The Family Upstairsby Published 05 Nov 2019
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The Family Upstairs Ebook Description
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You 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.
The Family Upstairs Reviews
The Family Upstairs is a compulsively readable psychological thriller that features multiple storylines, three POV’s, an unreliable narrator, a sociopath, several mysteries, many murders, a crazy cult, a sick obsession, and much more! Needless to say, there’s a whole lot going on.
When Libby, who was adopted when she was a baby, discovers that she will inherit a mansion on her 25th birthday, she is stunned. She wants to know more about her birth parents and why she is the sole heir to a large fortune. She begins to investigate, and with the help of a reporter, she soon finds she might not want to know where she came from after all.
Henry, a child who grew up in the mansion, shares the story of his family’s riches to rags story.
Lucy, a single mom of two, living in France is homeless and desperate to put a roof over her children’s heads. When she receives a calendar reminder that the baby has turned 25, she stops at nothing to return to the home from which she fled.
I enjoyed the first ¾ of this book. It’s fast-paced, easy to read--I couldn’t put it down. I was taken in by all three narrators and was eager to find out all of their secrets. However, I reached a point when it just turned chaotic and crazy. In addition to trying to cover too much and do too much, The Family Upstairs was trying to be too many genres in one--family drama vs. mystery vs. twisted thriller, which took me out of the story and had me shaking my head. The last few pages were eye-roll worthy--I just wasn’t buying Henry’s character. In no way is this book bad, I was just expecting more in the end.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa Jewell is one of my favorite authors!
I have read all of her thrillers and my expectations were so high for her newest (possibly too high). I love how she writes, builds tension, and weaves a story.
Her books are so easy to read and fall into. This one did seem a bit too long though and I was beginning to tire of the complex plot. It focuses on a highly dysfunctional family and there are a lot of characters to sort out. It took some time before I was able to make all the connections, but it played out nicely.
The family runs a cult-like home (or rather mansion) and what happens there comes into play later on....
The two timelines (past/present) will collide into a dark tale of this is what really happened....
There are surprising twists, but this one was missing the page-turning magic that I loved in her previous novels. It is still a solid and entertaining read.
This one is out August 8, 2018
BOTM pick for November 2019!
"It all happened so slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly, the change to our parents, to our home, to our lives after they arrived. But that first night, when Birdie appeared on our front step with two large suitcases and a cat in a wicker box, we could never have guessed the impact she would have, the other people she would bring into our lives, that it would all end the way it did.
We thought she had just come to stay for the weekend."
Gather round children, and lend an ear. If you are on the gothic psychological suspense train, and you're looking for something to read in the same vein as Ruth Ware or V.C. Andrews, then this is your stop. The Family Upstairs is unsettling, atmospheric, and dare I say a tad bit taboo? 😏 I find those three traits to be the trifecta of a devilishly chilling read, and if you're like me, this needs to be on your must read list.
The reader determines quickly that the narrative is structured through three different points of view, although we aren't told how they correlate until later in the story, and this works extremely well here. I honestly don't think the story would have been quite the same if any minor tweaking had been done to the particular perspectives we are privy to, as we get just enough information into the past and present to answer all the major questions, while also allowing the reader to use their imagination to fill in some minor blanks as well. If you're the type of person who doesn't like an open-ended story, but also isn't a fan of the neat and tidy package upon conclusion, you'll appreciate what Jewell has done with this story.
I'm aware it's already been mentioned above, but I can't emphasize enough what a delight it was to read a story that felt like a modern day V.C. Andrews novel. Obviously the similarities in dysfunctional family dynamics and suffocating atmosphere of the gothic tone are clear, but there are so many minor easter eggs that felt a tribute to that unique style of storytelling. The overall vibe of this one feels much darker than Lisa's previous novels, but I think she's taken a leap of faith in good conscience and found that she writes just as well in this genre as she does in domestic suspense and women's fiction.
Yes, yes, I've kept this review vague, spoiler free, and frustratingly neutral in tone, but that's only because I'd like for you to have the chance to read this book for yourself without any influence from my thoughts. If you're a fan of the author's previous novels, you definitely need to read this. If you're new to her work, this is a GREAT piece to start with. The characters are wonderfully flawed, the story is unpredictable, and the unsettling nature of the content inside is sure to chill even the most experienced reader of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended!
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy!
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, since I’m a huge Lisa Jewell fan. For me this book was a frustrating read. The four other novels by this author which I have previously read were favorites of mine and I never had any problems with the flow of the story. This book has so many characters, switches back and forth in time and I found the characters, with the exception of Libby, to be unpredictable and not very believable. In the beginning I actually took notes to keep the characters straight!
The blurb for this book is not very explanatory, as the family that descends upon this house doesn’t live upstairs but virtually invades the entire house, upending all of the characters lives and futures and wrecking havoc on the family living there.
The story is told from three points of view, the first we are introduced to is Libby. Libby has just turned 25, she is single and working at a company that sells kitchens to mostly wealthy clients who need her expert advice. She makes a living wage but not much more. She always knew that she had been an orphan, adopted when she was a young baby, and has been waiting for a letter to come from the solicitors in England to tell her what her family name is and a little bit about them. What she finds out instead is that she has now inherited a mansion in an upscale part of Chelsea, England, and need only come to the law offices to claim the house. Even in a run down condition she knows the house will be worth many thousands of pounds.
Henry narrates a large portion of the story. He was the son of the original family who owned the house in Chelsea. We will see many sides of Henry, the good, the sad and the unbelievable. He had to watch while his home and family were turned upside down and their lifestyle completely changed when David Thomson and his family come to stay, for a very long time!
Lucy’s point of view is interesting, she is a now single mother of two, Marco and Sally and has been living most of her life from the money she makes playing her fiddle. She is extremely down and out when we join her in the story. She gets the message on her phone “the baby is 25” just when she had no idea how she was going to continue to provide for her children. She heads to England to rejoin her siblings and the now grown baby who will inherit the family home.
This is such a confusing story with so many characters that I’m not going to get into any of the plot. Suffice it to say that it is multi-layered, hard to keep straight and hard to believe. It was only the closing chapters that really set straight what the heck was going on in the novel. For this story to have occurred it would have been necessary for the family, friends and neighbors of the Lamb family to have done nothing to try to find out what was going on in this house for 5 years. The children were taken out of school and eventually none of them were allowed to leave the house. I just kept saying to myself “come on, someone would have noticed something was up here”.
I don’t think I can recommend this book to anyone but I will continue to be a huge fan of this author, this book just wasn’t right for me. There are other 5* reviews out there so read a variety of them!
I would like to tell my readers that this book does include animal cruelty, incest, child abuse and rape.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. The book is set to publish November 5, 2019.
Well, it looks as though I may be in the minority on this one!
Libby is shocked after being notified she’s just inherited a massive house. One that comes with a mysterious and tragic history.
Libby was found abandoned as a baby in this home. Having been adopted, Libby has since blossomed into a 25 year old, well-adjusted, content young lady. Anxious to keep her life moving along on the timetable she’s set for herself.
Well, Miss Libby...this new inheritance thing may just change up your original life plan. Maybe there’s a great deal more to discover here than just an old house.
Told from several POV and timelines. From the start I had difficulty keeping it all straight, never coming together as much as I hoped.
I’ve been reading all of Lisa Jewels books and always look forward to their release every year, but I have to say this might be my least favorite.
But…I’m still a committed Lisa Jewell fan and anxiously await her next release!
A buddy read with Susanne!🌸
Thank you to Ariele Friedman at Atria Books via NetGalley and Lisa Jewel for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.