‘Ordinary Grace’ is a standalone novel by William Kent Krueger (author of the Cork O’Connor series). It is an incredibly moving story and the winner of this year’s Edgar Award.
The story is told by Frank Drum 40 years after the events that occurred when he was 13 years old. The Drum family also contains Frank’s father Nathan – a Methodist minister, His mother Ruth who is artistic but a bit discontent with her life, his older sister Ariel, who is 18 year old and beautiful and talented, and 11 year old Jake, wise for his years but a terrible stutterer.
Frank tells the story of the terrible summer of 1961 when death visited the small town of New Bremen, Missouri several times. Death by natural cause, accident, murder and suicide. And, through the story Frank matures from innocent childhood through to the beginning of adulthood as he learns to deal with death.
The story immersed me in the 1960s with its portrayal of life and attitudes towards death, homosexuality, Native Americans, women, disabilities and other aspects of life (a trip down memory lane for those of us who are old enough). The characters and the story in general were so real that I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction. The different levels with which the different characters related to God was also very real.
The book brought me to tears a couple of times – during Nathans miraculous sermon and after Jake’s own miracle. But, the book was not a soppy one.
I loved the writing and the way it pulled me into the story (and I had yet another very late night reading) and I’m hoping to read more novels by William Kent Krueger.
Book Published 2013