The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, 5 Stars

Lisa Jewell is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are consistently interesting, compelling and deal with situations that while crazy, are not unrealistic. The characters in her books are dysfunctional, horrifying at times, but always well-rounded, well-developed characters who could definitely be real people.

Okay, maybe they are the type of people that are featured in books like The Glass Castle, Running With Scissors or Educated. But what do all these books have in common? They are nonfiction people, they all actually happened. And all those crazy people featured in those books really existed.

It’s a little crazy that after having written 16 books, Lisa Jewell just keeps getting better. Every book I read of hers is better than the last. So without further ado…

From the Publisher:

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 Review:

When Libby’s 25th birthday comes around, she is so excited to find out more about her genetic parents and origin. She is in for a surprise. It’s funny because her world is so typical and normal. Girl in her mid-twenties working hard at a entry level type job to make a life and of course, obsessed with finding Mr. Right.

Well, once she finds out that she was a baby who was abandoned in a murder house, it shakes her world up just a little. And the difference between the world she was born into and the life she is living at 25 are polar opposites. In some ways, it’s like she is Cousin Marilyn in The Munsters.

This one felt different to me from other Lisa Jewell books I’ve read. Not in a bad way at all, it just had something extra that added a level of mysteriousness. It reminded me a lot of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman or The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. The stories are of course very different, but there was a similar tone to the books.

I don’t want to give too much away, because this is one of those books where the enjoyment is in peeling back the layers one at a time, discovering more and more about the family and the strange things that happened behind closed doors in their house.

The Family Upstairs was dark, brooding, shocking at times and a hell of a read. Although a departure from Jewell’s normal themes, this one does not disappoint and I find myself hoping it’s a new direction for the future. Because all her books are amazing, this one was just a little extra.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for an e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out October 29, 2019. Preorder your copy!


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