Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Book Review: A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

Title: A Nearly Normal Family
Author: M.T. Edvardsson
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller
M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal 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 one another.

Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell 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?

Legal thrillers usually aren't my thing. In fact, I find them to be more a snooze fest than anything else. However, when I read the synopsis for A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson, I was intrigued. I just want to say that this book blew me away! It was that good!

The plot for A Nearly Normal Family is very intriguing indeed. Eighteen year old Stella becomes involved with an older man named Christopher. She's having the time of her life. When she learns more about her romantic interest, she's having a hard time believing the bad stuff is true. It's not long before Christopher is found murdered, and Stella is the main suspect. Told from the point of view from Stella's father, Stella, and Stella's mother, we learn what really happened that night, what led to all of this drama, and what happens afterwards. We also learn how far people will go to protect the ones they love. I found myself not wanting to guess what happened with this book. I wanted everything to be a complete surprise which it was. There are a few twists and turns throughout this novel which I did enjoy. I loved that this book tied up any loose ends by the end of the book, and nothing was left to speculation. I hate having to guess what happened after the main mystery has been solved, so I was thrilled when I had all my answers. I'm a stickler for closure!

The characters were all very well developed and fleshed out enough that they felt real. We are introduced to Adam, Stella's father, first. We see his relationship with his daughter, his wife, and with God since he's a pastor. He relies heavily on his faith to get him through things. He's an upstanding member of the community and very trustworthy. I found Adam to be the most interesting to read about. It was interesting to read about his response to his daughter being accused of murder. Next, we are introduced to Stella's point of view. Stella is accused of murdering her boyfriend, Christopher. She's eighteen and has a devil may care attitude when it comes to everything. Some points throughout the book, I felt she was innocent of the crime, but there were other times she seemed very guilty. I couldn't figure her out. It was interesting to read about what had happened throughout her young life to get to the predicament she was in. Finally, we learn the perspective from Ulrika, Stella's mother. I didn't think I would be able to connect with Ulrika right at first, but I found myself understanding her quickly. Ulrika is a criminal defense attorney, so it was interesting reading about her perspective on everything. I was happy that Ulrika didn't use legal jargon too often. Although we don't get to read things from her perspective, the character of Amina, Stella's best friend, was also intriguing. I loved reading about the girls' friendship throughout the years and how loyal they were to one another.

The pacing was spot on! Every time the story would change perspectives, I thought I'd get bored with the change of character, but I was sucked in right away same as before. I devoured page after page of A Nearly Normal Family. I couldn't wait to find out more and learn about motives and what would happen.

Trigger warnings include profanity, alcohol use, drug use, violence (not very graphic), rape (not very graphic, mentions of sex (not graphic), and murder.

Overall, A Nearly Normal Family is a very intriguing read that pulls you in from the very first page and doesn't let you go even after it ends. I would definitely recommend A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson to those aged 18+ who like to get lost in well written thrillers!
(A special thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC paperback of A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)

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