Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Celedon books for an advance read of this title in exchange for my honest review.  This was an interesting mystery, told from the perspective of all three family members, when the daughter is arrested for the murder of an older man.  I really liked this book.  There were some areas that I felt didn't quite meld together, this might have been cultural, as it is set in Sweden.  It kept me reading, and the end surprised me.  I ended up liking characters I hadn't in the beginning and couldn't stand some I thought I'd like.
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I liked this unique take on a legal thriller as it's told by three different perspectives. This adds to the tension of trying to figure out who did it The one thing I struggled with was I believe this was translated from Swedish and not sure if that made a difference, but some parts the writing seemed very...off.
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On occasion a book will take you by surprise, as this one has for me.  Set in Sweden and well written, A Nearly Normal Family  tells the same story through the eyes of a father, daughter and mother.  With enjoyable suspense and a great ending that stays true to the story, this book is highly recommended.
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I enjoyed this novel, which is part family drama, part crime mystery. 

The book opens from the first-person perspective of the father, who is a pastor. His eighteen-year-old daughter is being accused of murdering a man fifteen years her senior. Stella has always been Daddy’s little girl, even if she has been difficult these last few years. 

The second part of the novel is told from the POV of Stella, who is waiting for trial in prison. She’d always thought Swedish prisons were basically like hotels, but now she knows the cruelty of guards and of being all alone twenty-four hours a day, her thoughts constantly reeling. She misses her long-time best friend, Amina, and of course her parents. 

The last part is told from the POV of Mom, a criminal defense attorney. All along, we knew that Dad and Stella weren’t telling the cops (or the readers) the whole story. Now during the trial, the details of how the wealthy Christopher Olsen met his gruesome end are finally revealed. 

I did think this could have been shorter. There were twists and turns, and it is nice to have fully developed characters to flesh out the story, but the tension would have been increased if the prose had been tightened. Still, it’s worth the read.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES JULY 25, 2019.

For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
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My first journey into the Scandi-Noir genre, I flew through this book. 

This is the story of a young girl, Stella, who is accused of murdering a man 15 years older than her. The story is told in 3 sections, from the point of view of her father, from her, and from her mother. With each POV, more details come out, until the final, explosive end. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Celadon Books for the ARC copy of this book!
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“It’s such a strange job I have, where life and death shake hands in the foyer.” What a poetic yet prophetic statement by the father of this family, whose daughter has been charged with murder.
I enjoy reading the eloquent writing style of the author, M.T. Edvardsson. It flows and meanders as it weaves a net I’m getting caught in. So many questions I have, so many insinuations, I must continue reading. First and foremost, does this pastor place his hand on the Bible and lie in court? What a tangled web we weave when protecting those we love.
Adam and Ulrika have done a good job raising their teenage daughter, Stella. Imagine their shock when Stella is arrested and accused of murder, then denied bail or visitation. Time drags by slowly, especially for Adam, who takes it upon himself to solve the crime since the police obviously have made up their mind that they’ve got the guilty party in jail and aren’t doing their job.
Told from three very different angles, this novel drives home the problem with perspective and intent. What looks one way to an onlooker may very well be a devastatingly different situation. But to what degree does this apply when their daughter does look guilty at first glance?
This is an eloquent tale of a quiet and boring family suddenly thrust into a situation that won’t end well for anyone. The people, their feelings, and their pain will stay with you.
(I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks so much to Celadon Books and NetGalley for making it available.)
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______

"What is a lie? Just as there are different sorts of truths, there must be different sorts of lies. White lies, for example - I've never shied away from those. Better a kind lie than a hurtful truth, I've always thought.

        But of course, this was different."


This is a complex multi-layered domestic drama that kept me chewing my cuticles until the very end. 

Every character in this book is lying.

A pastor and father
A mother and lawyer
Their teen daughter and murder suspect
And a best friend

Each lying to law enforcement, lying to each other and to themselves in an effort to protect someone they love, to preserve a family portrait that had begun to crack well before the current dilemma and to ultimately protect themselves.

This story is rife with ethical quandaries that gave me pause on more than one occasion to consider what I might do if presented with the same circumstances. 

To loosely quote Shakespeare...

        "I would tell lies like truth."

I'd love to find out what happened when all of the lies were finally exposed. There is a whole other story within this book and I could totally get into a sequel.
No lie. 

4.5 Stars rounded up ⭐


Thank you to Celedon for sending me a copy of this book and for the digital ARC as well. All opinions are my own. I swear. 

_______
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The storyline of this book was great although it felt slow at times. I also enjoyed the three separate segments told from different points of view. However, I only gave it three stars because the characters were awful. I did not like any of them because they were all too whiny and self-absorbed.
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I love when legal thrillers are also psychological thrillers. (Sometimes legal thrillers are light on the characterizations and plausible human behavior.) This novel hit a bulls-eye by managing to be both. It was a page turner and kept me engrossed. I appreciated the three act structure, with each family member's point of view represented, though it could have used a few more twists and at times, the language was awkward, most likely due to the translation. But all in all, I'd definitely recommend it.
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Stella and Anima have been best friends since they started school. They're getting ready to graduate. Anima will head off to medical school and Stella wants to go to Asia and tour. Both girls come from your typical ordinary family. 
Both of the girl's father's coach their handball team. Stella's mom is a lawyer, her dad is a pastor.
The families have fun together. 
Everything is.....ordinary. Until it isn't. A murder has been committed. Stella is in jail awaiting trial. Anima is definitely hiding something. Someone committed this murder. Evidence indicates it was Stella. Only Anima can tell the jury what needs to be said. 
Riveting! Definitely keeps you guessing till the very end. Excellent!
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Oh, how I love books with a moral dilemma and unreliable narrators! This novel has it all! It's a brilliant courtroom drama with family issues, a murder, a stalker, psychiatrists, rebellious teens, and above all obsessive love. It begs the question, "What would you do for your child in the worst of circumstances?" Eighteen-year-old Stella's parents are a pastor and a lawyer, so when she finds herself arrested on suspicion of murder, she is fairly confident that things will turn in her favor, as Sweden's laws rely heavily on evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. But things are never as they seem! If you've ever raised a teenager (heck, if you've ever BEEN a teenager) this story will appeal to you as there are both wise and unwise decisions made by almost every character. But you may want to put everything else aside as it's incredibly hard to put this book down. Even the last sentence gave me goosebumps! This is a thriller not to be missed!
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I read a lot of books and many different genres, but this new book by M.T. Evardsson is one of the most suspenseful novels I have read in a long time. In “A Nearly Normal Family,” Paul Sandell truly believed he had a meaningful life, with his job as a pastor, a beautiful intelligent wife, and a spunky teenage daughter that he would do anything in his power to keep safe. Life has a way of changing and Paul finds his daughter charged with murder and his wife hiding secrets. Paul must put his faith on the line to save the one person he loves most in the world.  The storyline is engaging and most readers will find it hard to put down. . I was given an advanced copy of this book, and all of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Loved this one!! This a very timely story, considering today's headlines. How well do we know our kids and how far would we go, or should we go, for them? I really enjoyed how the story unfolded, as it is told in three parts, in turn, from the three main characters. As each character tells their story more layers are revealed and your opinion will change as to what it looks like happened. The author did a great job developing each character, also, making it easy to understand their motivations. It was also fun to read about how the justice system is similar and different from ours, as this is set in Sweden. I'm not sure if this a debut or just the first of M.T. Edvardsson's books translated to English, but I am excited for more!!

A big Thank You to #NetGalley and Celadon for this ARC!

I will post to Amazon and Barnes and Noble on 6/25/19.
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Interesting tale. I also appreciated the look into another country's legal system. It was good to see the story from so many angles. Good believable twists. I look forward to more from this author!
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Satisfying thriller that deals with family drama and the perceptions of a mother and father and their troubled daughter in a unique way.  I would recommend M.T. Edvardsson as an author to watch.  The book is dark in the way that only Scandinavian noir can be. Is the Sandell family normal? Their teenage daughter Stella is accused of murdering a much older successful and possibly shady guy.  As you read, the book which is told in from the view point of father, daughter, and mother you don't know who is telling the absolute truth and you wonder what is behind the facade that is hidden from the public view within anyone's family.

I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys unreliable narrators and a few twists and turns in their thrillers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read and review.
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A Nearly Normal Family was truly fantastic, FIVE STARS! 

M.T. Edvardsson is a writer to watch, I hope more of his books are translated into English. A Nearly Normal Family, was told from three points of view. First, the father, a pastor, second, the teenage daughter, Stella, who has been accused of murder, and third, the mother, a criminal defense attorney. Each voice was very distinct from which made it very easy to slip into each character. I thought, Stella, was written very accurately as a teenage girl. It did not surprise me to learn the author had been a teacher. There were many issues brought up in the book which really made you think- what would I do? 

“People are prepared to put aside everything in the way of ethics and morals to protect their families. The most rigid of principles can be easily pulverized when it comes to defending your own child. Lies, guilt, and secrets. What family isn’t built on such grounds?” 

I cannot wait to see what M.T. Edvardsson comes out with next....whatever it is, I will be reading it. Highly recommend! 

Thank you Celadon and NetGalley for my advanced copy of, A Nearly Normal Family,  in exchange for my honest review. 

***Will post to Goodreads one month prior to release, will post on 6/25/2019 to B&N and Amazon.
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This is one of those books that will still have you thinking and  questioning everything you just read for days after you finish reading the last page. Told in three different perspectives of the events leading up to, around and after a murder. A family must come to grips with who they are, what they stand for and what they will do to protect the one love.
It makes you question the narrative of what a  normal family is. Is there any such thing as a normal family as we all have secrets. The facade we put out in public, isn't always what is shown in the privacy of our houses. 
Gripping, thrilling and ine heck of a page Turner. A must read if you don't mind a multi-perspective POV.
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A Nearly Normal Family had you guessing until the very end. It was really hard to put this book down. The book starts out with the fathers point of view then Stella’s and then ends with the mother. I definitely will want to read more from this author. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy.
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A daughter accused of murder, a father’s dilemma, a mother’s love.  This is a story of a pastor, a lawyer and a maladjusted teen.  Told in all three voices, of past and present, this book is filled with complex, real characters.  A man is dead, and a young woman stands accused of his murder.  A family that is in crisis, parents that will do anything to save their daughter, but what really happened that night?  A unique and twisty legal thriller about a family that isn’t quite as normal as it seems.
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Wow a kept me guessing and pushing forth with each chapter!  The characters were complex - good and bad, strong and weak, possibly crazy and maybe not?!?!
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