Sunday, February 10, 2019

A nearly normal family

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson,  Rachel Willson-Broyles  390 pages  I read a galley - book is due to be published in June, 2019 (not on order yet for SLPL)

How well do you know your child? If you suspected they were capable of murder, how far would you go to protect them? Could you ever forgive yourself?

19 year-old Stella is accused of murdering a man almost 15 years old her senior. An ordinary teen from a solid, upstanding family, it seems incomprehensible that she could have committed this crime. However, even as her parents defend her, there is doubt in their minds. How did Stella even know this man? And is she capable of murder? Told from three different viewpoints, this book takes you through the story from the perspectives of Stella's parents and Stella, herself. It's clear that Stella may not be forthcoming about what happened, and also clear that her parents may be willing to cross dangerous lines to protect her.

This story isn't just about solving a did-she-or-didn't-she mystery, but grapples with family dynamics and explores just how far a parent will go to protect their child, even as they doubt them. For Stella's father, a pastor, there is also the exploration of questioning one's own faith, which gives an added layer to this story. The tautly written story, told in an unusual three-part perspective, does something which I found especially intriguing: it reveals things about the characters and how they relate to each other, while at the same time only giving glimpses of what the truth about the murder is. It makes this story intensely suspenseful in multiple ways, which made for a fascinating read.

This is a good choice for readers who enjoy being kept on the edge of their seat with suspense, and who like books by Megan Abbott and Tana French.

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