The Family Upstairs – by Lisa Jewell – Book Review

the family


Having read and enjoyed Watching You and Then She Was Gone, I was pleased to receive a copy of this new novel via Netgalley.



In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.

In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.

They’ve been dead for several days.

Who has been looking after the baby?

And where did they go?

Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.
A compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell.



I found this quite different to the other two books, which is good. Not because I preferred this, I didn’t, just that, although it’s nice to know what to expect from an author you’ve read before in terms of likeability, it’s good to mix things up a little. This is a much darker read to the other two I felt.

After another family moves into the home of Henry, Lucy and their parents, a sinister feeling starts to spread throughout the house. Seemingly going from a relatively normal family situation, it soon turns into a cult like setup, with the parents becoming increasingly dependent on the new comers.

Jump 24 years or so and Libby receives a very large, if run down, house in Chelsea as an inheritance. Libby knew she was adopted by her parents but knows little of her birth family. The novel that follows is a very mysterious story told through three of the main characters, and flipping from past to present day.

I thought this novel had a very very sinister edge to it and was a dark but engaging read. I thought the characters worked well within the story, and even though the older part of the tale happens mainly within the confines of the house, there was still an atmosphere of time and place.
There are a lot of very different characters within this story, some you like, some you don’t. But they are all very complex and complicated people.  This isn’t dealt with in great depth but almost by doing not doing so it adds to the suspense and danger.  I enjoyed reading the parts of Lucy the most, for me she was the most interesting character and seemed to be the one with her ‘head screwed on’. I found Henry a very creepy character indeed and this came through very well in the writing.

I part read/part listened to this this book via my ebook copy and a download from BorrowBox.  The narration of Bea Holland, Dominic Thorburn and Tamaryn Payne worked very well together and really brought the book to life.

If you like your books dark, mysterious and that little bit creepy, I’d recommend you give this one a go.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy of this book.  Out now in paperback and EBook.


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