Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace by William Kent KruegerOrdinary Grace is narrated by the character of Frank Drum when he is an older man.  He reflects upon the summer of 1961, when he was 13 years old and growing up in the small Midwestern town of New Bremen, Minnesota.

Frank is the son of the town’s dutiful Methodist minister.  His mother, beautiful and talented, is still not completely resigned to having become a minister’s wife.  She had expected to be a lawyer’s wife, until Frank’s father was called to change careers. She resents the time he spends with his flock, but adapts by using her musical talents in the church and grooming Frank’s older sister for the type of musical career that she wishes she could have had.  Frank’s younger brother is wise beyond his years, but sensitive and beset by bullies because of his stutter. Frank himself is reaching towards adulthood, and realizing that some things are much different than they seem on the surface.

The idyllic setting and delicate balance of characters in Krueger’s book are pulled into crisis as several deaths occur in Bremen throughout the summer.  Some of the deaths only affect the Drum family in a distant and philosophical way, but others hit much closer to home. This is a coming of age story for Frank, who learns about caring, believing, tragedy, miracles and grace as the summer progresses.

Like most of Krueger’s other works, this is a mystery.  He is well known for his popular mystery series featuring detective Cork O’Connor.  But Ordinary Grace does not follow the traditional detective and clues format, and is a much more literary creation.

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