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Stranger in the Kingdom
Howard Frank Mosher
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Stranger in the Kingdom

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  620 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Mosher's deeply engrossing story tells of a community torn apart by fear and prejudice, told from the point of view of a sensitive young boy.
Hardcover, 421 pages
Published September 23rd 1989 by DoubleDay (first published 1989)
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I picked this up to read for an upcoming book group discussion and was blown away. It's more than 20 years old but this book is an absolute classic. I don't give many 5 star ratings but Mosher's book was fabulous. I'd never read anything by him and just loved his voice; it felt like I was sitting down with a favorite uncle or grandfather who was relaying the story. The story takes place in the early 1950s in northern Vermont. A small town community hires a preacher after interviewing him by phon ...more
This was the 1st book I've read by this author and I will definitely read more of his books. He is really a superb writer. I feel like his characters were actually people I've known or met in my life. You can tell that he's no "stranger" to Vermont because he describes it in ways you couldn't unless you had an up-close and personal relationship. The story is based on a "stranger" arriving in Kingdom County, Vt. in 1952 ----- a new minister, who is black, in a very "white" small town near the Can ...more
Kingdom County, Vermont, 1952, is its own world. Jim Kinneson is just turning 13 and big changes come to his life when a black minister and his son come to town. They are the only black people to live in the Kingdom in decades and they are treated with racism by some but generally accepted. However, when a troubled young girl who had been staying with the minister is found murdered, the minister is arrested and charged. Jim's brother, Charlie, takes the case of defending the minister but has a r ...more
This is a terrific read. Frank Mosher comes from the Northeast part of Vermont known as the northeast kingdom. the setting for the book is a small town there. He writes in a style all his own, and it truly captures the spirit and "culture" of this special place. The story is about a black minister who arrives in town with his 16-year-old son. The son befriends the son of the local newspaper editor. The story is told through the eyes of this editor's son. Much of the story captures the quirkyness ...more
Leslie Goldfarb
Written as a memoir, this is a nostalgic story of life in the insular, traditional "Kingdom" of rural Vermont, which is challenged by a stranger of another race. It highlights how race relations can divide and upset the most stable of communities. Well written, easy read.
My book club read this moving story by Howard Mosher and everyone agreed (which never happens) that we loved his writing and enjoyed the pace of the book: Mosher allows the reader to live in the Kingdom awhile before the real trouble starts. While the events of the fateful summer of 1952 are viewed through the eyes of a young boy, Mosher's first-person narrator tells the story as a grown man, with the benefit of thirty-five years in which to process the events. This device is also used, to great ...more
Carl Williams

A perennial re-read for me--this time because the 9th graders are reading it this fall. Mosher is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of my favorites of his novels. Similar themes as To Kill a Mockingbird. He catches for me the diversity of country life that is just below the surface of things, not just in Vermont where it takes place, but in rural life all over America. This novel--about family and about race and about prejudices of all sorts,and about what is right-- really echos for m
Being a Vermonter, I picked this book up simply because it was by a Vermont author and the story takes place in Vermont. Although it's set in the 1950's, I found it interesting (and sad) how little things have changed in the last 60 years in some towns here in Vermont. A good story with some mystery mixed in and overall a good read.
Marvin Smith
Really liked this book. Found it hard to put down at times. The author does an excellent job of portraying a Northeast Kingdom Vermont town. Some times I can see it, because I've been there. Though it is fiction, he knows his territory. A very food read.

This is a book I found on Bookbub. It looked interesting in some ways — but in others I had reservations. Frequently when I struggle to make a decision about reading a book, I find that I fall in love with it. It is usually the books I know I want to read and pick them up without much thought that give me trouble. This one, unfortunately, was an exception. I struggled with this one right from the first, but kept reading hoping it would get better. Most of the reviews I have read on this one were ...more
I loved this book - a great literary read! This book can be easily divided into halves. It is written in 1st person by a grown man, Jim Kinneson, who describes his life growing up in the small rural town of Kingdom County, Vermont. The 1st half details the founding and history of the town, it's quirky inhabitants, nostalgia and reminiscences from his childhood, and the preparation for the drama in the 2nd half. The 2nd half takes place specifically in 1952 when he is 13 years old and involves mu ...more
I would give the first half of this book two stars and the second half four stars... which is why overall I ended up rating it a 3.

If you follow my reviews at all you know that I hate stupid character names and this one is chock full. I get it: you live in some backwater Vermont town in the 50's. Do you have to have characters named Resolved, Welcome, Pliny, and so on and so forth until I want to hurl it out the window? The first half was basically and introduction to all of these characters and
A 1950's small town in the northern most corner of Vermont experiences the savage murder of a young French Canadian girl. As the story unfolds the residents of the town are portrayed in all of their quirky or heroic behavior as the crime is committed and the accused is tried. The story has been compared to "To Kill a Mockingbird" and although similar it's nowhere near the caliber of that great book. An interesting novel though and worth reading.
Gary Sedivy
Absolutely fabulous book! The account of the summer and fall of 1952 in a small northern Vermont village. A new minister comes to town, but not everyone is pleased.
The writing is excellent, the characters well-developed and believable. This the best book I have gotten through the BookBub site. It is the best non-fiction I've read this year.
Just a beautiful well written book about small town life in Vermont. You just have to flow along with the story as it develops at a leisurely pace, as life tended to do a few years back. You can tell Mr. Mosher hails from that part of the country and he describes it with heart. A great book club read.
Kim Hammond-beyer
Loved it!

you can see the characters and environment and events so clearly that it was like being there. well written and descriptive of a challenging time in a small isolated northeastern town in the early 50's. definitely worth reading. would make a great movie too. family, religion, racism, independence, ethics, kindness, hate. interesting engrossing story.
Really enjoyed this story set in the 1950s in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont, a real place up on the border with Canada. A new preacher comes to town; he's been hired over the phone, and when he turns out to be a black man there's a buzz all through the town. For some, it's a shock and an adjustment and for others it's nothing to remark on. But when a young girl comes to town as a mail-order bride, his kindness toward her sets events in motion that lead to a murder trial in which he's accused ...more
This book is about a murder in a small town in the high north of Vermont. The only problem is the murder, and majority of the story, don't take place until halfway through the book.

If you can make it through the rather dull first half, the second half is certainly worth reading.
Marianne Wells
This is a great story, wonderfully written. I did find the play by play baseball narrative a bit dull, but was able to skip over it. Anyone who loves baseball would find it enjoyable.
Absolutely a wonderful book. Some may find it a little slow, but the writing is superb. I hated to finish the book. I enjoyed the book immensely.
As others have stated, the book gets off to a slow start. For me the pace picked up dramatically after the first fifty percent. The pacing is slower at the beginning of the book as the author sets the tone by allowing the reader ample time to become acquainted with the book's time period and setting while also thoroughly developing the main characters. Set in rural northern Vermont in the 1950s, families, friends and strangers become embroiled in a brutal murder trial. A GREAT book for discussio ...more
One of Mosher's very best, a rare book that I just couldn't put down.
Patsy Bishop
Good book about civil liberties in a small town, mixed with a crime.
Brooke Nadzam
I finally finished! I really loved this book, but my life kept getting in the way of really loosing myself in it. Or, rather, my need for sleep kept getting in the way. That said, I was looking for a one year replacement for To Kill a Mockingbird--my favorite!!!--and this was the recommendation for a possibility. A lot of the same themes come up, and i think that the kids will like all of the Vermont references. And the girly show. They'll like that, too. One of my favorite things? That narrator ...more
3.5 stars. This book had some very well written depictions of small town life. The town reminds me of my childhood setting. But I feel that the plot was too predictable and was let down a bit by its transparency. A tip to readers: do not read the back of the book or the book summary. They are not accurate and contain spoilers. :)
Though aimed at an adult audience, this book reads very much like a children's book. Perhaps this is because the narrator is a 13-year old boy, but I think it takes away from the book's effectiveness. Most characters are well-described, though some, especially the minister, seem excessively two-dimensional, and the flavour of Northeast Vermont is genuinely evoked, but it nonetheless seems some of the hard issues surrounding prejudice are needlessly avoided.
Marcia Forecki
I loved the language of this book, and the vivid portrayal of Vermont. I've added the exclamation, "Mister Baby Johnson!" to my lexicon. Love saying it. I intend to read much more by Mr. Mosher. How exciting to find a new author who draws me into his literary world - as good as finding a new friend. A Stranger in the Kingdom
Amazing characters and story. One cannot avoid noticing the resemblance with "To Kill a Mockingbird" which is one of my favourite books ever.
Howard Frank Mosher is truly a great writer. He makes you feel as if you're actually in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont during the 1950s. When I was reading the account of the trial, I was completely rivoted and felt as thought I was sitting in the courtroom. This is the second book I've read by Mosher and I am definitely ready to read more by him.
I truly enjoyed the story, especially the descriptions of rural Vermont and the history of the Kinneson family. However, it smacked of Harper Lee for a good portion of the book. Serious fathers, family lawyers, ancestral was just a bit too familiar in parts. That said, it was a good read and really enjoyable.
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Howard Frank Mosher is the author of ten novels and two memoirs. Four of his novels have been made into feature films including, most recently, Northern Borders, starring Bruce Dern. Howard and his wife of 50 years, Phillis, have lived in Vermont’s fabled Northeast Kingdom since 1964. His fiction, set in the world of “Kingdom County,” chronicles the intertwining family histories of the natives, w ...more
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“whatever temptations he may have felt. Besides, he had a much more normal social life than you might think. I wasn’t going to mention this, but he once told me he had a close woman friend in Montreal, a teacher at McGill University.” “Well, he can’t have seen her very often since coming here.” “What is it you’re saying? There’s some sort of new evidence that he got the girl pregnant?” “No, not really. I don’t know. I don’t want to get into it just yet. I just want to be prepared to show in court that even if he did succumb to the temptation, he didn’t necessarily kill her.” “Didn’t necessarily kill her! I can’t and won’t believe that there’s a shred of truth to these trumped-up charges.” “Neither can I, sweetheart,” Mom told Charlie. Charlie stood up. “Who wants to go for a dip? We aren’t going to have many more warm nights, or days either, for swimming.” “Fall’s coming and that’s a fact,” Dad said. “The swamp maples along the river between here and the Common are already starting to turn red.” “I think fall’s my very favorite season,” Mom said in a musing voice. Charlie laughed. “You say that about every season. ‘Spring’s my favorite, summer’s my favorite, fall’s my very favorite season!” 1 likes
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