Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

“How far would you go to protect the ones you love?” A Nearly Normal Family is a suspenseful thriller that raises moral and ethical judgement, voice, and action. The changes in points of view provoke the reader to switch perception and opinion as the characters’ personality, character, and motive are revealed and exposed; adding a layer of intrigue and flavor. I was hooked early on and eagerly read each page, anxious to find out out who and why!
Was this review helpful?
While this book wasn't perfect for me I really enjoyed it. It had a few lulls but for the most part it kept me engaged and in suspense for the majority of the book. This is told in 3 POVs the father, the daughter, and the mother. The parent perspectives were my favorite.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley And Celadon Books for gifting me with an ARC of A Nearly Normal Family. Below is my unbiased review.

This was by far my favorite psychological thriller of 2019. From the very first page I was absolutely hooked and committed to the Sandell Family and their daughter Stella’s legal plight. Told in three parts, each from the unique viewpoint of the Sandell Family, we slowly peel away another layer of the story. It’s convoluted and twisty and totally tantalizing. Several times, I actually gasped when a new secret was revealed and while I did figure out a piece of the plot, I was never drawn out of the story. For me, this book was a nearly perfect thriller. I can’t wait to read more by this author and I’m absolutely certain EVERYONE will be talking about this book this summer!!!!! Kudos M.T. Edvardsson from making thrillers thrilling once more!!
Was this review helpful?
I want to extend thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for this thought-provoking ARC. Classified as a psychological thriller/legal drama it is above all an intense probe into dysfunctional family dynamics. 

 An 18-old girl, Stella, has been charged with the murder of a 32-year-old wealthy businessman, rumoured to be of disreputable reputation. Her parents consider themselves to be a normal family of upper-middle-class status and are concerned about their favoured social standing. They are shocked and in denial when their daughter is accused of murder.  

 Her father is a pastor of the Church of Sweden in the small city of Lund. On a downward spiral from the news, he goes to extremes to protect his daughter. He crosses moral and ethical boundaries, including harassment of the prosecution attorney and questioning a witness. He uses deceptive means to enter the home of the murder victim’s ex-girlfriend and finds a clue which convinces him that she is guilty of the crime. He intrudes into the home of Stella’s best friend and disrupts her life both inside and outside her home. It is his desperate belief that she knows something which would prove his daughter’s innocence. He insults police officers.  He lies to provide an alibi for Stella and commits perjury in court. 

The mother is an ambitious attorney who never bonded with her child. She is absent emotionally and travels frequently for work. She seems to prefer Stella’s friend, Amina to her own daughter.  While trying to convince us that her husband is the great love of her life, she has carried on an affair with a colleague. She crosses legal lines to protect Stella and her family’s reputation. 

 Stella has been wild and rebellious since a very young age. She has been overprotected by her parents who have ignored or made excuses for her anger and acting out behaviour.  She has been diagnosed as having poor impulse control,  being bipolar or ADHD, but her tolerant and faithful friend says that Stella is just being Stella.  

 The theme centres on how far one should go to protect one's' family, friends and reputation in the community. The story is told through three perspectives; that of Adam, the pastor and father, Ulrika, the mother and attorney, and Stella, the daughter who is accused of murder. They are all unreliable, along with friend, Amina. All are lying and have secrets. Evidence is destroyed, perjury committed, and the backgrounds and emotional states of witnesses besmirched. 

 None of the characters are likeable or trustworthy, but as they told their stories we come to understand them better, and are often shocked by their thoughts and actions. They had convinced themselves that what they were saying and doing was for the best. There were transitions from present to past which caused the narrative to seem choppy, and I thought the flashbacks could have been better organized.  I felt there were unnecessary repetitions and digressions which may have been partly due to translation. I thought the plot slow paced, but would have liked to learn more about the future outcome for the characters after the trial ended. 
3.5 stars rounded up to 4
Was this review helpful?
This is the third book that I have read from this imprint. The first was the interesting Cape May, then the phenomenal Silent Patient, and now the equally riveting A Nearly Normal Family. The novel succeeds on all levels. It is a mystery and a family drama that keeps your interest building but it’s format being told in three voices brought an intriguing question to my mind and that is one of perception. In this case the three characters see each other and their lives in remarkably different ways. It provokes a thought about how one’s perceptions might differ from those of their own family members. Great book from a Swedish author!
Was this review helpful?
What would you do to protect the ones you love? Thriller, family drama, courtroom drama, this book has it all. Stella is on trial for murder. In what is being called “the playground murder” the victim is a shady businessman 15 years older than she. How could she know him? Or have any reason to kill him? Stella comes from a good family. A pastor for a father, a lawyer for a mother. How did she end up behind bars? And what are her parents willing to risk to save her?

This one had me hooked from page one. I loved that the story was told from three perspectives but one at a time instead of interspersed. I changed my mind on what could have happened so many times. With so many thrillers coming out recently, I feel like they start to follow a pretty generic path and are getting easier to solve, that was not the case here! I can’t recommend this book enough!
Was this review helpful?
First of all, as a mother, I don't even want to think about being in that situation. It's possibly the worst nightmare.

About the book, the book is divided into 3 parts -one for each of the main characters-. The first part is the father...I was getting a little annoyed with his naivete. At this point, I'm thinking, yeah, the book is alright...3 starts at the most. Then the second part got started and the book got really good. It reminded me of how I felt about the "Gone Girl."

I ended up really enjoying this book. I have to admit that half way thru I guessed 'who did it' but I had not reasons why, simply a gut feeling. It was still very entertaining to see how it untangled. M.T. Edvardsson does a great job developing the characters. 

I would definitely recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson is a sharply written tale in the vein of a Swedish domestic noir, and I was pulled in immediately.  The crisp, concise chapters virtually propelled me through the narrative, and I was fully engrossed as the family drama unfolded.

This is the story of the Sandell family;  Adam, a pastor in the Church of Sweden, his attorney wife, Ulrika, and their troubled eighteen-year-old daughter, Stella.  A thirty-two year old businessman has been found murdered, and Stella appears to be the prime, and only, suspect.  Told from the three differing perspectives of each family member, the tale unfolds and a question emerges.  Just how far would a parent be willing to go to protect his or her only daughter?  And, of course, the more imminent question, is Stella guilty of the crime for which she has been accused?

This is a well-executed plot, and the three primary characters are thoroughly fleshed out in the course of their individual recounting of events.  I would not hesitate to read more from this author.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really eagerly awaited book for me and I was excited at the chance to read it! The story is not as fast paced as I expected, but engaging and twisty from beginning to end. I don't want to give anything away, but this is definitely a page turner!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Celadon Books for early access to this great book! This book is set to be published on June 25th.
Adam and Ulrika are devastated when their teenage daughter, Stella, is accused of murder. Why would she even be involved with the victim, a man nearly twice her age? The ensuing events will test everything they believe in. How far will they go to protect their daughter?
A Nearly Normal Family is a suspenseful legal thriller. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and I never wanted to put it down. The story is told in three separate parts. Adam’s (the dad) perspective, Stella’s (the daughter) perspective, and then Ulricka’s (the mom) perspective. So, it was unique in that way and I liked that format a lot. The characters were great and I just wanted everything to turn out ok for them. 
It’s a thought-provoking read that had me questioning what I would do in a similar situation. The overall theme is parent-child relationships and how far parents will go to protect their children. I highly recommend this book!
Was this review helpful?
It's a pretty accomplished thriller, with complicated characters and dynamics. The twists and turns actually fooled me several times, bravo for that!

Overall, this reminds me a lot of the TV show Broadchurch, the vibes mostly. But the actual plot resembles the US version of that show, Gracepoint. I'm not saying there are plot points identical to those shows, just the intricate setup. I loved both shows, so that's a great thing.

Back to the book itself. I read the English translation, and it was done quite well. I could see the translator put in a lot of effort. There were only a handful of phrases that showed signs of translation. Other that that, it reads like an original work.

Apart from the suspense in the story, the examination of family dynamics plays a big role in the book as well. It evokes questions about parenting, about belief, and about the justice system. Those subjects all demand more discussion in both the society and families. I was glad to see them incorporated into a highly readable novel.

I'm pretty sure this is going to be big in the US and maybe other countries, too. The last time I read a book that raised so many important questions, it was Big Little Lies. I would like to see this do as well as BLL.
Was this review helpful?
If you like murders and trials- and let’s face it, don’t we all? Then this is a book for you! A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardson is a complicated and dramatic story, one that will have you asking lots of questions. Just think about this- how well do you REALLY know the people in  your family?

Here’s the synopsis:

Eighteen-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?

This story takes place in Sweden so immediately I conjured up a chilling atmosphere of darkness and snow.  Told from multiple points of view, it seems everyone is an unreliable narrator. Who to trust?

You are going to love this compelling novel. Pre-Order here.
Was this review helpful?
A legal thriller told as a three-part story told from family members involved in a murder trial. The book asks the question: would you be willing to alter your moral code for the love of your child?  As a mother I don't know what I wouldn't do for my own daughter and this book inspires some interesting conversations about how far is too far.
Thoroughly enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
I was really impressed with this book! It was full of domestic drama and kept me flipping pages. There were many twists and turns. I think this will be a book that my patrons will enjoy this summer!
Was this review helpful?
A family that seems normal and close knit, but there are many cracks in the relationships. Adam is a gentle man, a pastor who loves  his family more than anything, and will do anything to protect them. Even lie. The mother is a successful defense attorney, struggling to maintain her career and the needs of her family. Would she lie and sacrifice it all?
Stella is a high strung 17 yo, troublesome and defiant. How far will she go, to get what she wants, would she kill for it?
A very suspenseful, emotional read, full of twists, turns and “what if’s”. It is told from three perspectives, and the reader is left trying to grasp the truth, but they all lie! It comes down to the conclusion and you’ll never figure it out! 
My thanks to Net Galley, M T Edvardsson and Celadon for the ARC of this entertaining book! It was riveting!
Was this review helpful?
Teenaged Stella ends up in jail, accused of murdering a wealthy man she'd slept with. This carefully crafted thriller teases open from three utterly different perspectives. We hear first from Stella's judgmental preacher father, then Stella herself, then her lawyer mother. With each new point of view, more details of the fateful day emerge. Not only is Stella's character revealed, but also her parents. Nearly normal indeed. I was kept on my toes to the very last page. Loved the nuances.
Was this review helpful?
An excellent story told by three members of a family. The father who is a pastor in the church of Sweden, Stella their 18 year old child, and the mother who is a defence attorney. Stella is a bit of a wild child and drives her parents, especially her Dad a little mad with her antics.  However, it’s all just staying out late and partying with her friend Amina until she gets mixed up with a man fifteen years older than her. Then one night she comes home with a bloodstained blouse and she arrested for the murder of this older man. And of course the question is how far would we go to defend our children. 
I loved this book. A great whodunnit that kept me guessing to the very end.
Thanks to NetGalley for this arc in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
I thought this was a pretty remarkable book!  It is a legal drama with mystery of whodunnit. It portrays what a family does for a child and how they go about protecting them.  Good storyline and characterization.  Had me guessing until the end. Well done!  Would definitely recommend. Thank you netgalley for letting me give an honest review of this book.
Was this review helpful?
A thriller but with a good murder mystery included that is fast paced and twisty. 
It is a good read worth your time 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review
Was this review helpful?
WoW! This book has everything I want in a thriller. It's unputdownable. Be prepared to be glued to this story! I won't give anything away so just read it!!

Fast paced and lots of twists. One of the best I've read.
Was this review helpful?