A Nearly Normal Family - M. T. Evardsson

A family can hide a multitude of secrets from the world, but what happens when they hide them from each other? A mother and father a desperately grasping for an ounce of truth when their daughter is arrested for murder but they soon come to realise that the truth isn't always what sets us free, sometimes it's lies.

I'm so lucky to have been included in the readalong for this novel arranged by Tandem Collective! The book itself was gifted along with some prompts to get us thinking about the book content!

I was immediately hooked with this novel as it was giving us a narrative after the crime had already been committed, not leading up to it. This kind of narrative is always appealing to me because I love the contrast between current actions and flashbacks to what the characters felt led up to the event. The novel is split into three parts so we can read the thoughts of the father; Adam, the daughter; Stella, and the mother; Ulrika. Initially Adam didn't feel like a reliable narrator and that pushed me forward to read more so I could find out what was forcing his actions, by having his narrative first I was desperate to see how the rest unravelled because he was so confident his daughter wasn't responsible. In contrast I loved Ulrika's narrative because it was so dry and straight to the point, Evardsson beautifully captured their differing personalities and somehow got Stella to be a perfect mix of the two.

As the novel progresses it becomes clear that we have to work toward the answers ourselves and not rely on the character narration and I loved having to put my mind to it and discussing it with the readalong group just added to that experience. Little hints here and there throughout the novel changed my mind every time as to whether I thought Stella was guilty. These hints kept me guessing and guessing right to the end and that is exactly what I look for in a mystery.

I couldn't 100% agree with some character choices and some of Adam's narrative felt a little stiff in that although I could get his points and personality it didn't mesh well with the rest of the book. I also loved that Evardsson tried incorporating a therapist into Stella's life, but it seemed a little odd to include it and make it so significant for her to then walk away.

This is definitely something I'd recommend, especially if you're looking for a book club read! Bouncing ideas off of each other was a wonderful experience when going through this.

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