Thursday, 10 September 2009

Review:- Stef PENNEY – “The Tenderness of Wolves”

Publ: 2006
My own copy
ISBN: 978 1 84724 067 5
Genre: General fiction
Pages: 450p
Found by Serendipity
Rating: ***** ***

What led you to pick up this book?

The unusual title, the blurb and the promise of suspense.

Describe the plot without giving anything away.
In Canada in 1867 in an isolated settlement a man is brutally murdered and a woman sets out into the wilderness to find her missing son and clear his name.

What did you think of the characters and style?
I read this back in April and have largely forgotten it but I do recall I enjoyed it and found the description of the snowy landscape and the style excellent. The author is the master of the pithy phrase. I’m also fond of any author who finds me some new words for my Word Blog and I got about five out of this book.

Thoughts on the book jacket / cover

Would I recommend it?


“News travels fast these days, thinks Thomas Sturrock. even where there are no roadas or railways, news, or its nebulous cousin rumour, travels like lightning over vast distances.”

“She considers herself a well-travelled woman, and from each place she has been to, she has brought away a prejudice as a souvenir.”

“ Susannah became everyone’s darling: spoilt but slightly patronised, in need of protection from unpleasant facts of life like blocked sanitary closets and taxation.”

“Mutual need is what makes people co-operate; nothing to do with trust or kindness or any such sentimental notion.”

“Clearly the secret of happiness, he reflects quite cheerfully, is a variation on the general principle of banging your head against a wall, and then stopping.”

was born in Edinburgh in 1969 and took a degree in Theology and Philosophy at Bristol before turning to film-making – writing and directing two films. The Tenderness of Wolves was her first novel.


  1. was this the costa winner? I thinks o yes..I tried it, got stuck, moved on, as I decided when I turned 40, yonks ago, I wouldnt beat myself up ver an unfinished book).

    However everyone I talk to says its wonderful so I shall try to get around to it sometime!!

  2. I certainly thought it was worth reading, when I read it last year. I'd certainly recommend reading it.


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