Thursday, 8 August 2019

Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors so I was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of The Family Upstairs. I was utterly gripped right from the start - I read the second half in a day! It has everything I love in a book - an old family mystery, a big spooky house, and a thoroughly creepy atmosphere.

Libby Jones works hard selling designer kitchens to the rich and famous but still only scrapes a living. She has a long-term plan: a few more years in her job and, if she's not been promoted, she's off. Then she receives a letter. She's inherited a house in the famous Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, worth millions. The drawback? Once the home of a weird cult, it was supposedly the scene of a bizarre suicide pact twenty-five years ago -  the only survivor was baby Libby. But what really happened that night?

The story is told from three points of view. Libby, Henry (a young boy who lived in the house), and a middle-aged woman now living a hand-to-mouth existence in the South of France. How are these very different people connected?

It would be far more fun for you to read this story without knowing too much about it! So I'll just say I loved the old house, with it's 'hidden' (servants') staircase and sinister locked rooms. Henry was my favourite character, along with Miller - the slobby investigative journalist who helps Libby uncover the secrets in her past. There's a nod to a famous 90s movie about a real-life murderer, the story is jam-packed with twist after twist, the characters are thoroughly engaging, and the final line is an absolute classic. Brilliant stuff!

The Family Upstairs is my favourite read this year and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who loves a clever, twisty mystery with a dollop of chilling gothic suspense.  

Thank you to Lisa Jewell and Cornerstone (Random House) for my copy of this book, which I requested via NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

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