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Ordinary Grace

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  10,203 ratings  ·  1,987 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Atria Books
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James Thane
At the beginning of the summer of 1961, Frank Drum is thirteen years old and living in the small community of New Bremen, Minnesota. It's a summer that will change his life forever, and his story, told from Frank's perspective forty years later, will resonate with readers for a very long time.

Ordinary Grace is a stand-alone from William Kent Krueger, an author best known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series. But this is not a crime novel in the traditional sense, although a number of crimes are
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 21, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of small town drama and coming of age stories
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Most of my friends
When the majority of your friends love a book that you didn't do you find yourself second guessing? Searching for that magic that everyone else felt and you missed? I won’t bore you by analyzing this to death (view spoiler) Worth reading and a solid 3 stars, ordinary rather than extraordinary.

Circa 1960’s told through the eyes of 13 yr old Frank Drum a series of deaths disrupt the lives of everyone
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Dem


Ordinary Grace, a novel by William Kent Krueger is a beautiful and engaging novel and it certainly worked its magic on me. This is a short novel and it certainly proves good goods comes in small parcels.

Set in New Bremen, Minnesota in 1961. It was a time of innocence a hope for a country with a new young president. But for a thirteen year old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident, nature, suicide and murder. Told from Franks perspectiv
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Trudi

A couple of things brought me to this book:

1) A stellar review from trusted GR friend James.

2) Its recent Edgar Award for Best Novel.

3) Last but not least, the author's blog post entitled: God Bless Librarians. In case you didn't know, flattery will get you everywhere, and it just might make me read your book (joking! I'm really not that shallow or vain, I promise; I just thought it was a nice post).

This is a beautiful book that hits a lot of my kinks: small towns, seeecrets, family drama, and c
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Rex Fuller
This feels like part memoir and part meditation and hardly at all like a novel. Although so far as I know the author does not say so anywhere, the sense that what happens is deeply personal runs through every page. Just over the first fifty percent of it brings you to affection for the characters and solving the murder of one of them occupies the remainder. Even though it works very well as a mystery, reading it only that way misses the mark. It is much more the study of faith and hope in the fa ...more
Jenna  *Puddin Tame*
3.5 Stars

I don't like so much when I am in the minority of rating a book, but I suppose that I am this time. Ordinary Grace is a coming of age book about a twelve-year-old boy named Frank who's curiosity for life and the happenings around him exposes the nastiness in the world to him a little too soon.

Because I just made a big move and have had my head in boxes for the past two weeks, I unfortunately have not been able to enjoy reading a book as I usually do. Due to these circumstances, I bought
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Connie
This was a book that I greatly anticipated and I was not dissappointed. The setting is a small town where doors were left unlocked, children walked to town, gossip travelled quickly, families ate dinner together and attended church on Sundays and kept their secrets secret. Much like the towns we grew up in or grew up watching on television.

Narrated by young Frank Drum, the summer of 1961 sees his idyllic life and family change. Much of this is told in hindsight but Frank realizes even at the t
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Cathy DuPont
Sep 16, 2014 Cathy DuPont rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who want a great story
I've been waiting a couple of months for this book from the library. It won the 2014 best novel award from the Mystery Writers of America. (That's like like winning the Oscar for a motion picture. Really, some people don't know about MWA, really.)

I read the first book of author William Kent Krueger's Cork McConnell's mystery series and was not very impressed with the storyline. But I did enjoy Krueger's writing it flowed so easily. So I wasn't hesitant to begin reading this one, his first stand
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Lou
"There was a playwright, Son, a Greek by the name of Aeschylus. He wrote that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

The father was a pillar of respectfulness, a preacher, the mother sung in the choir and had a beauty and grace.
Ariel the eldest child of the family was a compassionate and kind hearted woman.
The two young brothers of th
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Harry


The first person comes with a twist; the narrator tells it from the perspective of a more mature man recounting his boyhood. It is told in 2001, 40 years after the events that occur in the novel. This is actually brilliant because now Krueger can apply more sophisticated thinking and logic to what amounts to a 13 year old: the first person narrator. Also, now Krueger can jump between characters and settings; leave, momentarily, the first person and recount what he knows of historically. This tec
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Jessica
I tell you, I am a sucker for these loss-of-innocence sorts of coming-of-age stories. A kid in another time goes through a traumatic event that forces him or her to grow up way too fast, and I just melt all over the page. I dunno why, I guess it's just so ripe for emotional honesty and heart string-tugging.

So that's what drew me to this book, set in small-town Minnesota during the summer of 1961. Twelve year-old Frank is the son of a Methodist minister in the town, along with his stuttering you
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Ronna
After a series of great murder mysteries, staring Cork O'Conner, Kruger has come up with a genius of a stand alone coming of age, murder mystery, and trestes on the "awful grace of God".
One of the best books that I've ever read.

Frank is telling his story some forty years after the actual events that took place during his thirteenth year. In 1961, small town Minnesota, the summer is hot, the people know everything about everyone, and life is good. But this all changes when a young boy is killed
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Ron Hummer
The narrator is Frank Drum, who is reflecting back on the year 1961 when tragedy struck his hometown and family. Learning how to deal with several deaths when he was 13 years old was difficult, especially when one of them was his sister, who was murdered.
Taking place in New Bremen, Minnesota, Frank and his family become ripped apart by these deaths, creating quite a conflict since Frank’s father is a minister. A lot of questions are raised regarding the death of Ariel and there are a variety
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☮Karen
What a special treat to win and read this wonderful book from goodreads First Reads!! Loss of innocence, coming of age stories always seem to simultaneously break my heart and strengthen my belief in human kindness. Ordinary Grace has at its heart a typical middle class Minnesota family in the early 60’s. The father fought in the war, which changed him from a man who wanted to do battle in a courtroom as an attorney, to a man who wanted to provide guidance as a minister. In this summer when two ...more
Ruth Turner

I'm usually a fast reader and often start and finish a book the same day. Ordinary Grace was different.

Some readers commented that it was a little slow, and I have to agree. But for me it suited the telling of the story of small town New Bremen during the long, hot, lazy days of the summer of 1961, and the tragic events that took place there.

A great story, wonderful characters and well written. I felt like I was sitting on a front porch, on another hot, summer day, drinking lemonade, swatting f
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Britany
Small town, Minnesota. Summer of 1961. Boy discovers there’s a lot more to life than a dark curtain.

Frank Drum is a 13 year old boy whose whole life changes this summer. He takes us back to this time and illustrates a story, while riddled with deaths, depression, and secrets he manages to figure out that by the awful grace of God, you can choose to live again. You don't have to allow tragedy to take over the rest of your life.

This book hit me in a couple of different areas. I lost my grandmothe
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Susan
A triple mystery and a tragedy that surround a Minnesota family in 1961. A Methodist minister, a Mother who does her best to give her children every opportunity, a beautiful young Daughter getting ready to set off on her own and two young Brothers who are best buddies and full of angst. They live in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business and the mysterious death of a young boy sets all in motion.

This story is a mind provoking reminder of how everything that happens shapes and cha
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Susan Johnson
I received this book from Bookreporter.com in exchange for an unbiased review.

There are some books that are so exquisitely wonderful that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You literally can not do anything besides read it. This is one of those books. I am so hesitant to reveal too much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. None of my words would compare to the author's but I will give a small recap.

Frank Drum is a 13 year old boy in a small town in a small Minnesota town in
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Mary Ronan Drew
Every once in a while a book comes along that speaks to a reader as if it were written just for her. This doesn't mean it's not appealing to many other readers - and in the case of William Kent Krueger's Ordinary Grace I expect that so many readers will find the book appealing it might make it to the best seller lists.** But for me its message of mercy and forgiveness, its offer of ordinary miracles, ordinary grace, is so vivid, so riveting, that it has gone immediately to my personal "best" lis ...more
Lynn
It's the summer of 1961, a small town in Minnesota. Ordinary people in an ordinary time -- an innocent time when boys can walk home in the dark without fear. There's a bully. The town drunk. Young lovers.

And there's a young child named Bobby Cole who is dead - hit by a train as he sat on the railroad tracks. The police are asking questions. They ask Frank Drum, the narrator who is 13, and his brother, Jake, 11, "You play on the tracks?" Frank's answer is the first of many lies that summer, "No."
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Jacki Leach
Although I'm a big fan of William Kent Krueger's 'Cork O'Connor' mystery series, his new novel, Ordinary Grace, has shown us this talented author's other side.

At once heartbreaking, and then sometimes amusing, this quiet story is written in such a simple style. And simple, in this case, is extremely powerful. Narrated by the teen protaganist, Frank Drum, the story centers around the death of three people and the courage of Frank and his younger brother, Jake, in finding out just who killed the v
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Paul Pessolano
“Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger, published by Atria Books.

Category – Mystery/Fiction/Literature

If you are a reader of the mysteries of William Kent Krueger this is a no brainer, just buy it and devour it in a day. If you have not read any of his books, Krueger’s stories are situated in Minnesota and have a strong American Indian theme to them.

In “Ordinary Grace” Krueger moves more to Fiction/Literature than to mystery, although there is a great mystery involved in the novel. The story t
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Diane S.
I have been a big fan of Kruegar's, Cork O'Connor novels for years, yet in this, his first stand alone he has surpassed himself. The narrator is a 13 year old boy, living in a small town in Minnesota. The book set in 1961 has all the innocent charm, TV dinners, watching family shows on the television, a barber shop that has magazines and where all the men go to talk about things. All this innocence is contrasted with the deaths that are plaguing the town, deaths that will cause our young narrato ...more
Beth
This coming-of-age mystery reminded me a lot of A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I also gave 5 stars to. In it, two young brothers (and the readers along with them) learn valuable and life-changing lessons about death and life, anger and forgiveness, and that everything is not as it seems. As always, William Kent Krueger's prose is beautiful and lyrical and a joy to read.
Lori
Ordinary Grace is the most aptly named novel I've read... a simple title for a remarkably powerful story. This reminded me a great deal of the film Stand By Me... truly a wonderful message of faith and forgiveness! 4.5 stars!
Elizabeth of Silver's 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 troub
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Trish
“It seemed to me a good day to be dead and by that I mean that if the dead cared no more about the worries they’d shouldered in life and could lie back and enjoy the best of what God had created it was a day for exactly such. The air was warm and still and the grass of the cemetery…was soft green and the river…reflected the sky [like] a long ribbon of blue silk…”

The thirteen-year-old narrator of William Kent Krueger’s new mystery juxtaposes death and bucolic beauty, but we know the dead can’t se
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Linda
What a pleasure it's been during the past two days, immersing myself in the small town of New Bremen, MN, and the events of the summer of 1961. Life there for several of the families was rife with death, suspicion and sadness, but also with moments of happiness, faith and love. William Kent Kruger did a wonderful job balancing all of it in such a way that I enjoyed every minute of the journey, especially as seen through the eyes of young (and wise) Frank Drum, son, brother and friend to the cent ...more
Wendy T
I have to say I absolutely loved this book. I loved the mystery behind this book and was totally shocked by how this book ended.
Julie
It always strikes me as odd when readers congratulate themselves on "figuring" out the whodunit before the book's end and fault the writer for not making it more difficult. Perhaps for the write-by-numbers segment of the genre, the big reveal is important. That's not my style of read. Regardless of my deductive abilities, I'm far more interested in how the characters arrive at their understanding of events and how they interact with and react to their world. The tension and suspense are found in ...more
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Mystery/Thriller ...: * Ordinary Grace Initial comments - no spoilers 7 12 Dec 25, 2014 07:04AM  
Did Krueger write this book? 12 172 Dec 19, 2014 01:29PM  
Laurie R. King Vi...: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - VBC Nov 2014 37 51 Nov 26, 2014 08:37AM  
Salt Lake County ...: Ordinary Grace 11 40 Nov 14, 2014 07:53PM  
Lake Wales Public...: 2014 Edgar Awards 1 7 Oct 28, 2014 10:51AM  
Salt Lake County ...: Win a free copy of Ordinary Grace! 15 44 Oct 09, 2014 05:45PM  
MINNESOTA 18 81 Sep 13, 2014 04:14PM  
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Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for ...more
More about William Kent Krueger...
Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor, #1) Boundary Waters (Cork O'Connor, #2) Purgatory Ridge (Cork O'Connor, #3) Thunder Bay (Cork O'Connor, #7) Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor, #4)

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“The dead are never far from us. They're in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air.” 49 likes
“The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.” 15 likes
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