Title/Author: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
In a nutshell (Publisher):
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.
Verdict: A dark, disturbing, stay-up-late-and-get-ready-to-ignore-life psychological thriller!
Imagine finding out, on your 25th birthday, that you’ve just inherited a mansion in a prestigious neighborhood.
Well, that was exactly what happened to Libby. Apparently her 25th birthday present was a mansion (12 rooms in total!) in Chelsea she had inherited from her birth parents. ‘The house is three floors high, four windows wide. It is beautiful.’ Unfortunately, left abandoned, ‘the house is an eyesore’ and inside, it made Libby feel like ‘she’s in a coffin.’ It was there too, that she found something that was attached to her when she was left there, as a baby, in her crib, a rabbit’s foot hanging on a gold chain. Yup. You read that right. A rabbit’s foot! For good luck, apparently! The sight of the house, the energy that it emanated, and the fact that there were three bodies found in there, sent a chill down her spine. And she was determined to find out what exactly happened with the help of her friend, also boss, Dido, and a fellow reporter, Miller Roe, who had been obsessed with the story.
The story alternated between 2 timelines and 3 viewpoints – between Libby in the present day; Henry, from 25 years ago to present day, and Lucy who was also somehow connected to this family.
So who was this family upstairs? This entire mystery started when Martina, Henry’s mother, invited pop-star Birdie to the house. When Henry Sr. fell sick, Birdie claimed to know someone who could help him with his condition. Entered David Thomsen, his wife and two children, who overstayed their welcome and after awhile, it seemed, to Henry, that David had taken the reins of the entire household. Henry, being a child wise beyond his age knew something was going on, but he was kept on a tight leash by those in command, who unfortunately, weren’t his parents. And there were harsh, ridiculous rules to follow.
I have a soft spot for Henry. As dark and twisted and weird as he may be, I can’t help but to feel sorry for him for what he had to go through. Lucy’s narrative was really compelling too. Having to survive on her own with two children and a dog, with only her talent of playing her fiddle to count on, she pretty much had nothing else. So when it was time for her to head back to London, to unravel what had been bugging her for 25 years, much to her reluctance, she had to seek financial help from her abusive ex-husband. From the start, I kept wondering what was Lucy’s connection to all of these?
So, what was happening in that mansion? Why were Henry’s parents fading into the background of their very own home? Why did Phin, David’s son, hate his dad so much? Why was the entire family residing in their house? What was this family hiding?
The ending was a little too tidy to me, but overall, the novel was really good and brought my faith back in psychological thrillers.
Twisted. Sinister. Dark. Suspenseful. All these elements made this such an engrossing read.Tweet
If you enjoy disturbing, psychological thrillers that revolve around dysfunctional families, try this one!
Thank you Netgalley and Atria Books for the free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Have you read this book? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you intend to read it? Please share with me your thoughts!
Last but not least, thank you for stopping by and may the power of good reads be with you always!