Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

This is a Swedish mystery/courtroom drama and focuses on a family whose 17 year old daughter has been arrested for murder. It's told from multiple perspectives, which I always love. I felt like the translation was good and the writing was well done. The chapters are short, so it's an easy book to stop and start if you don't have a big chunk of time to sit down and read. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I would read more of M.T. Edvardsson's work in the future.
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Set in Sweden, this is the story of a normal family—pastor father Adam, lawyer mother Ulrika, and teenage daughter Stella—and what happens after Stella is accused of murder.

The story is divided into three parts, each narrated by a different family member, and each revealing details of what happened on the night of the murder. While it started a little slow for me, I became increasingly engaged as the story progressed and by the second part I could NOT stop. The book was translated from Swedish and occasionally the writing felt a little stiff or remote, but the pacing was excellent. In particular, the way the author alternates between the events of the present day and the events leading up to the murder was exceptionally well done. This is more of a legal/courtroom drama than a thriller—Stella is arrested near the beginning of the story and the story centers on the police investigation, court proceedings, and the effect on the family. I loved the exploration of honesty, psychology, family relationships, and the intense and sometimes conflicted relationship between parent and child. Highly recommended!

Big thanks to @netgalley and @celadonbooks for the free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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s was an interesting mystery set in three parts with three narrators: The father, the daughter, and the mother. I found the first section with the father a little slow, but once it changed to the daughter’s perspective, it picked up. The story unravels slowly and gives just enough to keep the reader interested. I enjoyed the writing and would read more by this author.
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This was a really good mystery book. I liked that it was written from the angle of three different people. While I enjoyed the story as a whole I tended to get a little bored with the past stories. Other than that I enjoyed the story as a whole and would recommend this to friends who are looking for a good mystery to read.
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4.5ish stars, rounded. A Nearly Normal Family was a captivating story about how far parents will go to protect their child. Set around the arrest and trial of daughter Stella, charged with the stabbing death of a man her parents weren't even aware she knew, there's elements of books like Defending Jacob and Jodi Picoult's courtroom focused dramas.
The author's choice to make the father a pastor and the mother a lawyer really was the tipping point to making this story fantastic. With professions that mean they should see right and wrong as black and white, the choices these parents have to make in the name of protecting their daughter seem to have even higher costs. They aren't just choosing what's right for their family, they have to weigh the morality of their choices with deeply held beliefs. Fascinating- right up through the last page.
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I struggled with A Nearly Normal Family for the first 30% or so, once the point of view switched I was much more interested. The storyline itself was great, but it's a slow burning thriller-ish mystery, and slow burning books are hard for me to get into. If you enjoy disfunctional family dynamics, a murder mystery with steady building suspense, this book is for you.
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How far would you go to protect the ones you love? Set in the small Swedish town of Lund, A Nearly Normal Family centers around the Sandell’s.  The husband and father Adam Sandell, is a pastor to one of the largest churches in the area. The wife and mother, Ulrika, is a driven defense attorney, who feels like she doesn't always put her family first. And the daughter, Stella, who has just turned eighteen and graduated from high school. When Stella is accused of the murder of a thirty-two year old man, Adam and Ulrika are shocked. They don’t understand how their daughter could be connected to this man. 

A Nearly Normal Family is told in three unique parts. Part one is told from the father’s point of view, part two from Stella’s point of view, and part three from Ulrika’s. While all three are told in the present tense, they contain flashbacks of the earlier lives of each of the characters. We hear a lot about Stella’s teenage  years growing up, and how different events were viewed by Adam, Stella, and Ulrika.

Everyone in this book has lied about what happened that night. Both parents are lying to protect their daughter. Stella’s best friend is also lying. Could their lies end up hurting Stella? Could they ruin relationships? Careers? The ending wasn’t anything surprising or groundbreaking, which was what I expected. This is a slow-paced legal drama, not an edge of your seat thriller. I found myself really enjoying this one. My favorite was Stella’s point of view, I didn’t want it to end! I hope more of Edvardsson’s books are released in the U.S., because I definitely will be picking him up again!
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This book had me engaged from the first page. I read the book over two days. It was difficult to put down.
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Just couldn't get through very much of this one. The translation was choppy and if I knew there would be so many references to God in this book, I definitely wouldn't have bothered. I hate it when authors try to push religious beliefs on you through their writing... I cannot rate this book since I personally didn't even get through 25%.
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A Nearly Normal Family is set in Sweden and is a fictional story of what happens to a family when their teenage daughter is accused of murder. Each section of the book is told from a different perspective: first the father, then the daughter, and finally, the mother. Another thing that makes this book interesting is that the father is a pastor but the other family members are not really religious. Growing up as the daughter of a pastor, my family was just the opposite. The perspective of the mother is completely different because she is an attorney and familiar with the legal system. I really enjoyed this book. There were a lot of good twists and it also made me think about some moral questions. It’s also a nice change to read a thriller that isn’t set in the US or the UK.
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3.5 stars
Engaging family courtroom drama, although it's lengthy I read it pretty quickly because I really wanted to know what was going to happen and how things would resolve. 

The book jumps right into the drama of the daughter Stella arrested for murdering her older boyfriend. The story is told from three perspectives: starting with Adam, Stella's pastor father, then Stella, then Urika, her lawyer mother. I loved getting all of their points of view and it made the story come alive that much more. The intriguing part was how each viewed the other two and the lengths they went to manipulate the situation to preserve themselves and the way they were viewed by others.

I was pretty surprised by the ultimate conclusion and wasn't really sure I liked it, but it definitely works for the book and is not the expected outcome. 

The book is translated from Swedish, and there were some awkward parts, as well as a bit of confusion for me about the way the Swedish law enforcement and court systems work. It's not a major sticking point, but it was noticeable.
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Started off slow, but then really picked up. Really enjoyed the last 2/3s of the book and the ending. The different perspectives were well written. 

Thanks Net Galley for the ARC
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A high 4 stars!

It’s always hard to find crime fiction that is clever, original and not too violent. A Nearly Normal Family hit the mark for me. It’s somewhat of a courtroom drama but much of the story goes back in time and outside the courtroom. The story takes place in Sweden and focuses on 18 year old Stella and her parents. At the beginning of the books, Stella is accused of murdering a man in his 30s. The story is told in three parts, from the points of view of the father, then Stella and then the mother. The story is as much about complex family dynamics as it is about whether Stella committed the murder. These are not cookie cutout characters, but because all families have their secrets and complex dynamics, this is indeed a “nearly normal family”. I loved being in their heads, and trying to put all the pieces together. This may not be for readers who liked fast paced crime fiction, but it’s great if you like something more smart and introspective. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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Although it took me about a third of the way through the book before I really got invested in it, I have to say that this is one of the best mystery/suspense books that I have read in a long time.   The pacing was slow at first but picked up very quickly once there was a murder and the “nearly normal family” was involved.  I really liked the characters, particularly the 18 year-old daughter Stella.  She was portrayed as a girl who was hard to trust and who had acted badly in the past.  Nevertheless, I really liked her and her steadfastness and unselfishness.  I enjoyed the themes of family loyalty and love that ran through the book.  Having the book divided into sections in which the father, Stella and the mother were the narrators was illuminating and a unique way to present the murder case and the evidence.  I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy mystery, suspense and police procedurals.  I actually felt bad for the police in this story because they just could not get to the truth, no matter how hard they tried.  You will have to read it for yourself to find out if you can figure out who the real murderer is....it will probably surprise you!
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Well-written. I enjoyed the POV's and the structure of the book. It made the story enticing to read and I appreciated the character development.
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What would you do to save the people you love... how much would you risk? That’s the question at the core of this legal thriller. I loved that the story was told from three different perspectives - father, daughter, and mother. There was mystery and family drama, but for me the family drama was more interesting... is any family “normal”? What is “normal”?

Thanks to Celadon Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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How far would you go for those you love regardless of the truth?  What is you don't even know what is true? 
When Stella, an 18 year old girl is arrested for murder it challenges everything her parents thought to be true. Who was Chris and what did Stella have to do with a 32 year old man? As her father (the pastor) and her mother (a defense attorney) struggle to uncover the truth and go to all ends to find out what happened they forced to choose between what could be true and what could save their daughter from life in prison. . . but what if she is guilty??
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This was a compulsive page turner!

I loved the way this book was organized with three parts from three different perspectives. It made you second guess what was going on with each new perspective. I couldn’t put this down and really loved the courtroom drama aspect as well. I definitely recommend this for psychological thriller and courtroom drama lovers.
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Stella, the daughter of a Pastor and a lawyer, seems to live an idyllic life. Stella’s father, Adam, coaches her handball, she bikes everywhere and the family visits with other friends in their quaint Swedish town. All this changes when Stella is charged with the murder of a rich man from a prominent family. 

This legal thriller told from each of the family member’s perspectives is one sure to keep you glued to the pages.  It asks the question ‘how far would you go for someone you love?’ This book might make you wonder if anyone actually tells the truth. 

Edvardsson writes with a deep sense of place and his characters are strong, particularly Adam, the father. Prepare to be spinning theories for the whole read!

Thank you to @netgalley and @celadonbooks for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson takes place in Sweden, but it's easy to understand the legal system and court scenes the way they are presented. Mr Edvardsson tells us the story from three different points of view, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat trying to figure out exactly what had happened. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. I was given an early copy to review.
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