God Is a Tornado! My favorite book of 2019 releases today. I am reprinting my June 26th review to encourage you to read this book. And to update it to follow my new blog theme of “A Book Review and a Recipe, too” I am adding a recipe for Mississippi Mud Brownies. I have served these several times to my book club and received compliments.
Here is the link to buy it: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=https://www.amazon.com/This-Tender-Land-William-Krueger-ebook/dp/B010MHAEGA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1CFK6OY8YT0ZT%26keywords=this+tender+land%26qid=1567547387%26s=gateway%26sprefix=2025%2Caps%2C344%26sr=8-1]
How special it is to find one of those rare and beautiful books that etches a place in your heart. This Tender Land is certainly one of those books for me. I have a feeling after it is published in September 2019, it will be on the best seller list for quite a while. Thank you to NetGalley and to Atria Books for my advanced reader copy. And thank you to the author, William Kent Krueger, for sharing your heart with this book.
The book starts with the narrator, Odie O’Bannion, looking back upon events from the great depression. He tells the reader to open themselves to every possibility, for there is nothing your heart can imagine that is not so. Then he promises a tale of killing, kidnapping, children pursued by demons (and a very persistent Black Witch), courage, cowardice, love, betrayal, and of course hope. And boy does he deliver a magical story!
The story is an odyssey of four orphaned children who escape a horrible existence at an Indian School in Minnesota and try to travel via canoe to try to find an aunt in St. Louis, Missouri. The year is 1932. Before leaving, Odie paints the phrase God Is A Tornado on the water tower as both a message and a warning.
Odie, along with his brother Albert(the only two white children at the Indian school) their best friend Mose, rescue a young girl, Emmy, and take off with some stolen cash and a gun. They know they will be chased by the law and accused of kidnapping Emmy. As they follow the twists and turns of the great rivers they paddle, the four learn more and more about themselves. There are many well wishers, who always say to them “God be with you”. There are also several evil people, who shake their belief system entirely.
Odie O’Bannon, who was only 12 years old, tries to understand God, who had taken away his last hope of happiness with a tornado that killed Emmy’s mother who was his favorite teacher. He felt like at every corner of the journey the Tornado God had its ultimate purpose to deny the boy a happy ending. But as the journey continues, he realizes he can’t pin down God. The most important truth he learns is that when he yields to the river and embraces the journey that he finds peace. The other 3 children are also able to come to peace with their purpose, and to find a place they could call home.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this 10 stars. I really loved this book. I would highly recommend it to book clubs and readers who enjoyed Before We Were Yours and Where The Crawdads Sing.
Adapted From Southern Living Magazine April 2011
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 (4-oz.) unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar and eggs until well blended. Stir in flour. Spread batter into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Sprinkle warm brownies with toasted pecans and marshmallows.
Prepare Chocolate Frosting: Cook butter, milk and cocoa over medium heat in a large saucepan, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes or until butter melts. Remove from heat, and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Pour chocolate frosting over pecans and marshmallows; spread to edges. Let cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into squares.