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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 (505 )
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4.2 (453 )
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4.4 (458 )
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3 star
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  •  
    Ronna United States 04-10-13
    Ronna United States 04-10-13 Member Since 2011
    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!!

    31 of 33 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.

    28 of 32 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 Highland, CA, United States 05-21-13
    Linda Highland, CA, United States 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.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-15-14
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-15-14 Member Since 2010

    MTF

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    "Disappointing mystery/coming-of-age story"

    I liked the idea of a 1960's coming-of-age story mixed with a mystery. The problem is that this novel did not succeed in either of those areas. Very little happened in the first half of the novel. References to Brillcream, Risk, and Gunsmoke were not enough to make that golden era of childhood come alive, and I am from that generation! The characters and world were not interesting enough for that to work without more plot. Frank is the 13 year-old protagonist, who lives with a younger brother who stutters (and gets bullied), an older sister, and his parents, a minister, and a mother unhappy being the wife of a minister. The big mystery occurs halfway through the novel, when a major character disappears. The story picked up at that point. It moved from a 2-star to a 3-star book then. A good reader helped, too. This novel felt like something I had read many times in the past. I might have liked it more had it seemed fresher to me. Ultimately, it did provide a pleasant way to pass the time, but not much more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Think about this IL, United States 01-12-14
    Think about this IL, United States 01-12-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    5 of 6 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
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-14-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-14-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautifully written....Wow"
    Any additional comments?

    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 changes our lives no matter how good or bad, small or large...... Some occurrences change us drastically over night, those life altering changes that none of us, fortunately/unfortunately, are immune too.  

    The author and narrator made this a wonderful listening experience. This was the first Krueger book I have listened to and it was a touching, rich, beautifully written story. Wonderful to see this story through the eyes  of a young man on the verge of manhood and all of the revelations that come along with that metamorphosis.

    Rich Orlow does a wonderful job with all the voices of a wide assortment of characters. His pace and timing are right on.  One of the better ones in my opinion and I will look for him in other works. 

    A great mystery. All things have their time:  birth, death and rebirth. 

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioAddict Austin, Texas, USA 07-06-14
    AudioAddict Austin, Texas, USA 07-06-14 Member Since 2013

    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
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