stef penney

the tenderness of wolves

‘The Tenderness of Wolves stood out from a very strong shortlist. We felt

enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and

effortless storytelling…

A story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn’t put it down’

Costa Award Committee

‘An intensely atmospheric murder mystery that consolidates its hold with each

serpentine contortion of the narrative and every new character that drifts into

its frame…

Penney’s immense tale allows one to feel the tundra’s perishing chill in the bones …

robust craftsmanship, cracking storytelling and cinematically evoked panoramas

that recall the finest Westerns’

Sunday Times 

‘A remarkable literary debut… brilliantly assured, subtly written’


‘Stef Penney writes well enough to win plaudits for a much simpler story but she

gives us historical romance, murder and mystery…

This is a classic tale of good guys and bad guys and the triumph of love over hate

and good over evil – delivered with a lovely twist’

The Times

‘A tense and delicately written thriller’


‘Penney’s evocation of the frozen lands of northern Canada couldn’t ring truer if

she’d spent months wandering throughout the land… there isn’t a syllable of her

evocation that seems forced…

Penney has cleverly wrapped up this look at human motive, resourcefulness and

failing in what is both a western and a murder mystery… this is a literary book

that it’s very easy to be gratefully sucked into’

The Guardian

‘A fascinating, suspense-filled adventure.’

The Sunday Telegraph

‘Stef Penney brings to her nineteenth-century novel a nineteenth-century scope

and intricacy of design, and pulls the strands together satisfactorily at the end…

a strong, ambitious debut which deserves its recognition and promises great

things for the future.’

Literary Review

‘An imaginative tour de force’

Mail on Sunday

‘The Tenderness of Wolves is a terrific, gripping piece of storytelling,

the meticulous plot executed with wonderful panache… Penney is wonderful at

evoking a freezing landscape…

Astonishingly assured debut and a stonking good read.’

Evening Standard

‘Entertaining and well-written adventure thriller.’

The Spectator

‘A quite remarkable debut novel.’

Birmingham Post

‘A promising and highly assured debut… Stef Penney has written an absorbing

and stylish mystery’

Glasgow Herald

‘Stef Penney’s portrait of a small settlement in deep mid-winter was so authentic

that when The Tenderness of Wolves was published in North America, Canadians

were convinced that she had spent weeks researching the book there’

Daily Telegraph

‘Sexy, suspenseful, densely plotted storytelling… A first-rate gripper with a

notably sensual as well as psychological understanding of its main characters’

The Globe and Mail (Canada)

‘A fine and compelling book’

Seth Kantner, author of ‘Ordinary Wolves’

‘A terrific piece of storytelling’

The Courier Mail (Australia)

‘One of the most assured and memorable debuts I’ve had the fortune to read’

Joseph Boyden, author of ‘Three Day Road’

‘Confident and complex portrait of 1860s Ontario. . . . Between twists and turns

of plot, Penney evokes the land -- its shades of light and changes of weather,

its marshes and treacherous waters. Rarely has winter seemed so febrile. . . .

This one is a powerhouse’

Books of Canada

‘Penney's descriptions of the harsh landscape and the deprivation

of living there are vivid and excellent’

The Daily Telegraph (Australia)