The Tenderness of Wolves tells the story of the search for the murderer of Laurent Jamais, French trapper in late nineteenth century Canada, one brutal winter. Mrs Ross’ son Francis is suspected of the murder, and she sets out on a most unconventional journey to clear his name.
This was my first full-scale audiobook listening exercise (it took me about 5 months from start to finish because I don’t have much time in the day that can only be used for audiobook listening!) and I very much enjoyed it. It is such a different experience from reading a print book (not least in terms of the patience necessary!) and I will be looking out for more audiobooks now. This recording had two narrators; Sally Armstrong (with a beautiful clear but distinctive Scottish accent) for Mrs Ross’ strand of the narrative and Adam Sims (again, a clear and versatile voice) for various male-perspective strands.
I was particularly impressed by the characterisation of Donald; like Mrs Ross, he was granted considerable rumination and reflection, thinking back on his time with the Company in Canada and about his father. There were definite tinges of Little House on the Prairie in there, as what is fundamentally a simple murder mystery with a bit of pursuit is turned into an adventure story (to anyone who’s read it: did the story of Lina and her escape have any purpose at all except to add some danger?) and the cosy winter scenes are tempered with the tragedy of the Ross’ lost daughter and the missing Seeton girls.
Somehow the ending, which I would have found riveting and fast-paced in print, dragged a little in audio; whether there was too much perspective switching as the scene was revisited by several characters, or whether it was simply a function of the time taken to describe a scene and thus the impossibility of urgency, I’m not sure. Something to keep an eye out for in future I guess.
An enjoyable adventure tale, and well done in audio.