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Review: Ordinary Grace

April 26, 2013

Ordinary Grace

During the summer of 1961, thirteen year old Frank Drum lived in a small Minnesota town with his preacher father, frustrated mother, older sister, and younger brother.  The family had a quiet but happy life until that summer when tragedy struck their town and turned their lives upside down.   Frank is forced to do a lot of growing up and finds strength in his family even as he discovers the ugliness of the world.

Part mystery and part coming of age story,  Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger is one fantastic book!  It’s told from the point of view of young Frank and starts with an air of innocence and wonder that becomes less so as tragedy unfolds.  The Drum family is pretty typical for the time period – Frank’s dad is a preacher and his mom is frustrated with her role as a housewife.  Frank’s older sister has a boyfriend and is starting to imagine a life without the family and his younger brother struggles with a stutter.  The family is close and loving, though, and with their dad’s guidance, they try to live good lives.  I fell in love with Frank and the rest of the family from the very first page of this book – I savored every word Krueger wrote because I didn’t want it to end.

The plot of the book kept me riveted too.  I thought I had the mystery figured out but discovered I was wrong at the end of the book.  Even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, the conclusion made sense and worked very well.  I hesitate to say this, but this book reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird in some ways.  I don’t mean to imply that the stories are similar, but I felt that Frank had a strong and distinct voice like Scout and both characters’ fathers struggled to do the right thing even when it wasn’t easy.   I felt an underlying sense of spirituality that makes me strive for goodness and justice when I read these books.

Ordinary Grace has gorgeous prose, outstanding characters, and a fantastic story line, so you won’t want to miss it.  I loved everything about this book – it’s sure to be on my list of favorites for the year.  It’s been over a week since I finished it and I’m still thinking about it.  Do yourself a favor and pick this book up – it’s sure to become a classic!  (Watch for a giveaway of this wonderful book next week!)

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
29 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2013 6:11 am

    A friend just gave this a glowing review so I’m glad you agree. It’s on my TBR list.

  2. April 26, 2013 6:31 am

    Gosh, I’m impressed by your reaction! Maybe I need to read this one!

  3. April 26, 2013 7:27 am

    I haven’t even heard of this book and now it’s going on my list!! Sounds like a good read. I love your review. Thanks Kathy.m

  4. April 26, 2013 8:10 am

    It must be a great story if it reminded you of Mockingbird- will have to look for it!

  5. April 26, 2013 8:45 am

    I like the gorgeous prose bit.

  6. April 26, 2013 10:08 am

    Haven’t heard of this one but I adore books that center around small towns. And I like that the resolution to the mystery wasn’t obvious to you.

  7. April 26, 2013 10:40 am

    I really need to read this book. From your review I’ll be kicking myself someday for not reading it sooner, like BEAUTIFUL RUINS, which I highly recommend in audio (I have the book in print, too. I’m gifting it. The audio was just perfect.).

  8. April 26, 2013 10:47 am

    If you still thinking about it, then that’s a good indication. Reading your review got me interested to check this book out!

  9. April 26, 2013 10:52 am

    I just finished this book and so agree with you, Kathy. Frank was a wonderful narrator and I adored Jake’s sensitivity and heightened intuition. Wonderful review!

  10. therelentlessreader permalink
    April 26, 2013 11:22 am

    I’m so glad to read your review. I just bought this the other day in anticipation of the author’s upcoming visit to my little town. I can’t wait to read it now!

  11. April 26, 2013 12:16 pm

    I am about to start reading this book. THANKS for your great review.


  12. talesofwhimsy permalink
    April 26, 2013 12:57 pm

    Sounds good. I love books that keep me guessing.

  13. April 26, 2013 2:21 pm

    This does sound good. Today is turning out to be quite a day for my TBR list which could probably stretch from here to Europe at this point.

  14. April 26, 2013 2:55 pm

    Wow! Everything you wrote made me want to read this one. If it has the spirit of Mockingbird it’s sure to be goodl Adding it to my list. I love the cover too 🙂

  15. April 26, 2013 3:48 pm

    Ordinary Grace sounds incredible. Thanks to you, I will add another book to my must-read list!

  16. April 26, 2013 4:03 pm

    Ohhh possible classic alert, love it

  17. April 26, 2013 4:15 pm

    He comes to our area on Wednesday, so I am hoping to read the book between now and then. UGH! So little time, but really want to read it before I go to meet him! At least I have the book for him to sign!

  18. April 26, 2013 4:34 pm

    Wow Ordinary Grace sounds great.

  19. Patty permalink
    April 26, 2013 4:36 pm

    You are making me really want to read this!

  20. April 26, 2013 4:40 pm

    I love coming of age stories, and anything mentioned in the same breath as To Kill a Mockingbird goes straight onto my TBR list. It’s so wonderful that this book had you thinking about it for days after reading it. Lovely review!

  21. April 26, 2013 6:08 pm

    I love your enthusiasm for this book! I’m going to see if my library has a copy.

  22. April 26, 2013 9:57 pm

    Ooo, I think I’ll love this one – must read it!

  23. April 27, 2013 1:05 pm

    I think I have one of his straight mysteries around the house somewhere. I picked it up because of the MN setting. I keep seeing this one at the store, so I’m thinking I may have pick it up at some point in time. Thanks for the review.

  24. April 27, 2013 5:37 pm

    Love that you loved this. It’s another one I’m looking forward to.

  25. April 28, 2013 9:17 am

    I cant wait to read it. I have it and plan to read it soon ad William Kent is one of my authors coming in August and I want to be able to talk about this book 🙂

  26. April 28, 2013 11:40 pm

    I have this one in my stack of books to read soon. After reading your review I’m going to have to move it closer to the top.

  27. bookingmama permalink
    April 29, 2013 2:29 pm

    Great point about TKAM. There were definitely some similarities and I don’t say that lightly since TKAM is my all-time favorite novel.

  28. April 30, 2013 9:15 pm

    I feel as if I must read this book!!!!!

  29. techeditor permalink
    August 19, 2013 1:18 pm

    I read this.

    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.

    Although coming-of-age stories bore me, 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 took place.

    But ORDINARY GRACE mainly observes the narrator’s father and brother, so full of ordinary grace.

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