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
“Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Yes! Krueger is a master author, and the narration is unobtrusive and allows the story to go forward while maintaining interest.
The family, a pastor, his wife and three children live in the Heartland where each character develops and grows while facing larger spiritual questions. There is a traumatic loss that has a ripple effect throughout their small community. Each character in the family addressed larger issues (prejudice, assumptions, belief in or faith in God, ways to communicate) and each changes and grows in different ways. By the end, each character is further 'polished' and moves further toward individuation and understanding. There was a warm understanding of small towns and small town dynamics, an understanding of a bygone era where people would go to the drugstore for a rootbeer or phosphate (that was actually done back in the day!) and an 'aliveness' to the writing that sometimes made me feel I could feel the breeze rustling the curtains on a hot day.
Very good narrator who was 'unobtrusive' but told the story in an easy to listen to way.
Yes - though I couldn't. It was a reward at the end of each day - much appreciated.
This book was an extremely pleasant surprise for me. It is much in the same vein as "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "A Separate Peace." It is the telling of a middle aged man's look back to a pivotal summer of his childhood. The author has an assortment of colorful and very rich characters that seem to come alive in your mind. The narrator's performance was outstanding and he captured the spirit of the novel perfectly. The author mentions in an interview after the novel concludes that he thought the novel was meant to be read aloud. I agree. There are many audio books that don't translate well to the audio format. They seem a bit confusing and may not have illustrations, charts, or maps to help clarify the story as the printed books have. I totally agree with the author that this is a story that is meant to be told aloud as an oral history. The story does not have a lot of unnecessary detail that has the listener wondering when the author is ""going to get on with it". It may be a bit emotional or sentimental for some people, but I thought it was an outstanding effort overall and well worth your credit and your time.
This was an interesting and rewarding read. The preacher and his family were real people with the same problems as the rest of the world. The struggles of the boys reflected the issue we face either as children or adults. The question is what are you going to do with the consequences of your decisions.
I loved this coming of age story. Told in retrospect... A man recalls the tragic events of one summer of his boyhood that would forever alter the man he was to become. Not a fast paced book but a book to savor. Reminds me somewhat of "Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy... also one of my favorite books.
This is a book that was enhanced by the wonderful narrator. He did a superb job. At the end of the book, the author mentions that he thinks the book would be improved by being read aloud, and he is correct. The book is wonderfully written and the author evokes a time and place long gone in America. The characters are people I really cared for and the sorrow that comes to them in the story really moved me. I wished I could read a book just like it when it was finished.
For a book that has a thread of mystery that pulls you through the pages, the author didn't skimp on character development. It ticked all the boxes - gripping plot, solid character development, distinct voices, a tangible setting. I also enjoyed that it took place in a preacher's home - and the dimension that added to it.
This book reminded me of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" and "Chiefs" - not only because it was set in the recent past, but also because the mystery was supported by well developed characters.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I had high hopes for this story based on the positive and generally affectionate reviews from the author’s loyal fans. I was therefore disappointed that in my opinion, the story, while generally good, had some execution flaws that brought it down. The narrative is saturated with similies and metaphors, many of them repeated more than once, that were distracting in their lack of imagination. The dialogue felt self-conscious and stilted, leaning way too often into golly gee “Leave it to Beaver” territory. An editor needed to help delete a few scenes that added nothing to either plot progression or character development (a marriage counseling session for instance). And the narration, while not the fault of the author, was only adequate, especially in the interpretation of the dialogue – generally failing to communicate genuine emotions of the characters.
Regarding the plot, as I said, it was generally good, and I did develop affection for some of the characters, especially Gus, Jake and Dad. There were a couple of characters who seemed to be written as though they had greater impact on the story but then kind of fizzled out red herring style. I figured out the solution very quickly and was impatient with the wrap up. I give it about a 2.5, so I’ll round up to 3 stars, and probably won’t be looking for more from this author.
...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.'
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.
"Far from an Ordinary Thriller"
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.
The over-whelming impact on the Drum family of the various incidents that unfold. Tremendous writing.
Sensitively read and nothing 'over the top' which would have ruined the delicate balance of this novel
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.
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.
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