Minnesota Seniors Online



ORDINARY GRACE
BY WILLIAM KENT KEUGER
REVIEWED BY
LINDA WICKLUND

I read Ordinary Grace a few years ago and thought it was a beautifully written book. This book was a stand alone book unlike Mr. Kreuger's well known Cork O'Connor series which are excellent too. Last year I had the chance to meet him at a book signing and he mentioned he was working on a new novel.  A "companion" story to Ordinary Grace. Since I couldn't remember the whole story and wanted to read this new book - This Tender Land, I did something I don't think I've ever done before.  I read Ordinary Grace again!

And now I have an even greater appreciation of Mr. Kreuger's gift.  His descriptions of places and his character's emotions as they deal with multiple tragedies during the Summer of 1961, in the fictional town of New Bremen, Mn. are truly amazing.

The story begins with this first sentence, "All the dying that summer began with the death of a child, a boy with golden hair and thick glasses, killed on the railroad tracks." This is the first of three deaths 13 year old Frank Drum has to deal with this Summer and the story is told from his perspective looking back four decades.

Frank is somewhat of a rebel who really has his doubts about God which makes having a  Methodist minister for a Dad a little tricky. His Mom on the other hand is an artistic musician who doesn't really enjoy being married to a minister - he was "supposed" to be a rich lawyer! Frank adores his older sister Ariel who is 18 and planning to attend Juilliard.  His younger brother Jake is Frank's best friend who is unfortunately afflicted with a stutter which worsened  when he was nervous or upset.

The beautiful Summer days bring more tragedy to the small usually quiet town and then sadly to Frank's family and the way the author describes these events with compassion and grace is exceptional.  This is so much more that a mystery, it describes how a family and a small town can go from innocence to learning to deal and grieve while things seem to be falling apart all around them.

The Edgar Award winning best novel of the year in 2014, was so richly deserved.

I'm sure you will love this book as I did.

Happy reading!