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?
I enjoyed this legal thriller about a daughter accused of murder and the fallout for the family — how the charges effect them, how they react, what the parents are willing to do to protect their daughter and their “happy family” appearance.
The story is told from 3 points of view, the pastor father, the lawyer mother, and the rebellious daughter accused of murder. As the novel evolves, the family history comes out and how outward appearances are not always accurate, how “normal” is not what it always appears to be once the surface is cracked, and what families, even troubled ones, are willing to do to protect each other.
The differing points of view were a good way to explore this family and their reasons for how they acted. I liked the tension and the uncertainty around who actually committed the crime. This is not an “action packed” thriller, more of a study and I did find some parts slow, especially during the father’s point of view section. Overall, though, I liked this book and the playing with the idea of what normal is and that behind closed doors we are different from the persona we present.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy of this book.