It is hard to believe that it is the last Friday of October and that November will be here next week. It is just crazy to me. The last Friday of the month means that it is Book Club day, which is one of my favorite days each month. I love that doing this book club each month forces me to read because it is something that brings me so much joy. I have loved reading my whole life, but I had gotten away from reading regularly because I let life get in the way. This book club forces me to make time to get wrapped up in a story, and I love it. This month we read a book fresh off the printer entitled This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. It came out last month and was an instant best seller, and I could see why after only a few chapters in. I really enjoyed the journey that this story took me on. Not only did it instantly take me back in time when the world was much different, but it also kept me enthralled in the story page after page. I was totally wrapped up in each character’s storyline. It was really a great read, and I enjoyed it immensely.
This story begins in the summer of 1932 when 4 unlikely friends set off on an adventure after escaping from the Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota. The Lincoln School was a place where Native American children who were taken from their families were sent to be educated. Mrs. Brickman and her husband ran the school. They both seemed to despise children and gained pleasure from their suffering. The students called Mrs. Brickman the Black Witch. She would lock them in a quiet room, farm them out for hard manual labor in the community, barely feed them, and turned a blind eye to beatings and other inappropriate actions towards the children by an employee of the school. Needless to say, these children suffered greatly at her hands. Mose was a descendent of the Sioux tribe and came to the school at a young age after he was found next to his dead parents in a ditch. His own tongue had been cut out in the attack, so he communicated through sign language. Odie and Albert O’Banion were brothers who ended up at the school after their father was killed during a bootlegging run. They were not of Native American descent but were told that they were sent to the Lincoln School because the state orphanage was full. The last of the 4 was sweet Emmy Frost, the daughter of 2 teachers at the school. Her father had been killed in a farming accident a few years earlier and her mom had a sweet spot for the 3 boys and wanted to take them in as her own. After Mrs. Frost was killed in a tornado, Emmy was left to live with the horrible Brickmans. Those events lead the 4 to band together and escape from the Lincoln School and begin a long journey down the river to St. Louis in search of family. The events that followed would change their lives forever.
This is a story of heartbreak and struggle. These 4 children faced things in their short life that no children should ever have to face. Murder, imprisonment, abuse, snakebites, loss, and more plagued their journey. They also came across people who were a danger to them and people who showed them great love along the way. Their determination, resiliency, and love for each other helped them along their journey. While their journey to freedom only lasted a little over a month, it felt like it was years in the making. Although they experienced and lost so much in those few short weeks, their bond only grew stronger as they became the family they all longed for. I really loved this story and highly recommend it. It certainly did not disappoint.
My pick for November is a bit different than the last few I have chosen. I am moving away from the historical fiction genre for this pick to give us a little variety. I thought I would spice it up a little this time. This month I am choosing Redemption Road by John Hart. This story is more of a mystery/thriller this time. It is a New York Times Bestseller from the only author to ever win the Edgar Allan Poe Award back-to-back. Here is what Apple Books has to say about this novel.
“Redemption Road took five years to write, and that investment shows. John Hart’s thriller is masterfully written and haunting. At its center is suspended policewoman Elizabeth Black, who under investigation for the murder of two men who abducted and tortured a teenager Channing Shore. Liz is plagued by nightmares, not all of them related to Channing’s horrific ordeal. Hart has not only created a strong, vulnerable heroine to root for, he’s written a Southern gothic crime novel that’s flush with eeriness and themes of righteousness and redemption.”
I hope you will come along and read with me.
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