Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Nearly Normal Family” as Want to Read:
A Nearly Normal Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Nearly Normal Family

(Lundasviten #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  40,109 ratings  ·  4,880 reviews
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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Celadon Books (first published 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Nearly Normal Family, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
celadonbooks ARCs were sent to those who won on Goodreads or signed up via a Facebook giveaway ad for an ARC. We do not send to those who have not signed up somewh…moreARCs were sent to those who won on Goodreads or signed up via a Facebook giveaway ad for an ARC. We do not send to those who have not signed up somewhere :) ENJOY!!(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Stephanie Scher
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,109 ratings  ·  4,880 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Nearly Normal Family
Meredith (Slowly Catching Up)
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
“We were a perfectly ordinary family, and then everything changed.”

A Nearly Normal Family is a tautly written psychological thriller about an 18-year-old girl accused of murder. Her seemingly perfect parents will do whatever it takes to protect her, even if it means destroying their family.

18-year-old Stella is accused of murdering her lover. Her father, Adam a pastor, and her mother, Ulrika a high power attorney, are determined to free their daughter. Doing so forces them to come to terms
This book just didn’t work-out for me the way I‘d hoped.
I read some fantastic reviews and was anxious to dig into this one, but for some reason it just never “clicked “with me.

Stella is seventeen and enjoying as much time as possible with her best friend Amina. Their carefree days are growing short as they both begin the journey into adulthood. Stella is off to Asia for her trip of a lifetime, while Amina plans to start medical school.
Everything goes sideways when Stella sneaks back into her
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Celadon should be to commercial fiction what Kleenex is to tissue. In other words, this imprint should be a brand name. I haven’t read everything they’ve published but what I have read has been outstanding. These folks know what they’re doing.

A Nearly Normal Family is not your average legal thriller. There is a murder, a trial and we don’t know who-dun-it but the family dynamics play an even greater role. The story is told in three parts from each member of a small nuclear family: the controlli
A slow burn that's hot… 4.5, rounded up

I usually don’t like slow burns, but this crime drama had a fire that warmed me right up. Did the nearly normal daughter commit this heinous crime? Did the nearly normal parents act normally?

Here is what the husband said about their lives:

“On Monday nights, my wife went to yoga and on Thursdays I played tennis. We had a mortgage, which we dutifully made payments on; we sorted our trash and used our blinkers and kept to the speed limit and always returned li
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars!

Kept me highly intrigued and guessing from start to finish!

Eighteen-year-old Stella’s father is a pastor. Her mother is a criminal defence attorney. They paint the portrait of the “picture-perfect family” until the day Stella is arrested for murder. How could she be connected to an older mans brutal death? Stella’s parents are devastated as she is held in prison awaiting her trial. They do whatever they can to support their daughter.

This novel is told through three interesting perspec
Chelsea Humphrey
Book of the Month choice for June 2019

3-3.5 STARS

I can see why this slow burning legal thriller is garnering loads of hype; it's the perfect example of a steady building of suspense that explodes into a tantalizing climax that, for my part anyway, I didn't quite see coming. Based on this alone, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to readers searching for a substantial thriller full of meaty characterization and deep introspection into family dynamics and secrets. My issues mainly stemmed
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-m-intrigued
3.45 so it cannot rounded up 4 , stays as 3 (I’m merciless grader, if I would be a real teacher, my students could detest my guts!) psychological, legal, who is innocent, whodunit, why all the characters are so irritating stars!

Firstly I wanna confess that I adore Swedish and Scandinavia thrillers so much. I think it’s all about the geography, the hard conditions of the weather create harsher, tougher, quick thinker, merciless people who are so good to open the gates of dark side. So they call
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing

"What is a lie? Just as there are different sorts of truths, there must be different sorts of lies. White lies, for example - I've never shied away from those. Better a kind lie than a hurtful truth, I've always thought.

But of course, this was different."

This is a complex multi-layered domestic drama that kept me chewing my cuticles until the very end.

Every character in this book is lying.

A pastor and father
A lawyer and mother
Their teen daughter and murder suspect
And a best friend

Each ly
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
MT Edvardsson writes a compelling psychological thriller in the dark and disturbing Scandi-Noir tradition which gives the reader insights into Swedish law. Set in the small Swedish city of Lund, a highly respectable and upstanding local family, Adam, a Church of Sweden pastor, his wife, Ulrika, an ambitious go getting criminal defense lawyer, are horrified and shocked when their strong willed, volatile teenage daughter, Stella, is arrested on suspicion of the brutal murder of a wealthy shady old ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apparently, Legal Thrillers are something I am into now, because I f*ing loved this!!

I listened to the audiobook and feel it was brilliantly cast and narrated. I definitely think that helped to influence my overall opinion on this story.

I thought the format was so clever. The three perspectives were presented in separate chunks as opposed to alternating back and forth. I am not sure I have ever read a book that was arranged a narrative in that way.

It began with The Father's perspective. Adam, a
Holly  B
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A murder mystery, some courtroom drama and a family trying to hold it together.

Set in a Swedish city, a respectable family of three - Adam, a pastor, his wife- Ulrika who is a defense attorney and their 18 y/o daughter, Stella. They are about to hit the worst speed bump in their lives. Stella is arrested for murder.

Absolutely loved the narrative that gave the perspective from all three family members. We learn some secrets from their past, how they are dealing with the crime and some actions
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Whose truth is nothing but the truth?

M.T. Edvardsson presents a heavy domestic drama wrapped around the Sandell family. From all indications this is a small, compact little family of Adam, Ulrika, and Stella. As the layers are peeled back, there's quite a bit beneath the surface.

Edvardsson sets his story down within the town of Lund in Sweden. There's a definite pendulum that swings back and forth in regard to their ever changing identities. Adam, a pastor in the Church of Sweden, was once an av
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it
A Nearly Normal Family examines the three members of the Sandell family when daughter Stella is accused of murder. In the aftermath of her arrest, Stella, along with her father, a pastor, and her mother, a defense attorney, must each dig deep down inside and examine what lengths they are willing to go to protect their family.

First, the good: I found the writing style to be engaging throughout, and felt compelled to keep turning the pages. I thought the subject of the story is interesting, and I
Clever, compulsive, & emotive!

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY by M.T. EDVARDSSON was quite the unique, intense, and fascinating story. I was thoroughly entertained and loved how this story was broken up into three very powerful sections from each of the family members. The first section from the father's point of view started off a little shaky for me but then once I got to Stella's (the daughter's POV) I was hooked. This was such an emotionally gripping story that was absolutely unputdownable! Highly re
ReadAlongWithSue [Catching-Up]
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a domestic drama based thriller that had all the elements I loved.

Mom, dad, annoying secretive daughter.

I had one of the characters under suspicion but just kept wobbling between 50/50.

It’s really rounded and written so well you stroll from page to page with ease, however tension does build that Spurs you on to find answers to your questions.

A lot of the time I was saying “oh....I didn’t expect that”.

I’m definitely following this author for future books. Definitely!
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-read, netgalley
3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

When you live with Dysfunction, you become Dysfunction. Just ask the Sandells. They have it down pat.

When Stella a teenager, is arrested for the murder of a successful businessman, parents Ulrika and Adam are beside themselves. Adam is a Pastor whose whole life has been based on honesty. His daughter’s arrest shakes his belief system to the core. Ulrika is an Attorney. The law is everything to her and success has always come before all else, even her family.

As far as
Katie B
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can't get enough of family dramas and this was one of the better ones I have read recently. I thought the family dynamics were fascinating and the mystery of whether the daughter was innocent or guilty easily sustained my interest.

Stella Sandell is 18 years old and is accused of murdering a man. Stella's father is a pastor and her mother is a defense attorney and both are struggling with the realization their daughter could be found guilty of the crime. The story is told from the perspectives
Elyse Walters
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
When both parents lie separately… and keep it from each other…trying to protect their child...
you gotta wonder about their faith in each other and faith in their child.
Their 18 year old daughter
was in a cell suspected of murder.

Lund, Sweden:
Not having been...
I looked Lund up on Google and drooled over the beauty of the small University town...
where this ‘playground-murder’-suspense story takes place.

When Stella‘s father, Adam Sandell, a pastor, viewed the websites of the evening tabloids, he w
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It takes a long time to build a life but only an instant for it to crumble."

Imagine that your 18 year old daughter has been accused of murdering a much older and successful business man? What would you do as a parent to protect her? This is what you will be asking yourself as you read A Nearly Normal Family.

"Until so recently, we were a perfectly ordinary family. Now we are prisoners under a merciless spotlight."

Adam, a well respected pastor, and his wife, Ulrika, a successful defens

A man is brutally murdered and Stella, an 18 yr old teenager is the accused. This slow burn domestic drama is told in three parts, narrated by each member of Stella’s nuclear family. Adam, the father, is an over-controlling pastor, Ulrika, the mother, is a criminal defense attorney who is largely emotionally and physically absent, and Stella is the rebellious teenage daughter.

I liked how each member had their own section instead of switching POV each chapter. But, from the start, something felt
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
A Nearly Normal Family was our July pick for The Traveling Friends Goodreads Reading Group. This one started off seeming like a normal legal thriller here and even though it wasn’t the gripping read I was expecting here there wasn’t anything normal about this legal thriller, domestic/family drama, whodunit and courtroom drama all in one.

Give me a story with a family in crisis and I am all over it. The story did start off a bit slow for me until about 65% in and then things picked up and I was o
I felt so many things as I read A Nearly Normal Family. The parents of eighteen year old Stella are professionals, with dad Adam being a well respected pastor and mom Ulrika being an attorney. Stella has always been her own person, more likely to rebel against what she is told or is expected of her than to do the right thing. Over the years, as Stella has acted out and rebelled, her parents have tended to make excuses for her or play down her misdeeds, rather than trying to reel in Stella's bad ...more
Theresa Alan
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel, which is part family drama, part crime mystery.

The book opens from the first-person perspective of the father, who is a pastor. His eighteen-year-old daughter is being accused of murdering a man fifteen years her senior. Stella has always been Daddy’s little girl, even if she has been difficult these last few years.

The second part of the novel is told from the POV of Stella, who is waiting for trial in prison. She’d always thought Swedish prisons were basically like hotel
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adam and Ulrika seem like a normal family, trying to bring up their teenage daughter Stella to know right from wrong. When Stella is arrested on suspicion of killing Chris Olsen,it comes as a shock to Adam a pastor, who is respected by the community and his hard working Lawyer wife Ulrika.
Quote “It takes a long time to build a life, but only an instant for it to crumble.”

This story is told from the points of view both the parents and Stella. As each one recollects what happened before and after
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-crime
A well written and consistently thought provoking legal thriller set in Sweden that kept me entertained from start to finish.

How well do you know your family and how far would you go to protect your child are the questions at the heart of this well written novel

An 18 year girl is accused of of murdering a 32 year old man, an ordinary teenager from an upstanding family, her parents Uirika and Adam find themselves in a situation that is the stuff of nightmares and we watch as they frantically tr
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Celadon Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
”Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. -Romans 12:9”

You know that moment when your entire family is yelling at each other and you think Wow, my family is so far from normal and you wonder if your family will ever be normal. If you have, read this book. Because I can guarantee that your family isn’t nearly as f**ked up as the Sandell family.

A Nearly Normal Family follows
Larry H
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
How far would you go to save a family member? Are there lines you wouldn’t cross?⁣

“It takes a long time to build a life, but only an instant for it to crumble.”⁣

The Sandells seemed like every other family—Adam was a pastor, Ulrika was a lawyer, and their 18-year-old daughter, Stella, caused them some challenges and stresses through the years. But nothing prepared them for how their lives would be derailed when Stella is arrested for murder—the brutal murder of a man in his 30s, with whom she a
j e w e l s
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it

Deep characterizations.
Dark story line.
Dysfunctional family dynamics.
Deliberate, slow burn.

Definitely glad I listened to this one.
Dynamic Audio book!
If you love character-based novels, ones that are legal thrillers, or domestic fiction, you MUST read this novel. “A Nearly Normal Family” is one of the best legal thriller novels I’ve read this year (2019). Actually, it was an audible so I heard it and the audible production is suburb.

The story begins with Stella, the daughter being accused of murder. Stella’s father is a pastor and is a parent who feels he’s losing control over his daughter. Stella is turning eighteen and is a bit of a hellio
Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
A gripping courtroom drama that will have you asking yourself- what would you do? How far would you go to protect your family? Would you compromise every single thing you believe in?

There really was not a lot that is "nearly normal" with this family. They start out as the picture perfect family of three. Adam- the husband and father whom is a pastor. Ulrika- the wife, mom and defense attorney. Stella the 18 year old daughter who is gearing up to travel Asia. Sounds like a perfectly upstanding "n
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Goda grannar (Lundasviten, #2)
  • The Birthday Girl
  • Necessary People
  • Man of the Year
  • Theme Music
  • The Wolf Wants In
  • Her Daughter's Mother
  • The Swallows
  • Stone Cold Heart (Cat Kinsella, #2)
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow
  • Pretty Guilty Women
  • Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #2)
  • Temper
  • The Murder List
  • Someone Knows
  • Girl in the Rearview Mirror
  • The Last Book Party
  • Lost You
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Other books in the series

Lundasviten (3 books)
  • Goda grannar (Lundasviten, #2)
  • En familjetragedi (Lundasviten, #3)

Articles featuring this book

Comforting cozies, courtroom theatrics, and cold cases that warm back up...mystery and thriller subgenres are bigger and better than ever these...
221 likes · 95 comments
“Being a parent means never being able to relax.” 8 likes
“I consider myself to be a good person. That sounds arrogant, of course, if not self-important or superior. But I don’t mean it like that. I’m a person with an abundance of failings, a person who has made innumerable mistakes and errors. I am acutely aware of this, and the first to admit it. What I mean is that I always act with good intentions, out of love and care. I have always wanted to do the right thing.” 7 likes
More quotes…