Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

M.T. Edvardsson's A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping psychological thriller that forces the reader to consider: how far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life--and each other.’
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The family in this book consists of Adam and Ulrika, and their daughter Stella.  Told from each of their perspectives, the story is cleverly written to round out the events as they unfold.  Adam is a pastor for the Church of Sweden and comes off as heavy handed, Ulrika is a defense attorney and eighteen year old Stella is a wild child.
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When Stella is accused of a crime, the family drama and their backstories come to light and it’s (for lack of a better word) a page turner up until the last page.
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I recently finished Beartown and it was interesting to read another Swedish family drama with a tragic incident in the family.  I thoroughly enjoyed both.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
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How far would you go for your child? This book will ask the characters that question. 
Stella is arrested for "murdering" an older man, now he father is a pastor and her mother is a criminal defense attorney. So they need to figure out if Stella really did it and what they will to keep her safe and out of trouble.
I was glued to my kindle through out this amazing book. My stomach was in knots as I read and the secrets, twist and turns happened. This book was amazing and I look forward to reading more from M.T. Edvardsson!!!!
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Thanks to Net Galley and Celadon books for providing me with an ARC
A Nearly Normal Family is my kind of book--usually.
 M.T. Edvarvardsson creates a family that is not nearly normal. Of course, this depends on one’s definition of normal. Also, Edvardsson, perhaps, intends the title to be ironic. The father states in Chapter one:” We were a perfectly normal family.” Through the narrators, 18-year-old Stella, her mother Ulrika, and her father Adam, we see evidence to the contrary. Stella is accused of murdering a well-known business man in her hometown. The citizens are shocked, especially since Adam is a popular minister and Ulrika an honorable attorney. As the novel progresses, each narrator gives his/her own reflections on Stella from her toddler years until the present-day calamity occurs. These accounts vary depending on the narrator, but Stella’s view seems the most realistic. Hindsight is always better, but Stella’s parents are absolutely clueless about actions they could have taken early in Stella’s life to prevent events in the present day. Both parents involve themselves in her legal case in illegal ways; however, Adam’s maneuverings are more overt while Ulrika’s actions are covert as she flaunts the legal system she knows and understands so adeptly. The action moves s-l-o-w-l-y until the details of the murder commence and after that point the reader is involved in a page turner. There are several surprising outcomes, especially in part 3 when Ulrika reveals to the reader her plotting. Stella’s eventual verdict pleases some and astounds some, but be sure to continue reading past the verdict; the ending is dynamite.
This is a greatly plotted story and well written, but I admit I care nothing about the main characters, not a single one. They truly are not deserving of sympathy.
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4.5 stars - A Nearly Normal Family is a fast-paced, who-done-it, legal thriller with a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Miracle Creek vibe.  Maybe that’s just where my mind went because it’s a courtroom drama based in Lund, Sweden??  Anyway, I literally could not put this book down!  It was filled with lies, dysfunction, and loads of family drama, and will leaving you questioning how far you’d really go to protect your family.  If that’s your thing, this book will be right up your alley!

Thank you @netgalley and @celadonbooks for the advanced e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

How far would you go to protect your child? Stella is arrested and is being accused of the murder of a man that is quite a bit older than her. Her father is a pastor and her mother is a criminal defense attorney.

They face moral issues as things come to light and they try to figure out if their daughter is guilty...or innocent.

I wanted to like this book more, but is was just ok to me. It was a quick read.
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This is an entertaining and thought provoking thriller that I found difficult to put down.  (I actually did not put it down and ended up staying up way too late reading it.)  It examines the question of how far would you go to protect your child.  This a great read and I will be recommending it to my customers.
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How far would you go to protect your family?  That is the main question in 'A Nearly Normal Family".  There are three points of view and they all jump back and forth from past to present.   Stella, the 18 year old daughter is accused of murder.   Adam, the father is a pastor and always thinks he knows what is best.  Ulrika, the mother is a successful attorney whose success may have come at the cost of her family.  The secondary characters (including the murdered businessman) were not fleshed out enough in the writing to make them any more than eh okay.  

This is a Swedish book so one must remember we are not talking about American laws when reading some parts.  Other countries' legals systems fascinate me.  How Sweden runs their trials is very interesting and a few times I thought that would never happen and reminded myself SWEDISH.  Stella is accused of killing a businessman at least 15 years her senior (his age could be one of his lies) and her parents must figure out what to do.  The back and forth between characters I liked as it gave me insight to part of the characters they would never admit to themselves.  Having to figure out WHAT period of time they were talking about was frustrating as the way it was written was not clear at first in many chapters.  I feel like it was overloaded with things and at the same time MISSING things.  The ending was NOT a surprise to me so 'thriller' seems a bit off.

This book just did not gel with me (and I am among the minority in that).  Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the author & publisher for allowing me the opportunity to review this book!

Legal thrillers are not my normal genre of choice, but I’m so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and requested this book.  I was not disappointed!!  This novel tackles several heard hitting scenarios that all parents fear, and knowing just how far you’ll go to protect family.  This experience was intense and utterly gripping.  

4 solid stars!!
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-Description-
We have our Nearly Normal Family, and the story is told from each of their perspectives-Adam (a pastor-kinda), Ulrika (a lawyer), and their daughter Stella.  It’s Stella’s 18th Birthday and shortly after her parents get the call that she has been arrested for murder of a man they have never heard of.

-Thoughts-
1. I love stories told from various points of view.  This one did not disappoint.  These were 3 very specific, very different voices.  We got to really know each of these main characters.  I would have loved if Stella’s best friend, Amina, also had a voice in this.
2. The ending for me wasn’t some great reveal. Maybe I’m just crazy and was expecting something that I didn’t see coming.  It seemed predictable, but that was ok.  Knowing that the ending wasn’t going to be some crazy reveal, may have lessened that disappointment.

-Similar Recommended Reads-
The Testament of Harold’s Wife
Sadie
The Silent Patient
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I really enjoyed this book---Celadon keeps putting out these awesome thrillers that I can not put down!  Seemingly a normal family here, husband wife and daughter going about their daily lives when all the sudden, the 18 year old daughter is arrested for murder.  And then, all is not as it had seemed.  And how far will the mother and father got to protect their daughter?  To what lengths will they bend their ethics and violate the morals which they have lived by their entire lives in which to help heir daughter?  This story is told in three parts, by each member of the family with each point of view more facts are learned. Is Stella guilty of murder?  The truths, lies and twists in this book are wonderful and kept me turning the pages until the very end.  Definitely worth reading!  Thanks so much for the ARC!!!!
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So. Look. I had some trouble connecting to the characters in this one. The whole thing left me feeling a little cold. I think in part because of the book’s translation to English, but also- and I’m guessing this was intentional- because the author has done something interesting by taking the traditionally expected genre character tropes and flipping the genders: in this case, the husband is over-dramatic and irrational, while the daughter and wife come across much colder and more calculated. Everyone here is an unreliable narrator hiding something(s), but the women in this book appear to have a lot more control over the situation at hand than the men do. Even the detective overseeing the murder investigation (a woman) knows much more than she’s letting on. With all that being said, you might be scratching your head wondering if I actually liked this book, and I did. A lot. In particular for the reason above, but I also thought the 3-part narrative structure lent itself to the overarching mystery and really allowed for the twists and turns to be revealed in an organic and authentic way. Just a solidly well-executed story that I definitely recommend.
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3.5 stars

This is one of my favorite genres to read, and this one pulled me in. The ending wasn't what I was anticipating ... thankfully! Some characters, such as Stella's father, weren't who I initially expected them to be. I haven't read many books based in Sweden, so that was enjoyable.

After his daughter Stella is accused of murder, Adam Sandell is convinced that she is innocent. He decides to do his own investigation to help prove her innocence. 

Stella is accused of murdering her (older) boyfriend. She knows what truly happened, but she's not talking. Her past causes others to view her as the most likely suspect.

Urika is a lawyer and knows what's needed to defend her daughter, and she sets out to get her released from jail. 

Evidence builds, and each family member will be faced with secrets that could either help or hurt Stella's case.

I like how the story was told in three POV's: Adam's (dad), Stella's, and Urika's (mom). That format gives the reader clear insight to all angles of the story as it unfolds. 

The book may leave the reader asking themselves, "How far would I go to protect my family and loved ones?"

I've read a number of books lately from Celadon Books, and they are certainly making a name for themselves in the publishing industry for putting out top-notch books!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.
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One thing is for certain, most families are normally dysfunctional.  The Beaver/Cleaver families only exist in Hollywood, but, of course, it’s always great to dream.

Take the Sandell family.  Adam, the father, was a pastor of the church.  Ulrika, the mother, is a criminal defense attorney, and they produced a daughter, Stella, who is sitting in jail awaiting a date for her trial so she can find out whether she’s going to be doing time, or doing time free and clear.  Trust and believe, there’s a huge difference!

How does a young teen get herself wrapped up in a brutal murder?  Hmm, well for starters, Stella had entirely too much ‘freedom’ to begin with.  I understand that parents would like their children to love them and think they are the ‘coolest parents on the planet,’ but the fact of the matter is, they need some structure and guidance, and Stella pretty much did what the hell she wanted to do.  That’s the first problem I had with this story.  However, in all fairness, this story, I believe takes place in Sweden, and perhaps they do things a little differently over there, but Stella appeared to be doing things a young lady in her twenties should be doing, instead of a teenager.  

Because of Stella’s fast nature, she found herself in adult situations, wherein she then wants to cry “I’m just a teen,” but anything else she felt like doing was fair game.  She meets Christopher in a bar.  Yep, a bar, folks, and she’s getting her drinking on with him and her bestie Almina, and they are having the time of their lives, until they weren’t.  Christopher ends up murdered in a playground while Stella has blood on her hands.  Seems pretty clear cut, right?  You couldn’t be more wrong.  As you should know, what you think is happening, isn’t always the case.  Right?

What I loved about this story is how you see each character’s perspective.  The author did an amazing job telling each character’s story in their own words which felt authentic and genuine.  They behaved the way I would imagine these characters to act.  But I felt Adam, the father, was a bit naïve when it came to how the law worked and I found that to be quite baffling considering his wife was a criminal attorney.  That’s sort of a stretch, perhaps?  I’m not an attorney but I’ve worked in law for over thirty years, and I know quite a bit about how the law works and people’s rights, however, Adam, seemed to be totally clueless and that frustrated me somewhat.  

Ulrika appeared to be so self-absorbed in her own little world that Stella and Adam got lost in the shuffle somehow. And she wondered why she and her daughter weren’t more mother and daughterly like?  As the reader continues along the path of mass destruction with the Sandell family, it will become clear just how far a person will go to protect his/her own.  This story tests and stretches the boundaries of what is a “normal” family and the dynamics that go along with that.  Overall, I felt this was a good book, but entirely too long.  It could have ended at 320 pages, instead of the over 400 mark.  And, I felt the ending let me down a little.  I had six scenarios playing in my head with how this was going to go, and I was praying the author would have taken me to one of those destinations, but ultimately, the author decided against that.  Hmm, not sure why, but I felt it would have been even more gripping had he veered down a different road.  Eh, I wasn’t the writer, so I give him credit for the amazing story he managed to put together.

Overall, the Sexy Nerd gives A Nearly Normal Family four family gatherings.  It was written expertly and with a great eye for detail told only by the crazy characters who inhabited the pages.  This book will definitely make you think on how far you would go to protect your child?  What are you willing to do?  Until your next mind blowing book, keep on reading!
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Can’t stop reading!  How far would you go to protect your family?  How well do you know your children?  How strong is your faith.?  There were a nearly normal family. Isn’t that good enough?  Until a man is murdered and the pastors daughter accused. As a parent, I can feel the anguish, the need to protect and defend, the ‘what if’?
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I absolutely loved this book!! I loved how the sections were broken up. I felt really invested in the characters and what happens to them.  This is a very well-written legal suspense novel. The characters were well developed and easy to identify with. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who likes this type of book!
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Exceptionally chilly book about interpersonal tensions and dynamics in a family.  Love the slow build up.
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A thrilling legal tale of family drama and murder. It begs the question, "do you really know your family?"
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I loved this book that I was fortunate enough to receive as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I will be telling everyone about it. I loved how you saw incidents from three different perspectives as each family member took their turn to tell the tale instead of going back and forth. I was dying to hear the truth and the story kept me engaged until the last sentence! I can really picture this as a major motion picture! So good!
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After hearing so much hype around this book, I had to totally check it out. Unfortunately it fell flat for me. It was a fast read with 3 alternating perspectives. Shorter chapters. The story just didnt do it for me. It bounced around alittle to much. I was really hoping to love this one but I just didnt.
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I really enjoyed this book and will be definitely be looking for more from this author. I liked how the book was split into different perspectives of each of the family members. I spent the entire book wondering whether Stella had actually killed Chris Olsen or not. I love it when a book can keep me guessing. I'm also so happy that the author had added the epilogue. I felt like I still had some questions that needed to be answered at the point of the conclusion of the trial. The epilogue helped to make the story complete.
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