A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson #BookReview

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Nineteen-year-old Stella stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?

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A Nearly Normal Family is a family-oriented novel which shows even a very normal and ordinary family is not without flaws. Adam and Ulrika, Stella’s parents, are a pastor and an attorney. Both have a profession where you expect them to know wrong from right, but right at the start of the novel Adam is contemplating what to say in court in view of his daughter’s trial for killing 32-year old Christopher Olsen. He’s a man of God but also a loving father so I was on tenterhooks to hear what he was going to say. He wasn’t going to lie, surely? And would he lie if he knew his daughter was guilty as well? 

Adam, then Stella and finally Ulrika each tell their part in the story, showing their actions in view of the recent events but also flashbacks to the past showing the ups and downs of the family over time and how they – always – tried to do what’s best. Very slowly I saw the struggles and flaws of this not quite perfect family come to the surface. Often enough things were not discussed, not spoken of but swept under the carpet instead. One specific horrific event would pull them so out of balance, they simply tried to put it behind them and look ahead. Sadly, it became quite obvious that it doesn’t work that way. Stella was always strong-minded, even as a teenager she wanted adventure and live life to the fullest but it turned Stella into a bit of a loose cannon, drinking, doing drugs even…  but that doesn’t mean she would go so far as to kill someone though, would it? 

This novel isn’t only about finding out whether Stella did or did not kill Christopher Olsen, but also how every member of the family reaches their own decision in the end and acts accordingly. It took quite some time to see the big picture here and I thought I had it figured out well in advance but the author still threw me! The ending was mind-boggling and I had to take some time to wrap my head around it all and put my thoughts into order. I loved how twisty this novel was in the end. A Nearly Normal Family captures this nuclear family’s history brilliantly!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.


19 thoughts on “A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson #BookReview

  1. Oooh, i’m intrigued! This has such a “scandinavian feel”, if that’s even a thing… i mean it’s what i like about scandinavian thrillers and such. Not only the why or the how, but also how the people feel about it is really important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right about that Scandinavian feel… he’s a Swedish writer and teacher and I loved the long lead up to the trial itself, showing everything that happened to the main players before. This sort of storytelling doesn’t always work for me but he did it exceptionally well, it worked this time 😊


  2. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 28/04/19 – Secret Library Book Blog

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