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Ordinary Grace | [William Kent Krueger]

Ordinary Grace

Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.

©2013 William Kent Krueger (P)2013 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

“Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (673 )
5 star
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4.2 (596 )
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4.4 (598 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ronna 04-10-13
    Ronna 04-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "best book to come along this year!!"

    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 trestles on the "awful grace of God".
    Our 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 while playing on the train tracks. Frank , and his stuttering younger brother, speculate about this tragedy. Their father is the town's Methodist minister, and folks look to him to answer the preverbal question of "Why would God let this happen?".

    But that was just the beginning of this momentous summer for Frank, his family, and this small town. There will be three more deaths. An itinerant man is found amongst the weeds, there is a suicide, and finally a murder. Everyone in the town is affected by these tragedies in some way---bringing out the best and the worst in people.

    Kruger's writing is filled with wonderful descriptive phrases. His characters will touch your heart in ways that will be difficult to put away after you've finished this book. His specific and thoughtful discussions of God's grace as seen through Frank's eyes will keep you wondering about your own faith. Simply a five, no five times five star read. This book has something for every reader to enjoy!!

    33 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 03-29-13
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way"

    This book is beautiful. Just brilliant. It's a mystery that takes place in Minnesota in 1961 with classic literature; very reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. So much so that I found myself listening to this story in black and white.


    A beautiful tale with a 'morals in an immoral world' theme. One of the main characters is a wonderful peaceful father who has to guide his children through the animalistic ways of mankind. The family in this book are that of the town's minister's which lends itself to discussions of religion.


    Once started I was completely immersed in each member of this family and all the people that they come in contact with. I plowed through this for I could NOT put this down. Just when I thought I saw a direction this was going - I found myself surprised.


    I have never read this author before. If you have, be very careful to read the synopsis carefully for this is a stand alone book. I would be thrilled if this would become a series book though.

    Rich Orlow is such an enhancement to this story by giving every character an identity. He does the voice of the deaf, women, men, children, Indians, aristocrats to perfection. What a talent.


    I will be looking for this author and narrator other works.

    31 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. North Minnesota 04-10-13
    B. North Minnesota 04-10-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Extrodinary Novel"

    This book works on many levels. It is a mystery story, you won't want to put it down. Most of all Ordinary Grace is an extraordinary work of fiction. It is a coming of age story with themes of family, sorrow, justice, resiliency, forgiveness, and perhaps most of all faith.

    If you like any one book of any one of the following authors I think you will like this book: John Irving, Kent Haruf, Leif Enger, Marilynne Robinson, David James Duncan.

    Also, I really appreciate when audible adds the author interview after the reading, this one was interesting.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 05-21-13
    Linda 05-21-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Very enjoyable!"

    I cannot find the words to express the contemplative quiet this novel invoked in me. As an atheist I usually do not care for themes of faith and especially preaching. This book discusses life's questions against the backdrop of a young man and his family dynamics. However, the story is nicely woven and stands on its own regardless of the deeper thoughts.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marianne CALIFON, NJ, United States 04-22-13
    Marianne CALIFON, NJ, United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Amazingly captivating and eye-opening."
    If you could sum up Ordinary Grace in three words, what would they be?

    Transformative, gracious and enlightened.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The stuttering younger brother with his down to earth honesty and sensibility.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The fathers sermon after the death of his daughter.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader did a magnificent job distinguishing the different characters and lending honesty to the description of people in distress and confusion without ever over dramatizing any one person or event. Well done.

    It was a pleasure to listen to.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioAddict 07-06-14
    AudioAddict 07-06-14

    I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More like an AMAZING Grace"

    STORY (historical fiction) - This story reminds me of the movie "Stand By Me." It is set in a small town in Minnesota in the early sixties and is told by Frank who, now grown, is looking back on one particular summer of his youth which was plagued with numerous tragedies. The book is very character-driven, and by the end you will know each character intimately. In small town USA everyone knows everyone's business and , when tragedies strikes, it affects the whole town. Ordinary Grace is about how this town deals with sadness and the mysteries surrounding that sadness. It is a coming-of-age story with elements of personal growth, faith, family, death, forgiveness......life.

    I might have rated the book a 5, but it was a little slow getting started, in my opinion. There are two very touching parts of the story, and it's hard to describe them without giving away part of the mystery. Hints: Nathan gives a very touching sermon after someone's death. The best part of the book is the "Ordinary Grace," which is more like an Amazing Grace.

    PERFORMANCE - The narrator is male. He had a pleasant voice and did a good job distinguishing between the different characters.

    OVERALL - Only mild references to sex and pregnancy, and I don't recall any foul language. The book stands on its own. The story is interesting and emotional, but it's not so intricate that you have to pay close attention for fear of missing something. Recommended for all mature listeners, male or female.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaybird Kouch Frontenac, mn United States 04-12-13
    Jaybird Kouch Frontenac, mn United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2008

    kiska doozer

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    "great listen & great story"

    Have loved all of William Kent Krueger's books. This one was no exception. The end is predictable but getting there was exquisite. It is a good lesson in keeping hope & faith while undergoing very difficult personal tragedy. Title choice was right on.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie-Jean Framingham, MA, United States 03-28-13
    Bonnie-Jean Framingham, MA, United States 03-28-13
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    "NOT a Cork O'Connor book..."
    Any additional comments?

    ...but a very good listen. This book reminds me very much of the movie 'Stand By Me.' It is a coming of age story of a 13 year old boy and his brother, told by his adult self. It took me a while to get past the idea that it wasn't a Cork O'Connor story and listen to it on its own merit. Once I was able to do that, I was fully enveloped in this poignant story of a young boy dealing with family and friends, and life and death in a small town in which he lived for several years. The rich characters and the relationships between them had me coming back to listen, even more than the mystery of who the killer was, which was definitely the secondary story line. If you liked 'Stand By Me' you'll love 'Ordinary Grace.'

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Think about this 01-12-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Tragic story, told beautifully"

    Rich Orlow does a wonderful job in his telling of this tragic summer in the life of a minister's family. Two boys become men, when too many deaths seem to be connected and when one strikes their own, secrets become unraveled and suspects abound. Frank tells the story of how his family copes, each in their own way, as he deals with having maybe made too many wrong choices putting peoples lives at risk.
    A tale of suspense, murder, growing up, humor, and love. For fans of Cork O'Conner, this story is sure to please, as Krueger works his magic of words, keeping interest until the very last page.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-10-14
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-10-14 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ordinary Grace is an Extraordinary Story"

    In some ways this is a "coming of age-coming to Jesus story"; but it is much more too. Circa 1961, a preacher's kid encounters personal losses and moral decisions that prove to be too much for a twelve year old boy.

    This is an enormously satisfying story of a family and community that is at once ordinary and yet very unusual. Discrimination against Native Americans and those handicapped is visceral and leads to behaviors and decisions that create enormous hurts. The mystery of three deaths, all on or near the river are central to the story.

    In the end, a young boy and his brother are faced with grave, all consuming decisions that will shape their lives forever.

    The narration is superb, the story engaging and awe-inspiring.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • c
    WALSALL, United Kingdom
    12/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Far from an Ordinary Thriller"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would happily recommend this novel. It's extremely well written with good quality characterisations that hold your interest and really make you care about what happens to each of them.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ordinary Grace?

    The over-whelming impact on the Drum family of the various incidents that unfold. Tremendous writing.


    What about Rich Orlow’s performance did you like?

    Sensitively read and nothing 'over the top' which would have ruined the delicate balance of this novel


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The burden put onto the father of the Drum family. I'm not a believer in the religious sense and at times it could have been so easy to feel an edge of impatience taking over, but it's so well written that finally I just couldn't fail to be moved by his stoicism.


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this novel. The descriptive passages devoted to both the locations, era and characters made it a memorable experience. There are no particularly gripping moments or shocking revelations here but taken as a 'whole' this is a murder mystery that will not fail to grip you and will stay with you long after you've finished it. For me, that's the test of a good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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