-Year Winner in 2006, The Tenderness of Wolves is a pretty amazing work for a first-time author. It is a novel of place - Canada in the 19th century, with its settlers, trappers, traders, Indians, and looming above all of them, the Hudson Bay Company.

There has been a murder in Dove River, and of the many people interested in finding out who did it, none is more anxious than Mrs. Ross, who discovers not only the body but that her son Francis has gone missing. When the search party looking for Francis fails to return, a second party heads out, Mrs. Ross among them. Finding Francis is just the first part of the journey because the resolution of the mystery hinges on finding a cache of expensive pelts taken from the Hudson Bay Company.

There are several strands to the story and possibly more characters than the reader can comfortably handle, but we read on because we must. Author Stef Penney has written a compelling saga that is admirably easy to read. Getting back to the Costa Award, it is 'given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience.' I can't think of a better description of this novel.

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