The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs

by Lisa Jewell

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Overview

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA COVER TO COVER BOOK CLUB PICK

“Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author

“A haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501190124
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 69
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, as well as I Found You, The Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In. In total, her novels have sold more than two million copies across the English-speaking world and her work has also been translated into sixteen languages so far. Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Libby picks up the letter off the doormat. She turns it in her hands. It looks very formal; the envelope is cream in color, made of high-grade paper, and feels as though it might even be lined with tissue. The postal frank says: “Smithkin Rudd & Royle Solicitors, Chelsea Manor Street, SW3.”

She takes the letter into the kitchen and sits it on the table while she fills the kettle and puts a tea bag in a mug. Libby is pretty sure she knows what’s in the envelope. She turned twenty-five last month. She’s been subconsciously waiting for this envelope. But now that it’s here she’s not sure she can face opening it.

She picks up her phone and calls her mother.

“Mum,” she says. “It’s here. The letter from the trustees.”

She hears a silence at the other end of the line. She pictures her mum in her own kitchen, a thousand miles away in Dénia: pristine white units, lime-green color-coordinated kitchen accessories, sliding glass doors onto a small terrace with a distant view to the Mediterranean, her phone held to her ear in the crystal-studded case that she refers to as her bling.

“Oh,” she says. “Right. Gosh. Have you opened it?”

“No. Not yet. I’m just having a cup of tea first.”

“Right,” she says again. Then she says, “Shall I stay on the line? While you do it?”

“Yes,” says Libby. “Please.”

She feels a little breathless, as she sometimes does when she’s just about to stand up and give a sales presentation at work, like she’s had a strong coffee. She takes the tea bag out of the mug and sits down. Her fingers caress the corner of the envelope and she inhales.

“OK,” she says to her mother, “I’m doing it. I’m doing it right now.”

Her mum knows what’s in here. Or at least she has an idea, though she was never told formally what was in the trust. It might, as she has always said, be a teapot and a ten-pound note.

Libby clears her throat and slides her finger under the flap. She pulls out a sheet of thick cream paper and scans it quickly:

To Miss Libby Louise Jones

As trustee of the Henry and Martina Lamb Trust created on 12 July 1977, I propose to make the distribution from it to you described in the attached schedule...

She puts down the covering letter and pulls out the accompanying paperwork.

“Well?” says her mum, breathlessly.

“Still reading,” she replies.

She skims and her eye is caught by the name of a property. Sixteen Cheyne Walk, SW3. She assumes it is the property her birth parents were living in when they died. She knows it was in Chelsea. She knows it was big. She assumed it was long gone. Boarded up. Sold. Her breath catches hard at the back of her throat when she realizes what she’s just read.

“Er,” she says.

“What?”

“It looks like... No, that can’t be right.”

“What!”

“The house. They’ve left me the house.”

“The Chelsea house?”

“Yes,” she says.

“The whole house?”

“I think so.” There’s a covering letter, something about nobody else named on the trust coming forward in due time. She can’t digest it at all.

“My God. I mean, that must be worth...”

Libby breathes in sharply and raises her gaze to the ceiling. “This must be wrong,” she says. “This must be a mistake.”

“Go and see the solicitors,” says her mother. “Call them. Make an appointment. Make sure it’s not a mistake.”

“But what if it’s not a mistake? What if it’s true?”

“Well then, my angel,” says her mother—and Libby can hear her smile from all these miles away—“you’ll be a very rich woman indeed.”

Libby ends the call and stares around her kitchen. Five minutes ago, this kitchen was the only kitchen she could afford, this flat the only one she could buy, here in this quiet street of terraced cottages in the backwaters of St. Albans. She remembers the flats and houses she saw during her online searches, the little intakes of breath as her eye caught upon the perfect place—a suntrap terrace, an eat-in kitchen, a five-minute walk to the station, a bulge of ancient leaded windows, the suggestion of cathedral bells from across a green—and then she would see the price and feel herself a fool for ever thinking it might be for her.

She compromised on everything in the end to find a place that was close to her job and not too far from the train station. There was no gut instinct as she stepped across the threshold; her heart said nothing to her as the estate agent showed her around. But she made it a home to be proud of, painstakingly creaming off the best that T.J.Maxx had to offer, and now her badly converted, slightly awkward one-bedroom flat makes her feel happy. She bought it; she adorned it. It belongs to her.

But now it appears she is the owner of a house on the finest street in Chelsea and suddenly her flat looks like a ridiculous joke. Everything that was important to her five minutes ago feels like a joke—the £1,500-a-year raise she was just awarded at work, the hen weekend in Barcelona next month that took her six months to save for, the MAC eye shadow she “allowed” herself to buy last weekend as a treat for getting the pay raise, the soft frisson of abandoning her tightly managed monthly budget for just one glossy, sweet-smelling moment in House of Fraser, the weightlessness of the tiny MAC bag swinging from her hand, the shiver of placing the little black capsule in her makeup bag, of knowing that she owned it, that she might in fact wear it in Barcelona, where she might also wear the dress her mother bought her for Christmas, the one from French Connection with the lace panels she’d wanted for ages. Five minutes ago her joys in life were small, anticipated, longed-for, hard-earned and saved-up-for, inconsequential little splurges that meant nothing in the scheme of things but gave the flat surface of her life enough sparkles to make it worth getting out of bed every morning to go and do a job which she liked but didn’t love.

Now she owns a house in Chelsea and the proportions of her existence have been blown apart.

She slides the letter back into its expensive envelope and finishes her tea.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Family Upstairs includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
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Introduction

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 learns not only the identity of her 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. The home, even in its dilapidated state, is worth millions. Everything in her life is about to change. What she doesn’t know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and although they’ve been in hiding, they are now heading her way.

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 safe and sound in the bedroom. In the kitchen, three dead bodies, all dressed in black, were seemingly posed next to a hastily scrawled note. The four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) delivers another powerful and propulsive story of two families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The Family Upstairs is told from three perspectives: Henry, Lucy, and Libby’s. Was there one character in particular whose point of view you especially enjoyed? What is the effect of having Henry’s sections told in first person narration and Lucy and Libby’s told in third person narration? Why do you think Lisa Jewell structured her novel this way?

2. Henry, rightfully, hates David. Yet, Henry and David share many similar tendencies and qualities. Compare and contrast the two men.

3. There are many intriguing characters who do not directly narrate the novel. Is there a character whose point of view you’d have liked to had included? What do you think Martina, for example, thought about David and Birdie’s choices?

4. What is the effect of characters calling Libby “the baby” throughout the novel? How does this inform your opinion of Libby and her role in the story?

5. Which of adult Henry, Lucy, and Clemency’s behaviors can you directly trace back to their harrowing experiences as children? How do you see the influence of their abuse in their grown up lives?

6. The relationship between Henry and Phin is pivotal to the plot, but we aren’t told as much about the friendship between Lucy and Clemency. What details do we glean about their relationship from Henry and Lucy’s memories and Clemency’s account toward the end of the novel?

7. What types of power are wielded in this novel? Who has power, who loses it, and who wants it? Is there a character without any agency?

8. Do you think Henry’s lies and violent acts were born out of his need to survive an unimaginable situation, or do you think there is, as Clemency states, “a streak of pure evil” (page 280) in him?

9. Lucy and Clemency experienced unspeakable abuse as children, but, miraculously, they managed to break the cycle and become good mothers to their children. What are their relationships like with their children? What makes them good moms?

10. After Clemency tells Henry that her father tried to con his own family once, Henry decides he must act against David. As he remembers his conversation with Clemency, he thinks, “It was a fork in the road, really. Looking back on it there were so many other ways to have got through the trauma of it all, but with all the people I loved most in the world facing away from me I chose the worst possible option” (page 274). While Henry claims he would have resorted to less violent ways of escaping the Lamb house, do you really believe him? Or do you think part of him wanted revenge?

11. Libby finds many disconcerting traces of the house’s previous inhabitants when she tours it. Which artifacts did you find the eeriest? Which intrigued you and made you want to find out what had happened inside the house?

12. In your opinion, who is the most tragic figure in this novel? Do they experience healing or redemption?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. When Libby tells Dido that she and Miller are investigating her past and the home she inherited, Dido insists on helping, saying she may be useful because, “I’ve read every Agatha Christie novel ever published. Twice” (page 99). Choose one of Agatha Christie’s mysteries set at a family home with a dark secret, such as Crooked House or Peril at End House, and discuss how Lisa Jewell and Agatha Christie use family homes to similar or different effects.

2. With its atmospheric setting, dark mystery, and twists and turns, The Family Upstairs seems like the perfect book to adapt to a movie. Who would you cast as its stars? Discuss as a group how a director might adapt a book with so many narrators and perspectives.

3. Many of the characters in this novel survived abusive relationships of various types. As a group, consider volunteering at a local women and children’s shelter to support those in your community who are recovering from their own traumas.

Customer Reviews

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Family Upstairs: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
diane92345 27 days ago
“Socialite and husband dead in suicide pact. Teenage children missing; baby found alive.” The Family Upstairs is the story of that baby’s journey to discover her roots and what really happened that night. The baby, Libby, is now twenty-five years old and set to inherit the Chelsea mansion where the event occurred. Lucy is a homeless English woman with two children in France. Henry is a rich, but odd, man who is one of the missing teenagers twenty-five years later. “It all happened so slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly, the change to our parents, to our home, to our lives after they arrived.” All three tell their tales of what happened both before and after the event. The Family Upstairs is a compelling thriller that builds an impressive atmosphere of dread. Everyone but the people involved know something horrible is going to happen. It is truly a can’t-put-it-down book. The characters are so human and realistic that you are forced to read one more chapter until the story is done regardless of what time your alarm will ring. I love the author’s books for their originality in a crowded genre. But most of all, I love that she thanked the “two double vodkas and tonics that saw me through the last three chapters of this book late on a Friday night...Cheers!” in the Acknowledgements. Can you imagine what Hemingway or Poe would write if they thanked their alcoholic muses? Cheers, indeed. The Family Upstairs should appeal to most thriller and women’s fiction fans especially if they like their tales dark. It would not be a good choice for those readers triggered by child abuse. Otherwise, pick up this spellbinding family thriller. 4 stars! Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
RMeckley 8 days ago
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I found the structure of three different narrators and two different time frames more confusing than suspenseful. When I finally realized what was going on in the plot, I really didn't care anymore. Therefore, I can only give the story 3 stars.
Shortcake5 4 days ago
“I watched Phin peel two ten-pound notes from his wad to pay for the expensive sandwiches. “I‘m really sorry I can‘t pay you back,” I said. He shook his head. “My father‘s going to take everything you own and then break your life. It‘s the least I can bloody do.” Lisa Jewell is a master tale spinner of mystery. I have read other books of Ms. Jewell and this one is so different in format that I was thrown a little for a loop for a bit. This story comes at you from so many perspectives that you have to remember that the main character was a wee baby when it all went down. Libby Jones just turned 25 years old and her life is a complete mystery, being found in a mansion with a rabbits foot in an empty room with just a crib and her as a 10 month old baby with 3 people murdered on the first floor. She is confused when that said mansion is left to her. Where are the siblings that she was told she had? Where did the other teens go that were with them? Why were her parents murdered? Who was the other man with her parents? It is up to Libby to find out the strange history and missing details of her life. Will she find her answers? Will she ever know who she really is? This book will help readers come to understand the whole store unraveled through past and present tense. There are times that I was disgusted by this book - how a family could go from normal, happy and rich then fall so far was a conundrum. In some ways I wanted to shake the living daylights out of the mistress of the mansion, in other ways I could see why she lost all perspective of what her life was becoming. The telling of the story was full of wonderful quotes like the opening of this review. Ms. Jewell made me wander the stairs upstairs, out onto the roof and back into the house wandering the sad and lonely disjointed rooms of the children and down into the kitchen where the most living happened. Like the twists and turns I took through the house Ms. Jewell does the same with her characters. You never know who is the murder and who is the innocent until it slams you in the face like a locked door. It was like reading Amityville Horror meets the Branch Davidian's of Waco, Texas with the same creepy feelings and not sure what was going to come next. Thinking you want to know but then no sure you really do. I enjoyed reading The Family Upstairs, felt like I needed to watch a Disney movie afterwards only because the suspense was so trying and seeped into my bones. The coming together of the story was smooth, imaginative and full of great description. My only complaint was the ending. It just felt like it didn't belong to the rest of the story. I don't really know however if it felt tied up and maybe that is as it should be. Thank you Netgalley and Atria books for allowing me to read an ARC in lieu of my honest review. It was my honor to share this book with others.
HomeSweetHouser 4 days ago
3.5 stars I have come to be a fan of Lisa Jewell after reading her books Watching You and Then She Was Gone. She is a wonderful storyteller and can write a great thriller. I was thrilled (no pun intended) to read her newest book The Family Upstairs but I've got to say that although I liked the story, I was a tad underwhelmed overall. The story was told from three different perspectives, and from the beginning seemed very disjointed. The three plot lines didn't really merge until late into the book, and I found myself wondering where the story was headed for several hours. It all did end up coming together in the end, but by the time it did, I can't say that I was entirely surprised or caught off guard by any of the "plot twists." I did think that the story itself was rather unique and not your typical domestic drama about some tragic nuclear family with issues. The complexity of the "family" in this case made for a different type of narrative that I quite enjoyed. Overall, this wasn't my favorite novel by Lisa Jewell but I'll continue to read her work going forward because she is a wonderful storyteller. -I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Lisa Jewell, and Atria Books for the opportunity to review.-
Carolefort 6 days ago
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell leads the reader astray, chapter by chapter. Libby Jones never knew who her parents were. As her twenty-fifth birthday approaches, she receives documents that she hopes will divulge who she really is. Instead, she becomes the beneficiary of an abandoned mansion along the river Thames in London which is worth millions of pounds. Twenty- five years ago, police were called to a mansion where they found a healthy ten-month-old baby and the bodies of three deceased adults. Missing from the premises were four children who were believed to be living there. Who were the deceased? Where are the children? What happened during the last twenty-five years? Why is Libby the beneficiary of a fortune? This thriller will have you guessing incorrectly till the end. Highly recommended. Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
TheBookishHooker 9 days ago
Lisa Jewell has a way of pulling a reader into her stories like no other author I've read. The Family Upstairs is certainly no exception to this. Riddled throughout with plot twists and turns, I simply couldn't put this book down. The London setting was perfect for this cult-inspired story line, as it was easy to see how such a family dynamic as this could easily get lost in the anonymity of the big city. The characters are well developed, which is a must for me. I love how flawed, and sometimes unlikable, her characters often are, yet this is what makes them seem so realistic. I would have loved to have seen a little more closure at the end for a couple of the characters, but overall it was a great read. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the advanced copy given in exchange for an honest review.
Caroldaz 10 days ago
The beginning was a little confusing because of different timelines and diverse characters, but I persevered and was in psychological thriller heaven! Libby discovers, on her twenty-fifth birthday, that she has inherited a relative mansion in Chelsea, a high-end section of London. She subsequently discovers her birth parents were found dead in that house and she was found alive. A superb mystery follows, how she discovers what happened in that house and what happened to her family. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
harlichic 11 days ago
This book was a roller coaster ride to me. The first part took so many chapters to figure out who the characters were, or weren't. I'd thought that I had severely misread or just totally skipped reading some...lot of confusion. But, that said, all of a sudden it just clicked. And while I wasn't 100 percent sure of what was what and who was who, I knew that I was going to continue reading it to find out. It is a bizarre story, and I'm sure that it could be 100% true somewhere in this world...I was looking for a hero to come and save the day. And I found him, kind of...sort of. And BAM!, just when you think you're going to have a happy ending, well, you're put right back into the craziness of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book after I got over the confusion!
SusanReads1 12 days ago
Dark, twisted and a page turning whodunit. As a spider spins a web that joins that past, present and future Author Lisa Jewell spins her words to explain the sins of the past and the way that they changed lives. The family that moved in upstairs takes over control and destroys life with predatory precision. Sinister adults, lost souls weird teachings follow a life of extravagance and opulence. Who will survive and what will become of them?
Twink 16 days ago
The Family Upstairs is the newest release from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell. On her twenty fifth birthday Libby Jones receives an unexpected letter from a lawyer. She learns her birth name and is stunned to find out she has inherited a Chelsea home worth millions. Desperate for answers to her past, she visits the home and discovers it has been abandoned for years. But perhaps not....there are others who have been waiting for Libby to turn twenty five. Well, I had no idea where Jewell's story telling would take me this time. There are so many directions the past could take. But, the house is at the core of the story. Just Henry and his parents lived in the home - until his mother invited two other families to live with them. And one of those 'others' slowly takes control of the house - and the lives of the rest of the inhabitants. Cult-like you could say. Jewell employs a past and present narrative in The Family Upstairs. We start with Libby's discovery - that twenty five years ago, she was the baby found alive, with three dead bodies in the house and two others missing. We're along as she tries to find answers with a journalist friend. But, the reader is privy to two narratives from the missing. From them the reader learns what life was like inside the house and what lead to those bodies. And what they might want from Libby today. And that makes for some disturbing listening. I could feel the tension rise as I listened to each new entry in the tale. The Family Upstairs has a pretty dark undertone running through it - traumatized children being the main plot line. The now grown survivors have created new lives and in some cases, new names for themselves. I had to cement who was who in the beginning. The present begins to make more sense as the listener learns more and more about the past. The final run to the last pages had me listening late into the night. And Jewell throws in a nice little twist in the end that gave me shivers... I chose to listen to The Family Upstairs and was really happy that there was more than one reader. It became easy to know who was talking with three narrators - Tamaryn Payne, Bea Holland and Dominic Thorburn. All did a great job and I thought each voice suited the character they were portraying. Thorburn does the innocence and outrage of young Henry really well and adds a darker note as adult Henry. I'm not sure what reader did the two female roles, but they were excellent as well. Again, innocence and confusion for Libby. But the Lucy reader was the one I enjoyed the most. (She was also my favourite character) All were easy to understand, their diction was clear and the speaking speed was just right. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I become much more immersed in a book when I listen to it.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Lisa Jewell is a master at her craft. No one can touch her ! Every book I think I know exactly what is going on and every time she proves me wrong. This book is scary good !
Anonymous 16 days ago
Lisa Jewell is a master at her craft. No one can touch her ! Every book I think I know exactly what is going on and every time she proves me wrong. This book is scary good !
Anonymous 16 days ago
Lisa Jewell is a master at her craft. No one can touch her ! Every book I think I know exactly what is going on and every time she proves me wrong. This book is scary good !
Anonymous 17 days ago
Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. I didn't know what kind of mystery or thriller it would be but wow! A very dysfunctional family + suffocating home atmosphere + three story lines that all connect at the end. Some things that were revealed were a little shocking but considering what this family went through, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibilities if it had happened in real life. If you like dark mysteries, then you may enjoy this one!
beckwith_usa 18 days ago
“How can it be possible for people to slip off the edge of existence like that? How can it be possible for no one to notice?” Wow, if you’re looking for a wild-ride-mystery, open the pages and buckle in. I was drawn to this thriller because 24 years ago I was sitting in a drawing room of a Cheyne Walk mansion at a children’s birthday party. I consider Ms. Jewell’s #16 to be one of the well-described characters in this story, developed just as expertly as the humans (and canines). From the linen fold paneling to the rooftop views, she exquisitely sets the stage for a complicated murder mystery. Not for the faint of heart, the cruelty, deception and raw emotion threaded through the plot, left this reader stunned and satisfied.
Aqswr 18 days ago
THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is a good mystery although it seems set in the wrong time period and is oddly described and titled. The story is somehow set 25 years or so ago when a baby and three dead adults were found in a large house in England. If this tale had been set in the late 1960s or anytime during the 1970s, it would have been far more believable. That was a time period when adults more easily went off the rails, as these parents did. There are good surprises in this book and creepy bits that seep out unexpectedly. Author Lisa Jewell is adept at weaving in the awful aspects with the mundane so the story flows rather seamlessly. It moves quickly and is difficult to put down as it gets weirder and weirder. In the end, the characters remain just outside of normal and goosebumps prevail. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Anonymous 19 days ago
⭐️Book Review ⭐️ The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell 5/5 Stars I have already read a few books by Lisa Jewell (Then She Was Gone and Watching You), so I was highly anticipating this gem. Jewell did not disappoint. Yet again, over 400 pages of creepy, disturbing page turning heaven. I was a bit confused at first with the characters and the time periods and then it all came together quickly. Libby Jones has just turned 25 and found out she’s inherited a multi million pound home in Chelsea-her childhood home. She was adopted as an orphan and doesn’t know her birth parents story. Henry Lamb narrates much of the past as the son of the original owners of the Chelsea home. He watched his socialite mother change, his father fall ill and their entire lifestyle change when houseguests came- never to leave. Libby discovers her new home and begins digging into its past. What she finds is unlike anything she could have possibly imagined. Follow her in search of the Lamb family home’s truth.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Lisa Jewell has become one of my favorite authors when I want to read a psychological thriller/mystery. In the novel "The Family Upstairs", Lisa does not fail to deliver another wonderfully creepy, edge of your seat story. The premise of the story is built upon a 25 year old cult suicide in which the bodies of a well-to-do socialite couple are found along with a man named David Thomsen in what appears to be some sort of suicide pact. At the start of the novel, the big mystery is what happened to the children that lived in the house. Going further into the story, the real question becomes how a family lost its identity, wealth and future in a shrewd con. The story is told from several perspectives and what I love is that not all of the perspectives are completely honest. The reader really has to take every detail told with a grain of salt. All of the threads of the story come together in a beautiful way that completely makes sense. I highly recommend this novel. Be prepared to enjoy!!!
marongm8 21 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. This book really opened my eyes on how every family has secrets but this one was dark like no other. A 10 month old baby perfectly healthy was left in her crib cooing and the police found her parents dead on the floor and all the children (brothers and sisters) missing and gone leaving only her behind. Now, she has turned 25 and has the opportunity to discover where she came from and who she really is. Then she finds out she is the inheritor of an old mansion in London worth millions and little does she know, there are others waiting for her to come forth with this information and she is in the ride of her lifetime. This book was so thrilling and suspenseful that it almost became overbearingly brilliant and when I finished the book, I felt like I just ran a marathon exhausted from excitement. We will consider adding this title to our Mystery and Thrillers collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
Alix Maza 21 days ago
I DEVOURED this book! Like when the chapter ended in a cliffhanger, I actually got mad because I wanted to know what happened. #justonemorechapter Lisa Jewell’s previous novel ‘Then She was Gone’ was just okay for me (and actually really sad), but this one I LOVED. It centers around the Lamb family, their eccentric visitors/roommates, a dual timeline (technically triple), secrets, horrors and a million dollar house in one of London’s best areas. All during the reading of this book, I kept thinking ‘why!?!?’ Then it was pretty much explained in the following paragraphs and I felt satisfied. If that doesn’t spell suspense then I don’t know what does. I had several theories- some panned out almost exactly how I thought it would, others were so off the mark its laughable. This is DEFINITELY a twisted family drama. Like seriously dark and twisted doesn’t cover it. Yes, it’s a domestic drama and that almost put me off because to me domestic drama=spousal abuse and I’m a little tired of that. Dare I say that it wasn’t really a thriller? Super suspenseful, but not a thriller. Short review: a twisted and dark domestic suspense novel!
AllysonC 21 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley, the Publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion. Don't start this book right before bed, or you will find yourself like me, reading all hours of the night, the only light from my Kobo. Another fantastic, slow burning, thriller from Lisa Jewell! Her books suck you in and even when I wasn't reading it, I was wondering how it was going to turn out; trying to determine who was who. When Libby turns 25, she knows she is to get an inheritance from her birth parents, she assumes a bit of money, maybe a trinket, she never imagines a grand house on a influential street in London and she could never imagine the tragic history that comes with the house! She is not who she thinks she is, she was left as a baby all alone in the house, three other members of the household, including her parents, are found dead in an apparent suicide pact in the kitchen; the neighbours state that there were many others, including several children, including her brother and sister, and none of the other occupants have ever been seen again, was it a cult? The mystery surrounding this house and its inhabitants had me on the edge of my seat, guessing and trying to figure it out, ahead of the author delivering the shocking twists and turns. No one is who they say they are, are they? Great book! Hard to put down until you're done, so clear your calendar.
AllysonC 21 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley, the Publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion. Don't start this book right before bed, or you will find yourself like me, reading all hours of the night, the only light from my Kobo. Another fantastic, slow burning, thriller from Lisa Jewell! Her books suck you in and even when I wasn't reading it, I was wondering how it was going to turn out; trying to determine who was who. When Libby turns 25, she knows she is to get an inheritance from her birth parents, she assumes a bit of money, maybe a trinket, she never imagines a grand house on a influential street in London and she could never imagine the tragic history that comes with the house! She is not who she thinks she is, she was left as a baby all alone in the house, three other members of the household, including her parents, are found dead in an apparent suicide pact in the kitchen; the neighbours state that there were many others, including several children, including her brother and sister, and none of the other occupants have ever been seen again, was it a cult? The mystery surrounding this house and its inhabitants had me on the edge of my seat, guessing and trying to figure it out, ahead of the author delivering the shocking twists and turns. No one is who they say they are, are they? Great book! Hard to put down until you're done, so clear your calendar.
KimHeniadis 21 days ago
This was a nice thriller, dare I say a happy thriller? Sure, horrible things happened, but there are happy endings for most of the living characters. Families are united, people don’t have to worry about money, and a trip of a lifetime closes out the book. Sounds pretty sweet to me. Sure the trip might not end well for someone, but eh, that’s for another book. The book flowed well, even with the changes between three different people. Lisa Jewell does a good job building the characters quickly, so you get a good feel for them. Her descriptions of the scenes and architecture of the house are well written. Just enough, but not so much that I became bored and started skimming. So why did I give it a three instead of five stars? Because, for me, it wasn’t thrilling. The tension never ratcheted up very high, maybe medium at best. Although many people die in The Family Upstairs, only one death had me thinking, “Daaang!” But even that death was more, “Way to go!” then, “Oh, the horror!” I wouldn’t say don’t read The Family Upstairs, but maybe put if off a bit and read some of the books on your TBR pile that you’re really excited about.
Linda romer 22 days ago
I really liked The Family Upstairs, a quirky thriller with some crazy characters. This story was a mystery with bits of information given out slowly until the ending witch wasn't so shocking but more delusional. I liked Libby. Lucy and Henry were I guess outcomes of their experience, unhinged at times. A good thriller and mystery, worth the read. #TheFamilyUpstairs #NetGalley I give The Family Upstairs 4 stars for its thrilling read. I would recommend this book to Thriller/Mystery Fans.
Shelley-S-Reviewer 22 days ago
Once again, Lisa Jewell hits it out of the park with a gripping psychological suspense, and a Gothic setting that is a character in itself. Henry and the gang are intriguing and complex; as I followed the twists and turns of their troubled childhoods I found myself gripping the pages tighter and tighter, even as I couldn't stop turning. The Family Upstairs is an amazing suspense novel that has some darkness to it. The characters are secretive and so intriguing. Edgy, twisty, and utterly compelling, with a setting that'll give you a myriad of goosebumps, The Family Upstairs had me flipping the pages. I, too, had to know everything Henry and Lucy were hiding from everyone, and themselves, and what would happen when they revealed their truths. You won't want to put this book down, and it may even make you question how well you know the person sleeping next to you while you read.