Book Review: Ordinary Grace

ordinaryThank you to Edelweiss and Atria Books for providing the advance copy of Ordinary Grace, and to the Windsor Public Library for lending me the hard copy.

Ordinary Grace was splendid. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. It contains some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve read all year long.

“A wind cooler than anything I’d felt in days breathed into my face and I watched the storm as I might have watched the approach and passing of a fierce and beautiful animal.”

I had vague recollection of Wiley Cash’s  A Land More Kind Than Home when reading. Not in the way that the stories are too similar to each other, although there is the good vs. evil theme and the relationship and love between brothers, I think it may have more to do with the beauty of the writing and the full emotional investment felt while reading. This was a book that I simply could not put down, read way, way past my bedtime and rarely lifted my nose from between the pages. I never wanted to leave New Bremen, Minnesota.

The story of the summer and events of 1961 in New Bremen is told through the eyes of Frank Drum some 40 years later, but is told as though it is current day and the events are presently unfolding. That summer of ’61, Frank is 13 and shares the events and emotions of these few short months that began with an accidental death, followed by a natural death, suicide and ends with a murder. I don’t think any more than this needs to be shared about the contents of Ordinary Grace. You will just have to trust me that this is a most beautiful read that flows effortlessly like the river featured inside. Part coming-of-age, part mystery, 100% all heart, Ordinary Grace will surely become one of the best books you’ve read in a long, long time.

Frank’s voice and narrative are astonishing. It was like reading art. The people that surround Frank are some of the most interesting and well realized characters and you truly feel as though you are sitting on some front porch with them, joining in on their conversation. The people in New Bremen are larger than life and a group you cannot tear yourself away from.

“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.” (taken from front jacket description.)

Brilliant and unforgettable. Two very well chosen words that wonderfully surmise Ordinary Grace, yet seemingly don’t describe it well enough at all!  It was fantastic and is definitely a novel that will remain with me for long after closing. Truthfully, I did not want this book to end. The end however comes to a close with such a rush of discovery and pain, I’m certain I’m going to have a very tough time picking up something new to read in the coming days. I am so, so heartbroken that my time in New Bremen with Frank, Jake and their father Nathan has had to come to an end. Please craft another stunning tale like this one Mr. Kent Krueger.

Most assuredly a Literary Hoarder’s Approved title! Another title where I say, go, now, run, grab this book!


5 shining stars. I couldn’t think of a more special or incredibly moving tale to read this summer.

“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.”