Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

This is a thriller, but a thriller with a difference. It has murder, mystery and lots of domestic drama. I felt it was very sensitively written, the feelings that came out were strong and honest.  Adam is a pastor, Ulrika, his wife, is a defense attorney and their seventeen year old daughter, Stella, has behavioral problems and maybe anger managment problems too. She seems to possess no remorse, no conscience and wants to lead her life however she wants. Then she is arrested for murder and her parents are horrified. Adam in particular is having difficulty dealing with it. He is a pastor, should be honest and moral, but this is his daughter who he wants to save. Beautifully written, sensitive and gripping.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

Are there any families who are perfectly or, even, nearly normal? This family certainly is not!

We have a father who is a pastor; a mother who is a defense attorney; and an 18 year-old daughter who is in jail for murder. The book is told in three parts. The first is the father's point of view; the middle from the daughter; and finally, we hear from the mother. Is the daughter guilty? Is her best friend really the murderer? Did they work together? How are the parents involved? Do they really know each other or their daughter?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to others by this author.
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A Nearly Normal Family is told in 3 sections. First we hear the father's story. When I learned the father was a pastor, I was unconsciously thinking I should give his story more weight as to truthfulness due to his profession. Hmmm. maybe not a good idea to do that. Next was Stella,  the daughter who is on trial for murder. Funny how there was lots more to Stella than we learned through the eyes of her father. She had quite an active life outside the family home. Then we learn her mom's story, her mom the attorney that is. Once again, given the occupation, I expected to give her more weight as this was a criminal trial. Hmmm... 
Good stories always make me want to have to figure out something, in this case we know from the beginning that Stella is in jail, so did she do it? I like the not knowing until the end as it makes my brain work and this book did make mine work. Good job!
Thank you NetGalley and Celadon Books for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh wow. Wow, wow wow.  When I first saw the blurb for this book, it reminded me of Defending Jacob.  How far would a parent go for their child? 
Stella just turns 18 and forms some sort of relationship with 32 year old Chris Olsen. She met him out one night with her best friend Amina.  Stella feels it’s only a fling.  However she is constantly seeked out by Chris’s ex girlfriend who is trying to warn her. 
Chris is discovered stabbed to death one morning and shortly after, Stella is arrested. 
The story is told from 3 different view points:  Her father, Adam, who is a Pastor.   Her mother Ulrika, who is a criminal defense attorney and Stella.  
While the book wasn’t perfect and at times Chris seemed way over the top (and flat out creepy), it still demands to be read.  I read this book over two days which is pretty fast even for me, simply because I needed to find out what happened. 
Thank you to NetGalley, Celadon books and Bookish first for the ARC!
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I voluntarily read and review an advanced copy of A Nearly Normal Family.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Oh boy!  This one was a rollercoaster ride--fantastic suspense writing!  I was on the edge of my seat for the entire novel.  I thought I had the mystery figured out several times, but was fooled and misled clear up until the last page!  The three character perspectives were extremely well written--every emotion and motive was 100% authentic.  I will eagerly look forward to reading from this author again.

Thank you to NetGalley and M.T. Edvardsson for the ARC!!!
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3.5 stars....
Adam and his wife Ulrika find themselves facing the unthinkable when their daughter Stella is accused of murder.  Adam is a pastor, well liked and respected in the community.  Ulrika is a renowned and successful attorney.  You would think that as parents practicing in these types of professions they would be upstanding citizens with unwavering morals and ethics.  Teaching their children right from wrong.  NOT!   The story revolves around deceit and lies from every angle. 

Not a single character in the book is likable.  Stella is a loose canon. I kept wondering 
where are her parents?   She is under 18 years old, repeatedly out at bars drinking, spending nights and weekends with a 30 year old man that she is having a sexual relationship with.  Really?... with both parents working in careers that see dysfunction every day, Stella's behavior should have given them flashing red signs their daughter was troubled.  

For me, the story was just okay.  I read a book in between while I was waiting for some action to take place.  There was just enough suspense to keep me hanging in there, I had to find out how it all ended.  The ending was disappointment as well.
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A super compelling psychological thriller that takes place in Sweden and is filled with lies, tension and family dynamics! The book is divided into three parts/points of view. 17-year-old Stella, has  just been arrested and charged with murder. Her dad, who is a local pastor, and her mom who is a defense attorney. Each one tells their view of the story and each one is lying at some point! Definitely kept me guessing up until the very last pages. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC!
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Whose truth is nothing but the truth?

M.T. Edvardsson presents a heavy domestic drama wrapped around the Sandell family. From all indications this is a small, compact family of Adam, Ulricka, and Stella. As the layers are peeled back, there's quite a bit beneath the surface.

Edvardsson sets his story down within the town of Lund in Sweden. There's a definite pendulum that swings back and forth in regard to their ever changing indentities. Adam, a pastor in the Church of Sweden, was once an avowed atheist until his pulled up collar was replaced with the collar of a minister. Ulrika, a dedicated defense attorney, regrets the time spent pursuing her career at the expense of her home life. Stella, intensely complicated, has just turned eighteen and wishes to flee to Asia in a long planned caravan of a trip. All the while, the secrets begin to brew.

Stella and her best friend, Amina, are inseparable. They meet up with what they believe is the typical young man in a typical bar. But Chris Olsen is far from typical. We find out that he's thirty-two years old and has a stalker of a girlfriend. Stella carries on with a summer fling with Chris. But Chris' flinging days will be over soon when he's found dead of stab wounds. Stella is immediately arrested and accused of murder. But did Stella do it?

A Nearly Normal Family has some good moments. Edvardsson takes us in the midst of courtroom scenes with tense questioning. The story is split into three perspectives of the Sandell family with short rapid chapters. But here's where I had issues. Since this was a translation, I'm not sure if some of the momentum was lost within the word transfer. There seemed to be quite a bit of repetition because of it and constant replaying of incidents. I also didn't feel overly invested in any of these characters. But what drew me in was the strong need to know who was actually responsible. Edvardsson keeps you guessing with the gameboard arrow pointing in all directions.

I received a copy of A Nearly Normal Family through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to M.T. Edvardsson and to Celadon Books for the opportunity.
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Ok, this was a good story! The translation was not perfect but that aside it wasn’t hard to be submerged in this. 

I liked the multiple point of views - they really rounded out the characters and their motives... These weren’t great people, but they were real (unfortunately). 

This was more of a character driven story than a legal thriller although you do get a glimpse of their legal system which was interesting.  I would read more by this author. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Celadon Books for a copy in exchange for a review.
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Ekkkkkk! This one will definitely capture your attention and then make you freaked out at the same time! Wow... I could not stop reading it and I am so glad that it hooked you in right from the start. Go ahead and read this one you will not regret it!
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A Nearly Normal Family is truly a satisfying thriller with a unique twist I didn’t see coming. The Sandells seem like a perfectly normal family. But are they? 

An insteresting read being told from 3 POVs, the father (a pastor), the mother (a lawyer) and the teen daughter ( a murder suspect). It’s nice to see the dynamics of this family unfold. And you begin to wonder, who is truly telling the truth. 

I highly recommend this one. A definite must read. It will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. Truly captivating story.  Can’t wait to see what’s to come next from this incredible storyteller. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Celadon books for an advance copy for my honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley, M.T. Edvardsson and Celadon Books for this ARC. 

I really enjoyed this book. A well paced legal thriller told in three different points of view (pastor Dad, teenage daughter and lawyer Mom). I figured out the ending about halfway through the book, but that didn't take away from the rest of the story. I would be interested in reading more by this amazing Swedish author.
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Nice, fast-paced mystery read. The buildup was interesting but I found the ending a little disappointing. Solid but nothing really surprising here.
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Love, love! If someone were to stack a huge pile of books beside me and tell me the author was M.T. Edvardsson or the writing style was similar, I would devour every one of them one right after the other. I loved the way the story grabbed my interest from the very beginning but equally loved how the depth (or not) of each character was revealed little by little as the story unfolded. The complexity of the main character was refreshing...being misunderstood and misunderstanding at the same time.  Oh and the mother...the knowing but not knowing how she mattered or didn't matter throughout the story was wonderful. I remember being 85% in and still fully engaged wondering what would happen. This book was good up until the very last word. Thank you...just thank you.
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The book is the story of a murder trial involving a young 18 year old girl.  The author uses the technique of three narratives in telling his story.  There is the girl's father who is a Pastor and a man dedicated to the truth, her mother who is a criminal defense lawyer and of course Stella Sandell the lady on trial.  The technique employed quite successfully by Mr Edvardsson is to utilize three separate sections of the novel, each dedicated to the thoughts and actions of the three people involved. Each part supplies the reader with different facts making up the plot and certainly causes many changes of opinion as the novel progresses.
     Stella is a girl that certainly has her own mind and is more than a little rebellious.  She is a student reaching the end of high school with the one ambition of taking a trip of several months to Asia.  Important to her, and to the story is her best friend who has been with her almost all of her short life. Amina, her friend is the exact opposite of her immersed in studies with the intention of becoming a doctor.
     Both Stella and Amina  have drifted into a relationship with a man 15 years older than they are.  Each tries to keep her role with him apart and attempting to keep the other thinking that they are not involved with him.  It is this man that is killed and circumstances put the blame on Stella.  She is arrested and brought to trial.
     The strength of the story is the steady building up of suspense and the maintaining of the flow keeping the reader glued to the novel.  While it was written in Swedish and takes place in a small city in Sweden, the translation is an excellent one allowing the nuances of the English I read it in to be quite clear.  A definite five star novel and one showcasing the work of an author at the top of his game.
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I received this book "A Nearly Normal Family" from NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own. I liked this book and it had me guessing until the end. What really happened that night? You will have to read till the end to find out.
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3-3.5 STARS

I can see why this slow burning legal thriller is garnering loads of hype; it's the perfect example of a steady building of suspense that explodes into a tantalizing climax that, for my part anyway, I didn't quite see coming. Based on this alone, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to readers searching for a substantial thriller full of meaty characterization and deep introspection into family dynamics and secrets. My issues mainly stemmed from the fact that the translation here seems to be a bit choppy and unlike some of the smoother books I've read in the past, which is clearly personal preference, but may be helpful to the picky readers like me who may be a bit more difficult to please. Overall, a wonderful and somewhat unique addition to the scandi noir genre, and an author I'm looking forward to seeing more from in the future.
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If you love mysteries and trying to figure out who did it and where the plot is headed, you have to read this book! The suspense builds chapter after chapter and just when you think you know what is going on, your realize that you don’t. The author manages to pull a switch up multiple times and it kept me hooked. Impossible to put down until you finish it!  M. T. Edvardsson has written a fabulous story and I cannot wait to read something else by this author. 
The story profiles a couple who struggles with a teenage daughter, Stella,  who is attempting to spread her wings and become an adult. The story also follows the friendship of Stella and her friend, Amina who have been friends since preschool.  One night, Stella comes home very late and hides a bloody blouse in the laundry room. The police arrest Stella the next day. The focus of the book  then shifts to the trial of Stella.
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This book just didn’t work-out for me the way I‘d hoped. 
I read some fantastic reviews and was anxious to dig into this one, but for some reason it just never “clicked “with me. 

Stella is seventeen and enjoying as much time as possible with her best friend Amina. Their carefree days are growing short as they both begin the journey into adulthood. Stella is off to Asia for her trip of a lifetime, while Amina plans to start medical school. 
Everything goes sideways when Stella sneaks back into her parent’s home late one night, her clothing covered in blood. 

How far would you go to protect the ones you love? Your children? Your spouse? Your own reputation?

Told from multiple POV I found this book to be repetitive, to the point I felt I was reading the exact same paragraph word for word, over and over. 
This book is translated to English and perhaps as they say, something got "lost in translation”.

As the story-line plays out there is definitely a build-up in tension as truths are weighed against lies. And thankfully, I did have my wow moment at the end! 
I may be in the minority here. There are some fantastic reviews, so I hope it works out better for you!

A buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley, Celadon Books and M.T. Edvardsson for an ARC to read and review.
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3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

When you live with Dysfunction, you become Dysfunction.  Just ask the Sandells.  They have it down pat.  

When Stella a teenager, is arrested for the murder of a successful businessman, parents Ulrika and Adam are beside themselves.  Adam is a Pastor whose whole life has been based on honesty.  His daughter’s arrest shakes his belief system to the core.  Ulrika is an Attorney.  The law is everything to her and success has always come before all else, even her family.   

As far as the Sandells are concerned, ethics and morals go out the window when freedom is on the line.  

What price would you pay to hold your family together?  

Stella is just “Stella” or so her best friend Amina describes her.   Sounds intriguing, right?

For me, “A Nearly Normal Family” was a highly intriguing read, which fell just a tiny bit short of all of the hype.  The believability police were on high alert throughout which had my eyes rolling quite a bit.  Furthermore, I found the writing to be a bit choppy in the way the story was told.  That said, I absolutely loved the ending and loved the characters of Stella and Amina!  I wish Amina had been more heavily featured as I think she kinda sorta stole the whole show.  Though I didn’t love every aspect of this novel, I enjoyed the storyline and look forward to seeing what Celadon Books comes out with next!  

This was another fabulous buddy read with Kaceey! 

Thank you to Celadon Books, NetGalley and M.T. Evardsson for the complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.  

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 4.30.19.
Will be published on Amazon on 6.25.19.
Excerpt to be published on Instagram.
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