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Guest Writer

Holly Berfield
Bookstagram Bonanza Edition

Guest Writer Holly Berfield Graphic

October 23, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

I have such a mouthwatering treat for you this Friday. Today’s Guest Writer is the ever so talented Holly Berfield, creator of the Blog, BookCookLook and Instagram account @bookcooklook. Who doesn’t love a fabulous book paired with something absolutely scrumptious to eat. BookCookLook features book reviews and delicious food inspired by the story. How perfect is that! If you have never visited Holly’s Blog or Instagram account…now is the time. Detailed book reviews, delectable food pairings and drool worthy photos will have you hooked in no time.

Holly is a photographer of families and food, and was formerly a lawyer and marketing exec until her love for her camera made it feel impossible to do anything else! She is married to her college sweetheart, and lives in New York with her husband, two boys and mini Australian labradoodle puppy. When she’s not behind the camera, you can find her in the kitchen baking something new (lately challah!), traveling to new adventuresome locations (less of this lately …) or between the pages of a great novel (lots of this)! Her favorite books of 2020 so far have been This Tender Land, The Book of Longings, Here For It and The Girl With The Louding Voice.

I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. It’s a tasty one!




Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Did you ever finish reading a book, then hold it close in farewell before selecting a perfect spot on the bookshelf, to be reminded of it always? This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger was one of those books for me. It was one of my first quarantine purchases, made on a quick curbside trip to a semi-closed local bookshop, in a gloved and masked exchange with the owner. I just knew from the first chapter it would be special. In fact, it reminds me a lot of your Nick Adams stories. Your other works garner so much attention but the Nick Adams stories stayed with me, especially the power of nature to heal emotional wounds. This magnificent novel centers on the Depression-era journey of four orphans on the run from violence and despair at a tyrannical boarding school. Their makeshift family with nothing but a canoe winds its way down a river in Minnesota, and as their adventures along the way bring them closer together, others threaten to tear them apart. The narrator, Odie O’Banion, tells this coming of age story with a beauty that is immersive, and the descriptions of the setting fairly shimmer off the pages. It feels like a new American classic, filled with characters who shape the course of the orphans’ odyssey. The story is gently paced, but also filled with suspense as these young vagabonds avoid the pursuit of their would-be captors. With its transporting, captivating writing, and moving depiction of adventure and human connection, this book was an unforgettably perfect “mood read” for hunkering down at home.

Mr. Hemingway, I think you’d be so impressed with the author’s note. Krueger kayaked and canoed the same Minnesota waterways that Odie and his companions traveled. Every spot in the book was visited by the author and it shows in his descriptive writing, just as your time in northern Michigan inspired the Nick Adams stories. In my bookcooklook project, I cook something inspired by every book I read. Given the Depression-era timing of the story, there is lots of soup in this book. Lentil, chicken, beef and bean – but at the time of my reading, I was making matzo ball soup for Passover. It occurred to me how fitting this is for This Tender Land, which is all about freedom, family and to a degree, faith. There is a daring escape from bondage, many days and nights wandering in search of freedom, and even a character named Moses. It seemed a perfect, satisfying pairing for a memorable novel like this one.

I hope you love this book as much as I did, Mr. H.


P.S. Click on my book pic below to purchase.

This Tender Land cover

Photo Credit~Holly Berfield

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