If Tenderness Be Gold is set in 19th-century and early 20th-century northern Ontario and Manitoba. An Irish mother, an Italian herbalist, and a Scottish midwife come together on the night of a difficult birth, and the result of their union has effects that echo through the generations.
"Eleanor Albanese's debut novel, If Tenderness Be Gold, is a beautiful tapestry, woven on a loom formed by the waters of Black Bay and the boreal forests of northern Ontario, its warp strung by a mother whose loneliness and love for her child dared her to befriend an outsider. But it’s the generations of colourful characters, the mingling of Irish, Scottish, and Italian immigrants who came to Canada to scrape out an existence as farmers, healers, fishermen, and labourers, that complete this heartwarming story. Rich language, authentic voices, Eleanor Albanese has crafted a lovely work inspired by her own family that reflects the immigrant experience in northwestern Ontario."
- Jean E. Pendziwol, author, The LIghtkeeper’s Daughter
"If Tenderness Be Gold is a poetic, painterly novel about the mysteries of family - about generational memory and all its gifts and burdens. Albanese's writing is powerful magic."
- Natalie Morrill, author, The Ghost Keeper
"This story is as much a reflection on family as it is on the process of grieving."
- Jodene Wylie, Cloud Lake Literary Journal