A Nearly Normal Family
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"A Nearly Normal Family" Characters Analysis

By M.T. Edvardsson

mystery | 400 pages | Published in NaN

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 of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?


Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Stella SandellProtagonist
Adam SandellStella's Father
Ulrika SandellStella's Mother
Amina SalamDefense Attorney
Lennart OscarssonProsecutor
Rebecka NilssonWitness

Role Identification

Stella Sandell is the protagonist of the novel "A Nearly Normal Family" by M.T. Edvardsson. She is the daughter of Adam and Ulrika Sandell.

Adam Sandell is Stella's father, who is accused of a heinous crime.

Ulrika Sandell is Stella's mother, who is torn between loyalty towards her husband and her daughter.

Amina Salam is the defense attorney representing Stella's father, Adam.

Lennart Oscarsson is the prosecutor in Adam's trial.

Rebecka Nilsson is a witness in the trial.

Character Descriptions

Stella Sandell

Stella Sandell is a 17-year-old girl who is intelligent, independent, and ambitious. She is described as having a strong sense of justice and is determined to find the truth about her father's alleged crime. Stella is portrayed as a loving daughter, but also as someone who is willing to question her own family's actions. She is curious and persistent, often delving into dangerous situations to uncover the truth.

Adam Sandell

Adam Sandell is a middle-aged man and Stella's father. He is a pastor and respected member of the community. Adam is portrayed as a loving and caring father who would do anything to protect his family. However, as the story unfolds, his true character becomes more ambiguous, and doubts about his innocence arise.

Ulrika Sandell

Ulrika Sandell is Stella's mother and Adam's wife. She is depicted as a conflicted character torn between her loyalty towards her husband and her desire to protect her daughter. Ulrika is portrayed as a strong and resilient woman who is willing to make sacrifices for her family. Throughout the novel, her actions and emotions reveal a complex inner struggle.

Amina Salam

Amina Salam is a defense attorney who takes on Adam Sandell's case. She is a skilled and determined lawyer who believes in justice. Amina is portrayed as a compassionate and dedicated professional who fights for her clients' rights. She becomes an important ally for Stella and plays a crucial role in unraveling the truth about the alleged crime.

Lennart Oscarsson

Lennart Oscarsson is the prosecutor in Adam Sandell's trial. He is depicted as a meticulous and relentless attorney who is determined to prove Adam's guilt. Lennart is portrayed as a formidable adversary for Amina Salam and becomes a central figure in the courtroom drama.

Rebecka Nilsson

Rebecka Nilsson is a witness in Adam Sandell's trial. She has a complex relationship with both Adam and Stella, which adds to the intrigue of the story. Rebecka's testimony becomes a pivotal moment in the trial, raising questions about the motives and actions of the characters involved.

Character Traits

Stella Sandell

  • Intelligent
  • Independent
  • Ambitious
  • Curious
  • Persistent
  • Loving

Adam Sandell

  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Ambiguous
  • Protective
  • Respected

Ulrika Sandell

  • Conflicted
  • Loyal
  • Strong
  • Resilient

Amina Salam

  • Skilled
  • Determined
  • Compassionate
  • Dedicated

Lennart Oscarsson

  • Meticulous
  • Relentless
  • Formidable

Rebecka Nilsson

  • Complex
  • Intriguing
  • Involved

Character Background

Stella Sandell comes from a seemingly "nearly normal" family. Her father, Adam, is a respected pastor, and her mother, Ulrika, appears to be a supportive wife and mother. Stella's background is one of stability and love, which makes the accusations against her father even more shocking.

Adam Sandell has a long history as a pastor and is known for his dedication to his community. He is well-respected and trusted by many. Ulrika Sandell is a devoted wife and mother who has stood by Adam's side throughout their marriage.

Amina Salam, the defense attorney, has a successful legal career and has handled numerous high-profile cases. Lennart Oscarsson, the prosecutor, is known for his relentless pursuit of justice and has a reputation for winning cases.

Rebecka Nilsson's background is intertwined with the Sandell family, but her true motivations and intentions remain unclear until later in the story.

Character Arcs

Stella Sandell

Stella's character arc is one of self-discovery and the pursuit of truth. As the trial progresses, she begins to question her own beliefs and the actions of her family. Stella's determination to find the truth leads her down a dangerous path, where she must confront uncomfortable realities. Throughout the novel, she grows emotionally and becomes more aware of the complexities of human nature.

Adam Sandell

Adam's character arc is one of uncertainty and the erosion of trust. Initially portrayed as a loving and caring father, doubts about his innocence begin to surface. As the trial unfolds, his character becomes more ambiguous, leaving readers questioning his true nature.

Ulrika Sandell

Ulrika's character arc is one of internal conflict and loyalty. She is torn between her loyalty towards her husband and her duty as a mother to protect her daughter. Ulrika's emotions and actions fluctuate throughout the novel as she grapples with the choices she must make.

Amina Salam

Amina's character arc is one of determination and professional growth. As the defense attorney, she is initially skeptical of Adam's innocence but becomes increasingly convinced of his genuine nature. Amina's commitment to justice and her dedication to her client drive her to uncover the truth and fight for what she believes is right.

Lennart Oscarsson

Lennart's character arc is one of relentless pursuit and a desire for justice. He is determined to prove Adam's guilt and uses all means necessary to achieve his goal. As the trial progresses, Lennart's determination intensifies, putting him in direct conflict with Amina Salam.

Rebecka Nilsson

Rebecka's character arc is one of mystery and revelation. Her true motivations and intentions are slowly revealed throughout the novel, adding complexity to the story and impacting the lives of the other characters.


Stella's relationship with her parents, Adam and Ulrika, is central to the story. As the trial unfolds, the dynamics between them become strained, and Stella is forced to question her own beliefs about her family.

The relationship between Stella and Amina Salam evolves from a professional alliance to a mentorship of sorts. Amina becomes a guiding figure for Stella as she navigates the complexities of the trial and seeks the truth about her father.

The relationship between Stella and Lennart Oscarsson is one of opposition. Lennart is determined to prove Adam's guilt, while Stella is equally determined to uncover the truth and protect her family.

Rebecka Nilsson's relationship with both Adam and Stella adds an element of mystery and suspense to the story. Her interactions with these characters have a significant impact on the trial and the overall plot.

In conclusion, "A Nearly Normal Family" by M.T. Edvardsson features a diverse cast of characters with complex relationships and intriguing character arcs. The story delves into themes of loyalty, truth, and the lengths individuals will go to protect their loved ones. The characters' traits and backgrounds contribute to the overall suspense and tension of the novel, making it an engaging and thought-provoking read.