Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Title: The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published: November 2019, Atria Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My thoughts: I have been a fan of Lisa Jewell for some time now and was extremely fortunate to pick up a copy of this latest one at BookExpo this past Spring...this book was one that was high on everyone's list as galleys were gone in 7 minutes! So that early morning sprint to the booth was well-worth it.

I loved the way this story was told, with the multiple points of view and alternating time lines. You have three characters and you aren't quite sure what their connections are, but of course you know at some point that their stories will connect and it's fun trying to figure out just how and why until it's revealed. I also found that I was equally invested in all three characters which isn't always the case when there are multiple points of view. I loved that all three were flawed, troubled characters - it made them all more interesting!

I love a good dysfunctional family drama. This book focuses entirely on that and boy is it a doozy! It delves into some dark stuff and we find out just what happened at this house so long ago. And because of the dual timelines, we sometimes get dual revelations happening, where we are finding out things from "What Happened 25 Years Ago" and the "Today Plot" almost side by side. It really helps to add to the suspense and tension, propelling things forward. There is just a hint of gothic undertones to this book with the creepy garden and use of dangerous plants and the large dark house full of secrets.

I can't recommend this book enough...it's gripping, disturbing and compulsive read from one of my favorite authors!



  1. This sounds like a riveting read. Excellent review! I hope to read something by this author before too long.

  2. I thought this book was fantastic!


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