The Tenderness of Wolves
First sentence: The last time I saw Laurent Jammet, he was in Scott's store with a dead wolf over his shoulder.
Reflections: In the 1860s, Canada was a northern wilderness with fur traders and native people in tense coexistence. In the village of Dove River, a man is murdered. At the same time, a 17-year-old youth disappears and becomes a prime suspect in the murder. The disappearance rekindles memories of a long-ago tragedy, in which two sisters went off on a picnic and never returned. Local authorites and representatives of the Hudson Bay Company investigate the murder. And the boy's mother, Mrs. Ross, takes it upon herself to search for her son accompanied by a trapper named Parker as her guide.
Stef Penney weaves a character-driven tale of adventure and mystery. The characters are complex, and the story far from formulaic. Penney paints such a realistic picture of the frozen Canadian wilderness, that I actually felt cold and had to snuggle up in a blanket while reading. And while I did figure out one of the subplots early on, it did not mar my enjoyment of the book. This debut novel and 2006 Costa Book of the Year winner was a very enjoyable read. ( )