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Ordinary Grace

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  67,058 ratings  ·  8,637 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 magaz
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Atria Books (first published 2013)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  67,058 ratings  ·  8,637 reviews

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Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel bad for the next book I plan to read, because Ordinary Grace is a very hard act to follow.

This book is very different from the author’s Cork O’Connor mystery series. Mr. Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace from his heart. He has said that writing it was easier than any other novel he has written before, and he feels it is the best piece of writing he has ever done. This is the fourth book in the last year and a half that made me cry, and the second that was written by William Kent Kr
James Thane
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 com/>Ordinary
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. It stirred so many emotions within me, and for that I have to give it 5 stars. It is a wonderful coming-of-age story, complete with a small-town atmosphere and a mystery surrounding the quiet, unassuming community of New Bremen, Minnesota. We are told on the very first page that “It was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms.” But, this book is about much more than just the mystery; it is a story about friendship, brotherhood, family dynamics and bonds, death, fa ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a quote in the book where it talks about the “awful Grace of God”.

The meaning of ‘awful’ as an adjective:
1. extremely bad; unpleasant; disagreeable.
2. inspiring fear; terrible: an awful noise.
3. solemnly impressive: the awful majesty of the peaks.
4. extremely dangerous, risky, injurious, etc.: an awful fall; to take an awful chance.
5. Informal. very great: an awful lot of money.
6. full of awe; reverential.

What I find sad is that we almost always hear the word in
A quiet novel that unfurls its sad story slowly, but eloquently, leaving its mark on your heart.

Found this book on Goodreads, thanks to my friends here! It's truly a beautiful melancholic story about a boy growing up, the grief of a family tragedy, the love and the unbreakable bonds of a family, the strong bond of young brothers... beautifully written, the book radiates a 'quiet beauty'. Reminded me of The Round House (Louise Erdrich). Dark and warm at the same time. About the Ordinary Grace o
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
4.5 stars

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, is a beautifully written hard to put down novel full of twists and turns. William Kent Krueger is mostly know for his multiple-award-winning Cork O'Connor series. Ordinary Grace is a stand alone novel and is the Winner of the 2014 EDGAR Award for Best Novel, a Winner of the 2014 DILYS Award and was A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013.

This book is narrated by Frank Drum, 40 years after a fateful summer when he was thirteen years
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
***New book by this author coming out in Fall 2019, titled "This Tender Land" you will want to watch for this one :) ***

I listened to this book on audio, it was a book club book and I hadn't been familiar with it at all.

This is a beautifully written book with gorgeous prose and very in depth character development. It really made me feel as if I were in a small town in Minnesota in the 1961. I live in Wisconsin and have been in numerous small towns in the north woods area
Kevin Ansbro
I was convinced to read this gentle coming-of-age story by an inundation of five-star reviews posted by wonderful Goodreads friends.
I would like the aforementioned friends to remain as such, so I'll get my main gripe out of the way and then move onto the good bits. : )

Repetition of the word 'and':
>Thin and angry and blind and lost and shut up behind<
>trustworthy and loyal and thrifty and brave and clean and reverent<
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 4000-books
I am currently making my way through this author's Cork O'Connor series and enjoying them very much. So it was an easy step for me to pick up this stand alone novel and give it a try. So pleased I did because this is a beautiful book.

I love the easy, gentle characters that Krueger brings to his books. He seems to have an affinity with people who think deeply and people who care, but he can still portray the evil and the unkind when he needs to. I so enjoyed the many times in the stor
Paula Kalin
A Brilliant coming-of-age story set in Minnesota in the 1960s. Ordinary Grace is a story of family and community, tragedy and secrets, compassion and forgiveness. A wonderful story of life experiences written in beautiful prose. Most enjoyable is that it's told from the narrator's perspective 40 years later.

A must read.
5 out of 5 stars.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-us
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is set in New Bremen, Minnesota and spans the long hot summer of 1961.
We are guided through this dramatic and turbulent time by Frank Drum, the son the the town’s Methodist minister. Small town life is lovingly and poetically described and this coming of age tale is packed with incident and contains a central, well crafted mystery.
‘ .......... it was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms. Accidental. Nature. Suicide. murder......
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5.0 STARS!

Warning: Reader discretion is advised. This book contains sweet, sirenically addictive prose that can warm your heart, flood your eyes with tears and induce a deeply meditative state in which the reader ignores time and place to ponder nostalgically the enchanting, soothing, carefree days of youth. Various psychiatric studies have determined that literature of this nature can result in higher levels of affective empathy, compassion, understanding, emotional perception, prosocial behavior and a
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, bittersweet and poignant coming of age novel. Beautifully written with wonderful thoughts on loss, forgiveness and the "awful grace of God".

Update - I'm re-reading this for a book club. I had borrowed a kindle edition the first time I rad this and was able to highlight passages. Now my library is using Axis360 which does not allow for highlighting. So, I've been jotting down passages I wanted to remember. Come to find out, all the passages I'm writing down are the same as
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ordinary Grace was an extraordinary read. It is set in the deep heat of the summer in 1961, in a small town of New Bremen, Minnesota where the story takes place for Frank and his family. It's a summer of death and darkness but also one of miracles and love. This is a story of relationships, of heartache and heartbreak. It is also about what happens when a family is pulled apart and is healed through the 'awful grace of God'. What an understated read with so many powerful messages. 5 stars.
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A beautifully told story of a family living in New Bremen during 1961 experiencing some good times along with heartaches that somehow appear unexpectedly on the door step of most individuals. Told from the perspective of a young boy Frank Drum, 13 years old, who has much on his shoulders as he strives to do the right thing, but not always succeeding. Frank loves many things in his life including his younger brother Jake who stutters most of time and he tries his best to protect him from the bull ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
1961 was a great year - this book was based on that year, that's why is 1961 great. Recommended by a Goodreads friend, Ordinary Grace is like the roots of a tree, silently and solely burying in the soil to find treasure. Like the leaves stretching out to find the golden sun's rays.

I've gotten a bit tired of the murder victim in my book be a girl. I'm a bit over-saturated on that count. I only hope that this fact didn't deaden my sensitivity to this story, and I believe it didn't. May
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 Frank
Probably more 3.5 stars.

This was a lovely book. I think many people will love it very much. I have my effervescent Goodreads friend Christine to thank for guiding me to this one, we both decided to read a book that both of us have loved, and it just happened to fit in at the same time for each of us. This was a brilliant idea, I’d recommend it.

My peculiar quirks do not suit all genres, I have learnt only just today. A book that is to be savoured and really pleasantly enjoyed and mea
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I woke up in the middle of the night a week after finishing this story with a single word. I didn't write it down and try as I may, I can't quite get it back. Nonetheless, it is a good book that picks at your brain as you sleep. Having read my friends' reviews already, I feel there is little I can add and for that reason I will keep my review very brief.

This is a gorgeous story of discovery, both tangible and intangible, told in a languid manner that is reminiscent of the days that i
Stephanie Nicholas
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I implore all of you to read this book! It is heartbreakingly mesmerizing in it's writing, not a word is poorly chosen or out of place. William Kent Krueger writes of a young boy, Frank, and his family as they ride the waves of love, loss, accidents, death and mercy in a little town in the Midwest.

Frank narrates the story forty years after the occurrence of the death of his sister, and how the events leading up to, and after her death shaped the lives of his younger brother, Jake, and himself.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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 seri
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
I FULLY enjoyed this glorious reading experience!!!

Frank's narration captures this entire page-turning-mystery-novel profoundly intimate.


I loved it -- I loved it -- I loved it!!
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it

The narrator of this story is Frank Drum, a 13-year-old boy who lives in a small Minnesota town with his family: younger brother Jake, who has a severe stutter; older sister Ariel, a talented musician destined for Julliard; father Nathan, an earnest Methodist pastor; and mother Ruth, choir director and superb singer who thought she was marrying a future lawyer and is not happy with her husband's vocation. The Drums are an average family with loving parents and nice children who behave as typical
Andrew Smith
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels like I’m the last person on Goodreads to get to this book! There are thousands of reviews on this site, so I’ll limit my comments to my views on my experience of listening to the audiobook, which was superbly read by Rich Orlow.

The first thing I’d say is that it started really slowly and for quite a while I really didn’t think I’d like it. In fact, I’d rate the first section of this book only 3 stars. My second observation is that by the midway point I was convinced I’d work
Yay! 5 stars! I was drawn into this story right away and my feelings never changed. It is a wonderful, but sad, coming of age story narrated 40 or so years after the events take place. I especially liked the character of Gus. I felt right there in the town of New Bremen, MN with everyone. Here are some some memorable lines:

"How could I possibly explain my silence, my complicity in his escape, things I really didn't understand myself? My heart had simply directed me in a way that my head couldn'
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
As I sat down to write my feelings about this book I had to ask myself "What do I want from you, the reader"? The answer: I'd like you to read this book and yet I wonder if I'm going to entice you.

Can an experienced, older narrator view the past with more wisdom than he might have possessed forty years earlier the summer he was thirteen? Ordinary Grace and another book I recently read Last Summer of the Camperdowns both study long ago events in childhood from the adult perspective. The latter is ver
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that is best appreciated in its totality and in the ripples it leaves behind. While this is a coming of age story told from the perspective of a middle aged man reaching an understanding of a summer that changed him, it is also a meditation on life, death and the ordinary moments in which we find the strength to go on ‘through the awful grace of God.’

Kreuger’s attention to detail, his characterization of small town life and its inhabitants and his subtle,
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my Jesus, what a wonderful book!! I have just finished it and still can not put together clear thoughts regarding the emotions touched during this reading....
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961, Frank Drum is a 13-year-old boy, now as an adult, he will tell us firsthand, the life of his family and about many other inhabitants of that town affected by events and sorrows that will change the fate and life of many of them...
In many aspects, during the reading, I was reminded of the typical atmospheres and dynamics that come t
A classic coming of age tale with well-drawn characters and wonderful sense of place for the setting of rural Minnesota in the early 60s. Frank recounts a fateful summer at age 16, when a set of deaths befell their small town and his family, and he stepped up to the plate to assume risks like a man in order to elucidate causes and seek justice. (To avoid spoilers don’t read the book blurb). His father is a Methodist minister and a pillar of the community, but Frank is more like his mother in not ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end!!! Loved the preacher, his family, and his friend Gus. Loved the relationship between the brothers of this family.
I was kept wondering throughout what the ending would be....very good...
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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
“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.” 175 likes
“The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.” 86 likes
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