Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hours and 59 minutes
First Published: 2013
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In the sleepy town of New Bremen, Minnesota, death will forever shape one young man. In 1961, Frank Drum is having a typical teenage summer with his family: his minister father, his doubting mother, his talented older sister, and his quiet younger brother who stutters. When deaths start accumulating by accident, nature, suicide, and murder, Frank’s ordinary life is rocked by the secrets and motives of an adult world he doesn’t fully understand. A stunning addition to any reading list, Ordinary Grace was exactly what you want from coming-of-age historical fiction.
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
Quotes from Ordinary Grace
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.
The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.
And what is happiness, Nathan? In my experience, it’s only a moment’s pause here and there on what is otherwise a long and difficult road. No one can be happy all the time.
About William Kent Krueger
William Kent Krueger is the author whose works include This Tender Land, The River We Remember, and Ordinary Grace. He currently lives in the Twin Cities. Visit the author’s website →