Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

ordinary-grace“From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, 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 summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a 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.” – Goodreads

In 1961, Frank Drum was living in a small town in Minnesota with his parents and two siblings. His older sister, Ariel, was a music prodigy who was headed to Julliard at the end of the season; his younger brother, Jake, suffered with a terrible stutter. Frank’s father was a Methodist minister; his mother a homemaker who did not share her husband’s love for the church. During this fateful summer, Frank was thirteen years old and at that age when he was still exploring exactly who he was, and anxious to prove his manhood to others. This tale is narrated by Frank – forty years later – as he looks back upon the summer that changed him irrevocably and, in fact, did cause him to grow up a bit faster than expected. During that summer of 1961, four deaths occurred – one of which shook Frank and his family to the core.

Despite all of the tragedy and the inherent mystery that follows, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is assuredly not a murder/crime thriller. This definitely leans more toward the literary fiction side of the scale, for it is about so much more than the tragedies of the novel. It’s about survival and moving on, and doing it with grace and strength. It is about the strength of the family unit in times of crisis. It’s about how those who are considered to be weak are beaten down, yet fight to remain standing. It’s about choosing to face life head-on, or hiding from it behind closed doors.

Krueger’s rich and evocative writing style paints a detailed picture in the reader’s mind. His loving and vivid descriptions of Minnesota bring you right there. He writes a heart and soul into each of his characters that brings them to life in our minds. Ordinary Grace won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2014 {,as well as the 2014 Dilys Award} and in my opinion it was definitely deserved, for this is a novel that is far from ordinary. Go and get you some, y’all!

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger: Read it today!

4 stars

Source: Free Library of Philadelphia

 

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