techeditor, August 19, 2013 (view all comments by techeditor)
William Kent Krueger may have outdone himself with ORDINARY GRACE. I've read a few other popular novels by this author,and ORDINARY GRACE is by far the best. If you like Kreuger's books, you'll love this one.
You may hesitate to read this, as I did, because the narrator is recalling the summer when he was 13-years-old, and coming-of-age stories bore you. Fear not. ORDINARY GRACE does not come across as a coming-of-age story. This is a story told by a 53-year-old man. He writes as an adult recalling what happened that summer to his family and others in his small community when one murder after another takes place.
But ORDINARY GRACE mainly observes the narrator's father and brother, so full of ordinary grace.
Silvers Reviews, April 29, 2013 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Frankie and Jake were brothers with Frankie being the braver of the two but not necessarily the ethical one. ORDINARY GRACE takes place when times were simpler but when problems still occurred in families and towns.
This specific summer in Frankie and Jake's life had adventures as well as misfortunes. Frankie was a character you will love. Frankie always seemed to be in the right place but never managed to figure out what was going on. He was growing up, being a boy, getting into and out of trouble, learning about life, and also learning how to deal with adult situations. His brother Jake was timid, adored his brother, and joined him on most of his adventures.
The book had a wonderful story line and great characters. The characters can be described as unique, loveable, different, and ones you would want to have for friends. Frankie was the narrator, Jake kept the story going, and Gus seemed to be the person Frankie and Jake looked up to. Frankie and Jake's parents were the typical couple of this era. All characters complemented each other.
The writing was extraordinary, the storyline was sweet, just like the era that pulled you in, and the storyline unquestionably kept your interest. You won't want to put the book down mainly because of the nostalgic theme. Keeping the storyline going are murders, deaths, a disappearance, a summer that would never be forgotten, and a mystery to solve.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The writing was moving, expressive, and powerful. The storyline moved effortlessly, and I loved the glimpse back into the 1960's.
ORDINARY GRACE is a book that will be on your mind long after you turn the last page. Don't miss this extraordinary book filled with the exploring of one's conscience and also with learning how to forgive. It is noteworthy and remarkable. 5/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Best known for the Cork O'Connor mystery series, Krueger (Trickster's Point) has produced an elegiac, evocative, stand-alone novel. The summer of 1961 finds thirteen-year-old Frank Drum living in small-town New Bremen, Minn. He and his younger brother, Jake, idolize their older sister, Ariel, a talented church organist who's also the 'golden child' of their parents, WWII veteran and Methodist pastor Nathan and church music director Ruth. Nathan and Ruth befriend the accomplished musician Emil Brandt, a veteran left blinded by his service, who tutors Ariel in her music education. Meanwhile, Jake, who has a stutter, forms a close bond with Lise, Emil's deaf older sister and caretaker, while Ariel dates Emil's wealthy nephew, Karl. The Drums' peaceful existence is shattered, however, when Ariel fails to return from a late-night party. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Karl comes under suspicion, Ruth undergoes a crisis of faith, and dark secrets about New Bremen come to light. The small-town milieu is rendered in picturesque detail, accurate down to period-appropriate TV programs, for what becomes a resonant tale of fury, guilt, and redemption. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Haldersons Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family— which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother— he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Franks perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
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