Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, a review

Ordinary Grace is very different from any other book I’ve read of Krueger’s and I think it’s the best so far. Yes, it’s a mystery, but told in a much different way, and could be called a “coming of age” story.

The story begins in 1961 in New Bremen, Minneapolis, when thirteen-year-old Frank Drum looks forward to a summer of root beer floats, swimming in the rock quarry, going along with his family to the three churches where his Methodist minister father preaches, hanging out with his younger brother, and eavesdropping on the grown-ups.

Everyone in the small town’s lives begin to topple when a boy is found dead on the railroad tracks. Frank finds clues that make him think the child was murdered—clues that point to various people. This is also the summer that Frank and his younger brother find out dark and surprising secrets about family and others they’ve known nearly their whole lives.

A horrible crime changes everything for Frank and his family. Through mistaken conclusions, surprising challenges and bravery, unexpected knowledge, Frank steps into adulthood. His brother experiences a miracle, his mother suffers a breakdown, and his father’s faith is challenged.

I loved the father’s explanation to his sons for the term, “the awful grace of God.” You need to read the book to understand. You need to read the book because it’s wonderful.

(I was given this book as an ARC by Simon and Schuster with no strings attached.)


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