Book Review: A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | @HelgaFlatland @rosie_hedger @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

 

My Thoughts

A Modern Family follows three siblings – Liv, Ellen and Hakon, their partners, and children as they travel to Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday. During the celebrations they find out that their parents have decided to divorce and this sends shockwaves through the family.

The novel is told from the perspectives of the three siblings and the way it unfolds is so well done. First we follow Liv, the eldest child, and she is someone who likes to feel in control who thinks she can keep everything together so the news from her parents knocks her world off its axis. When it moves to Ellen, the middle sibling, we see an overlap of the revelation of their parents announcement and her reaction to it before we then learn more about her life. She keeps herself to herself a lot more than her brother and sister. The novel then goes back to Liv, and then to Ellen again before we hear from Hakon, the younger brother and the baby of the family.

I’ve found it so hard to get my thoughts in any kind of order to write this review because I just connected with the novel so much. I’m one of three (and we have similar age gaps between us as the siblings in this novel) so the different perspectives all had something in them that I either recognised in myself or in one of my siblings, or in how we interacted with each other. I adored that the love the members of the family all have for each other is really clear, they have their conflicts but ultimately they do all care how the others are doing. But within that you see how the things that are small to one sibling can cause another to be crumbling inside and they just don’t get how or why they are reacting in the way they are. This is so heart-wrenchingly true that I wanted to cry at these moments.

Helga Flatland’s writing has a delicate poignancy that also really gets you in the gut at times. It’s insightful and it makes you think about situations you’ve been in with your own family.  I’m the eldest child in my family and I could understand how Liv felt a lot of the time. There is a pressure on being the oldest, right from childhood you’re expected to be more grown up and to look after, and be a good example for, the younger children. It stays with you into adulthood and it does shape who you become. I did find that I identified more with Ellen, the middle child in this novel, as the story progressed though. I felt for her as she struggled silently, privately and didn’t feel she could share what she was going through with her family. I could totally see why she didn’t say anything but I was willing her to. Sometimes the people we’re meant to have the closest relationships with are the very ones that it’s so hard to open up to. Hakon’s was the section that surprised me the most. Throughout the book, through his sisters’ eyes he’s someone who doesn’t want to conform to society’s stereotypes. He doesn’t believe in monogamy or marriage. I thought I knew the kind of person he was but when I got to see his perspective it was really lovely to see who he is behind all the big statements.

A Modern Family is a stunning novel – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that so captured what it is to be a sibling, that captured the complicated dynamics of a family so perfectly and with such brilliant insight. At times this book made me cry, and at other times I was smiling to myself as I recognised a silly misunderstanding. I haven’t stopped thinking about these characters since I finished reading the book and I already want to read it all over again. I have to commend Rosie Hedger, the translator of A Modern Family, too because this felt like a novel that had been written in English. The way she has worked with Helga Flatland’s words is wonderful. I am certain that this will be one of my books of 2019, it’s incredible! I love it so much that I’m definitely going to buy a print copy (I read it on Kindle) to have with my favourite books on my bookcase! I can’t find all the words to do justice to A Modern Family but please just take my word for how beautiful it is and add it to your summer reading stacks now!

Many thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

A Modern Family is due out on 13 June and can be pre-ordered here.

 

About the Author

Helga Author Pic

 

Helga Flatland ( born 16 September 1984) is a Norwegian novelist and children’s writer. She was born in Notodden and grew up in Flatdal. She made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Bli hvis du kan. Reis hvis du må, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ debutantpris . The novel was the first in a trilogy, and was followed by Alle vil hjem. Ingen vil tilbake (2012) and Det finnes ingen helhet (2013). In 2015 she published the novel Vingebelastning, as well as the children’s book Eline får besøk. In 2015 Flatland was awarded the Amalie Skram Prize and Mads Wiel Nygaard’s Endowment.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

modern fam blog poster 2019

 

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This Week in Books (29 May 2019)!

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

This is my current audio book, which I got from Scribd on a whim and I’m really enjoying it. The narrator is great and the novel itself has drawn me in very quickly so I’m keen to have more time to listen very soon!

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This book is so good! The opening chapter made the book seem like it was going one way and then it turned out to be completely different to what I was expecting so I was hooked from then on. I’m about a quarter of the way through this and am so intrigued to find out what happened!

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This is such a lovely read and I’m very much enjoying it. I was a little concerned that it might stray into being a bit mawkish with the protagonist counting down the remained days of her life (having being given a terminal diagnosis) but it’s not at all. It’s funny, it’s heart-warming and very moving in places.

 

Then

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

The cover of this book has a sticker on it that says ‘Warning: you will burn through this in one sitting’ and I can honestly say they weren’t wrong! I picked this up on Monday afternoon and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished reading. It was such a good read! I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in June so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime I definitely recommend this one!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

This is my second Karin Slaughter novel and I loved it, this is my favourite book of hers so far! I found it really hard to put down, it was so gripping. I think I need to look into starting her Will Trent series books next as I’m definitely now a fan of her writing!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

I really enjoyed this book, it will make a perfect holiday read so I recommend pre-ordering it now. It’s about four friends who all go on holiday together with their husbands and children but secrets and lies unfold and someone ends up dead!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This book was really good. It’s about two sisters and their partners but life gets messy and the fallout is shocking. It’s a great look at relationships and I really enjoyed it.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This book is incredible. It follows three adult siblings – each section is narrated by one of them and you get to see situations from their different viewpoints. It’s one of the best written books I’ve ever read about what it is to be a sibling and I adored it. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in June so please look out for that.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I loved this book too. I read most of it out in the garden in the sunshine over the course of a few afternoons and it felt like a real treat. There’s something really haunting about this novel and it’s one that I think will stay with me.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I had an ARC of this book but I also bought the audio and I part listened and part read it. I really enjoyed this novel, it had me hooked all the way through and was very hard to put down. The audio was excellent so I recommend that if you like listening to books.

 

Next

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I’ve been sent this for review and am very much looking forward to reading it. It sounds like it’s something a bit different to what I’ve been reading recently so I think I’m going to enjoy it.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I keep hearing really good things about this and as I loved her previous novel I’ve been keen to get to it. I have a copy on my Kindle so am planning to make this my next ebook read!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I posted my 20 Books of Summer reading plans yesterday and this book is on there. This is the book that I most want to get to this summer so I’m aiming to start my challenge with this book on Monday. I can’t wait to get started!


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

My New Book Haul | Stacking the Shelves (25 May 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Purchased eBooks

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella’s writing and did originally get a copy of this through Pigeonhole but I couldn’t manage to read on my phone screen so I was delighted to find Surprise Me on the kindle daily deal this week. I’ll either read it on my kindle or I might also buy the audible version so I can listen. Either way I’m excited to get to this book!

Degrees of Guilt by H. S. Chandler

I read a fab review of this book on Kaisha’s blog (The Writing Garnet)  recently and just had to immediately buy a copy. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, I do love a thriller that gives you something to think about.

 

ARCs

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I forgot to put this book on my Stacking the Shelves post last week so I’m adding it now. I’m halfway through reading this already and I’m loving it. It’s a family drama told from different sibling’s perspectives and it’s so good, and so believable.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I also missed this one off my post last week so it’s also being added a week late. I am so looking forward to reading my first thriller by this author so think this may well be the next book I grab off my TBR.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I was delighted to be invited to take part in the blog tour for this novel as it sounds like such a brilliant and different novel. I’m really keen to get to this one too!

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was already on my radar as being one I needed to read as soon as it was released so you can imagine how excited I was to get an ARC. I think this will be a moving read but one that I can tell I’m going to love.

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

I’m going to be honest and say that I was drawn to this book by the stunning cover! Once I read the blurb I knew I had to grab this one on NetGalley. I love books about relationships, especially thrillers and this one sounds like the perfect thriller to read over the summer!

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

I’ve really loved reading this series and am sad that this one is the last one but at the same time I can’t wait to find out what Angela and Jenny are getting up to now.

I Spy by Claire Kendall

I read my first Claire Kendall book a few months ago and really enjoyed it so I was delighted to find she has a new book coming out. The premise of this one sounds really gripping so I couldn’t resist it on NetGalley.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I also downloaded this book on NG this week. I somehow thought this was Karin Slaughter’s new novel (she actually has a newer one due out soon) but none-the-less I’m really intrigued by this one. I love the idea of someone reacting out of character when in a difficult situation and then us getting to find out what happened in her past. I can’t wait to get engrossed in this one!

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

This Week in Books (22 May 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I’ve had the ARC of this book on my TBR for a little while now but decided to buy the audio book so I could part listen and part read. I picked it up yesterday and I’ve already read over half of it. It’s such an engrossing read, I’m loving it as much as her murder squad series so far!

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I also picked this up yesterday and am already completely invested in learning more about the family in this novel. It’s such a good book and I’m really looking forward to getting back to it tonight. Plus, hasn’t it got the most stunning cover?!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

I’m really enjoying this novel too and it seems I’m all about family orientated novels this week as this one is about two sisters and their partners, but we know from the prologue that something terrible is going to happen to one of them. It’s really good so far!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I’m loving this book so much. It’s about three sisters who went missing but only one came back. Now it’s a few years later but the mystery is still haunting for the people who were around at the time. It’s beautifully written and I’m deliberately reading this one slowly.

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a really great read and perfect for these sunny days, I’d recommend it for your holiday reading this summer. The sun and heat in the book really comes through and the drama between a group of old friends and their families is gripping!

 

Then

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’ve been reading this a bit every day for the past four weeks and I’ve absolutely loved it. I finished the novel yesterday and I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner. I don’t know when classics started feeling intimidating to me because they never used to but Middlemarch has reminded me why I love them and I will make more effort to read them from now on.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this whole novel on one afternoon as it gripped me from the opening chapter and I just couldn’t put it down. It’ll be a hard back to review as I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anything but I will try and get a post up soon. In the meantime I definitely  recommend this one!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I’m reading this one for a blog tour next month and I really enjoyed it. It’s the second novel I’ve read by this author and I do find that I get swept away in her novels.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This was my second attempt with this novel and I’m sorry to say that while I did finish it it wasn’t for me. It did work better on audio than when I was reading it but I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all. It might be that I’m older than them and it didn’t reflect how I was at their age at all. I will say that the parts of the book when Frances suffers with her periods was brilliantly written, I don’t think I’ve read a novel that shows what this is like as well as this book does. I have Normal People on my TBR so I will read that at some point.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I bought the audio book of this in an Audible sale last year but because I didn’t listen to it sooner it felt like I’d missed the right moment. Then I saw that the author has another book on Trump coming out soon so decided I would listen to this. It was I thought it would be and even though I knew most of this stuff about Trump it was still eye-opening.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

I read and loved Jennie’s previous novel last year (my review is here if you’d like to read it) so was thrilled to be offered the chance to read her new book. This is completely different to The Girl In His Eyes but it still showcases Jennie’s fabulous writing. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review on 30 May.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’ve been so looking forward to reading this one and I’m so happy to say that I loved it. It’s about a woman who’s sister is a serial killer but it’s more about their relationship and how they are with each other. I recommend this one!

 

Next

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book ever since I first heard about it. It’ll be my first book by this author and I’ve read so many great reviews of her previous books so I feel sure that I’m going to love this!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book next month so have an ARC to read for that. I really like the premise for this novel and am really keen to start reading it.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve had an ARC of this novel for a while now but somehow haven’t managed to read it yet. I keep hearing amazing things about it and I definitely want to read it really soon – hopefully in the coming week.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂