Taut. Exciting. Realistic. Fun!

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A friend from Bookstagram sent me her pristine ARC of this book, but even though it was on the way I got greedy and bought the audiobook. Edvardsson created a taut, shocking, realistic psychological thriller. As a mother I had so much compassion for the characters and found their stories completely believable.

In A Nearly Normal Family we meet a family of three. Eighteen-year-old Stella is accused of murdering a man that police are calling her lover even though he is 15 years her senior and nobody has heard of him. Her father, Adam is a pastor and from the first page we think he is hiding evidence that might implicate Stella. His role as a pastor makes it tense and stressful as he feels a log of guilt over his role. Stella's mother and Adam's wife, Ulrika, is a high powered attorney. She is determined to use her knowledge of the law to make sure her daughter goes free. Both of them show the signs of shock, grief, anger and hope. Both of them must question their personal beliefs and come to terms with their own frailties and flaws. It feels like the author allowed me to be a fly on the wall listening in on all of this family's secrets.

The author tells the story in three parts. Each told from the perspective of one member of the family. It shifts back and forth in time, exposing the story, revealing the facts and stripping away the walls that hide the truth. It is a bit shocking every time the narrative shifts. I found each shift jarring and fascinating at the same time. I usually felt as though I was beginning to understand the facts and the characters, and then the shift would prove me wrong. However, that is something I loved. It made the mystery deeper and more complex. But the manner of storytelling allowed me to have a deeper compassion for all three of them as well as to have a deeper understanding of each of them.

I am a big lover of character portraits. I want to feel connected to the thoughts and emotions of the characters. I want them to be flawed and realistic. I want to connect. And this book is an intricate look into the lives of these three people. The mystery isn't dark and twisty, and it isn't a crazy, action-packed ride. The story is a bit slower moving and is revealed in tiny moments. And, this is exactly why I loved it.

It is a book about family, love, hope, truth, fear and so much more. It plays with how we understand truth and reality. I found it a fun, intriguing and beautiful read.