The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs

by Lisa Jewell

Hardcover

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Overview

“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: 9781501190100
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,391
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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. 75 reviews.
diane92345 12 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.
Twink 10 hours 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 13 hours 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 13 hours 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 13 hours 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 2 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 2 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 3 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 3 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 5 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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 6 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.
aschae 7 days ago
Henry and his sister Lucy, the children of London socialites growing up in a large house in Chelsea, suddenly find their world changing dramatically at home. After another family is invited to stay, everything starts to change and not for the good... Every time you think you've figured out where she's heading, Lisa Jewell throws another curveball at you in this one... and OMG that ending!? Wiping away triumphant, happy tears and wondering if we've come to the end of this incredible story. HIGHLY recommended book and author!
KimberlyKESQ 8 days ago
"The Family Upstairs" by Lisa Jewell is a long book (over 400 pages) but it is such a great read that I finished it in just a few hours. It is the story of Libby Jones who, soon after her 25th birthday, learns that she is to inherit a mysterious mansion in a posh London neighborhood. Libby is adopted and soon discovers the unusual and dark history of both the mansion she's inherited and her birth family. This book is told from several points of view throughout different timelines which may be confusing to some readers, but I found it to be an effective method to build the suspense of the story. I think it all came together quite nicely at the end. The plot was intriguing and kept me interested and turning pages. Ms. Jewell's writing is richly detailed and makes the characters come alive to the reader. I did not anticipate the plot twists ahead of time which kept the book interesting and exciting. I have not read any of the author's previous works, but I am now a Lisa Jewell fan and will be reading everything she has written. Many thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for the privilege of reading this entertaining book and for introducing me to an author whom I haven't read.
osaka 8 days ago
Wow, such an original story! I bet you haven't read one like this before. This is the first book by this author that I have read. Now want to read her other ones! Got involved with the characters and wishing that everything would turn out well for some of them. Well written, couldn't put the book down. Definitely a thriller.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Shortly after Libby’s 25th birthday she receives a letter she knew would be coming eventually. This letter would finally answer the questions around who she is. Come to find out, Libby is left a mansion. While dealing with this shock, Libby is unaware that others have been waiting for the day the mansion becomes hers as well. This book was odd. It was a very twisted story and it kept me wanting to know what had happened to Libby’s family, but it also had me shrugging my shoulders a few times thinking “huh?” Overall I enjoyed the story and I sped through it, but I’m not sure it was exactly what I was expecting or hoping for.
QuirkyCat 8 days ago
The Family Upstairs is the latest thriller novel by Lisa Jewell, which means it's going to do an excellent job of creeping you out. This thriller will make you question the people you know, and think twice before trusting anybody too closely ever again. It all started with one house. First, it was one family, being kind enough to invite a guest in until she was back on her feet. Then more came. Twenty-five years later, the mystery of what happened to all of the family members or children still hasn't been answered. “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.” The Family Upstairs was described as a 'bone-chilling thriller' and boy, did it live up to that description. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out the mystery of this infamous house. There are so many disturbing elements that Lisa Jewell managed to weave into this single novel, it's almost too much to handle. This novel is split into two timelines. One is set in the past, and slowly reveals what happened in the house in question – and right away began giving us an idea as to what happened to the teenagers within. And then there's the present, twenty-five years later, following the baby girl who was born inside the house – and left with dozens of questions. The pacing seemed to wax and wane, with intense moments followed by a bit more of a lulling sense of security. It was an interesting combination and applied in such a way as to feel like there was always something set to happen shortly. This is one of those thrillers where you'll find yourself trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle before the dramatic reveals and thus will prove your emotional connection to it. It was fun trying to figure it all out beforehand, and I actually think I did a pretty good job of anticipating the reveals; that can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint. The complex set of characters made for an electrifying story, with each and every one of them having a complicated history and reason for caring about the house – and everything that it represented. There are plenty of questions raised about the characters, though naturally some more than others. I'll confess that this wasn't my favorite thriller out there, though I did enjoy it on the whole. It was fascinating and full of curiosities, not to mention dozens of questions about what happened. And thus it kept my interest throughout the novel.
Amanda_Dickens 8 days ago
I am pleasantly surprised by this book. I like going into a thriller knowing very little about it. I don't even want to know what others think about it. I like to have my own thoughts and opinions before someone else's can sway my own. This book has you wondering what the heck is going on from the very start. You have no idea how the characters are related and you have to figure it out along with the main character. The author does a great job with character development, especially when there are so many different character in play throughout different timelines all being shared at the the same time. It is very complex at times but it all works out eventually as you figure it out for yourself with clues given about each character. This book is atmospheric! I felt like I could reach through my mind's eye and just touch the house. It is creepy yet not too scary. The pacing was slower than what I normally like but it was steady throughout which made it still comfortable to read. Book that go fast and slow inconsistently feel like a bad roller coaster no one wants to ride. The plot line was solid and well thought out. I would love to see how the author was able to keep track of everything while writing the book. But, having typed that, I never really thought about the author while I was actually reading it which is a great compliment. All in all, I highly recommend this book and it will be in my top ten this year.
Anonymous 9 days ago
THIS BOOK IS TRASH
CLynnT 9 days ago
Lisa Jewell’s new thriller has all the elements I enjoy. Being stuck in America, I love to read thrillers based in the UK. These books allow me to live like a local: enjoy the tea and biscuits, walk along the river, view the architecture and wear the fashions. In addition to this inexpensive form of travel, Lisa’s story is one we all envy: the young protagonist Libby has just learned that she’s the sole heir to a beautiful mansion located in London’s Chelsea neighborhood. What’s not to envy, right? Throw in a dash of intrigue: our new heiress learns her mansion comes with a sordid history that very much involves her. Meet Lucy, a homeless mother of two who is struggling to get out of France. Her wisdom and love for her children are obviously much sharper than her judgment in men. Mix in a very unstable third-person point of view (what’s the deal with Henry?), and voila! A storyline that grabbed me by the ear and drug me through the sordid and sad childhoods of four young children as they watch their parents fall under the spell of a cult-like evil manipulator. This is such a fast-paced and fascinating read, a really well-planned plot that kept my attention at each turn. I was beyond worn out but sad to reach the end. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks so much to Atria Books and NetGalley for making it available.)