M.T. Edvardsson has created a drama about parent's struggles when their only child stands trial for murder. Told in three parts, first the father, Adam gives his take on parenting of Stella up to the point of her being taken in for questioning pertaining to the murder of Christopher Olsen, a boyfriend he didn't know she had. Adam is a Pastor for the Church of Sweden and has balanced his calling, while being married to an atheist and raising their child. Next, Stella gives her account of her life before meeting Chris, their brief but intense relationship and her time in jail awaiting trial. Finally, Ulrika, Stella's Mom, presents her perceptions of parenting Stella and observing her at the trial. Ulrika is a criminal defense attorney and her insights and emotions are captivating and intriguing.
There are several extenuating circumstances that arise as the story progresses that keep the reader puzzled and challenged as these change the dynamic of the timeline and possibilities. The book slowly accelerates into a tumult of questions eventually answered, which once delivered serve to bring forth new questions! I was hooked, you will be too.
Don't let the fact that this book takes place in Sweden, while it is a nice setting, these events are not limited to the environment. The only real difference is the judicial procedure, which operates a bit differently than that of the U.S. but is similar to most Western cultures, with the burden of proof by the state. This could have been set in your community or even happened down your street.
The characters are well developed and resemble your neighbors and maybe your family! Their voices are clear and evocative. Their concerns and fears are utterly reasonable. Their hopes and dreams are rational and attainable. This could have happened anywhere and to anyone. Set in the present, it is timeless. The key aspects of character and events have existed from the beginning of time.
The story has depth and while it isn't told quickly, the details are necessary and add both realism and appeal of the situations we observe. Its appeal is accessible to both men and women. Those who have raised children would find its telling especially perceptive.