When I first heard that we were going into self-isolation I feared that most of my interests and social events would end. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I now have Zoom coffee mornings, drinks parties and book group meetings in my diary. Through my book group I had an invitation to join, as a guest, on Zoom with the Charleston group in the USA. They were so welcoming and we could have been in the same room. We discussed the book Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger. Kruger is best known for his crime books but this is a departure from the conventional crime novel.
The novel is set in New Bremen, Minnesota in the Summer of 1961. Frank Drum is looking back 40 years to the Summer when he was 13 years old living with his family, the son of a parish minister. “It was a Summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.”
The subject matter is dark but the book is uplifting on many levels. The title Ordinary Grace spans between acts of grace among people who have been hit by tragedy – to saying an ordinary grace over the table at meal times.
William Kent Kruger manages to build a novel with drama, tension and redemption. It feels like a crime novel but with so much more. It holds Frank’s viewpoint through a steady chronology. There is no jumping forwards or backwards in time and therefore you get to know the character of Frank extremely well and through his observations you learn about the other characters in depth.
This novel gives a vivid picture of what it was like growing up in the 1960’s in a small town in Minnesota. Beautifully written with delightful imagery.
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