Ordinary Grace had been on my to read list for a while now after seeing excellent reviews about this book when it was released a few years ago. While I did enjoy many aspects of it, I found the entertainment value lacking leading to an average, 3 star rating.
It's a very slow novel. That's really it's biggest problem. The characters are fairly interesting, and the plot is actually quite fascinating. I also liked that it was told from the beginning of the events all the way through the final part of the main characters' lives (who were children at the beginning of the story). The story, which centered around three deaths in a small town during one summer, really had legs to it. The challenge I found was that the author drew out too many parts, slowing down far too often and filling large parts of the novel with inconsequential, though occasionally interesting scenes.
When I started the novel, I really appreciated the authors style and pace. It was a like a slow, beautiful walk. The scenery was described in great detail, and I could picture the town and environment as well as any novel I've read. As the drama of the story began to rise, I would have thought the speed of the story would have quickened with it. Instead, the author continued to slow play the action, perhaps hoping the reader would appreciate the slowed pace and continue to want more. While I certainly wanted to know what happened with the mystery of the various deaths, I would have preferred to have it done in a quicker way.
Overall, Ordinary Grace is not a bad novel at all, and I can certainly understand why it has received such strong endorsements and reviews from many critics. The story is great and the author has a great hand for storytelling...just know that it's going to take a while for that full story to be delivered.