Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Published: 5 November 2019 by Atria Books
Page count: 352
My Format: free eARC via NetGalley
Cover: Pretty, but strange
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy The Family Upstairs
My rating: ★★★★☆
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
I don’t really want to give any spoilers away on this one, so some of my comments below may seem a bit vague. Sorry about that… but you’ll thank me if you read this novel! Here are my pros and cons for The Family Upstairs:
- I think what I liked most about this book is how everything was revealed to the reader. The story is told from three points of view (POV) – Lucy, Henry, and Libby. Lucy and Libby primarily tell the story from the present, and Henry fills us in on the past. As the story progresses the narratives merge. One of the characters is also a bit of an unreliable narrator and I thought that added a little depth and mystery to the story. Overall, I was totally captivated by the book.
- I thought the pacing of the book was great. The chapters alternated between POVs and I found myself reading way more than I may have initially intended to at a given moment because I had to find out what was going on!
- While I thought the pacing was great, this was actually a slow burn and it was done perfectly. The story kept revealing little nuggets of information that kept me completely interested and intrigued to find out more. By the time the foundation was fully built and I finally realized what was going on, the story really became creepy!
- The whole premise of this book is disturbing – I’m just going to leave it at that because I don’t want to ruin anything about the plot.
- I found myself comparing parts of this book to We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Both books have at least some comparable elements and both are supremely creepy and unsettling. I wonder if the author was at least partially inspired by Jackson’s classic.
- I felt like the character development was phenomenal and the atmosphere of the book was amazing. I was IN that house with those kids… and I wanted to get out as much as they did.
- Oh my goodness! Does this author love long sentences or what? I started counting the words it was so obvious! One sentence consisted of 99 words and 28 commas! A few others that I counted were over 80 words, also with multiple commas. Super distracting!
I have read two other Lisa Jewell books – Then She Was Gone and I Found You. I rated both 3 stars. I remember generally liking those books, and I remember general plot details, but I don’t remember being particularly dazzled by them. The Family Upstairs, however, was impactful and I think I will remember this book for quite a while.
Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing this book through this link: Buy The Family Upstairs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)