About the Book:
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.
VERY dark and surprising!!
Lisa Jewell is one of my favorite authors and if you haven’t read her books yet, run, do not walk, and remedy that now! Her intricate domestic thrillers and fantastic characters are all outstanding.
So I was absolutely thrilled to dive into ‘The Family Upstairs’, a complex, dark and disturbing family drama that is told from three separate points of view. The sense of foreboding is set up very early in the story, when we learn that at least one of the main characters had a very troubling childhood.
“I was nearly eleven when they came, and my sister was nine. They lived with us for more than five years and they turned everything very, very dark. My sister and I had to learn how to survive. And when I was sixteen, and my sister was fourteen, the baby came.”
The main protagonist, Libby, may or may not be that baby. Nonetheless, she is surprised to learn that she has inherited a large house in London upon her 25th birthday, which sets the stage for the unraveling of the mystery surrounding the family that once lived there. Libby, Lucy and Henry’s stories are all told in sort of a dual timeline. Who are these people and how are they connected to each other? This is a book rich in character and detail and suspense.
Libby learns of the history of the house and is determined to get to the truth of what happened there years ago. The author does an incredible job of building suspense while slowly unraveling the events of years ago. This book is darker and much more disturbing than Lisa Jewell’s other books and had me gasping out loud in many parts.
Libby enlists the help of an investigative journalist who once wrote about the events that occurred in the house. There is a large cast of characters in this book but I always felt connected to each one of them. We learn about Henry and his family, his father and mother and the people that moved into their home, only to take over in a cult-like situation. David and Birdie, who held a strange power over Henry’s mother, are two of the darkest characters I’ve read about in recent memory. Not for the faint of heart, this book is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that left me guessing up until the very end.
“It all happened so slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly, the change to our parents, to our home, to our lives after they arrived. But that first night, when Birdie appeared on our front step with two large suitcases and a cat in a wicker box, we could never have guessed the impact she would have, the other people she would bring into our lives, that it would all end the way it did.”
As always, Lisa Jewell’s writing is intricate and the short chapters added to the suspense. I could not wait to find out how the author was going to connect all the dots in the end. This is a slow-build thriller filled with domestic drama and some very dark undercurrents. Although some parts were difficult to read through, I still highly recommend this intriguing and highly complex thriller.
(Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book via NetGalley, provided in exchange for an honest review.)