How do you uncover your family’s past with no clues other than a huge house and a few disturbing rumors? Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs spins a web of secrets, lies, and buried family history within a creepy abandoned mansion, along with the inhabitants who disappeared from it over twenty-five years ago.
When Libby opens a letter informing her that she is the sole inheritor of a mansion on a posh street in London, it seems her life will quite literally go from rags to riches. But other than a decades-old news story about the three dead bodies dressed in black discovered on the floor of the mansion and a well-fed baby in a crib upstairs who is said to have been Libby, she’s made no inroads into her past. She hopes this new inheritance will give her some answers, and, as it turns out, so do the children who disappeared from the house that same night. From a single sock to a broken fiddle to a dead rabbit’s foot dangling from a chain, the allusions to buried secrets scattered throughout the book will incentivize you to read more quickly: to find out who died, who ran away, where they are now, and how Libby fits into all of these mysteries.
Lisa Jewell has published nine books in the US, her books have sold over 1,000,000 copies, and she is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Needless to say, she’s on a roll: The Family Upstairs is yet another jaw-dropping, fast-paced, character-driven thriller in the compulsively readable repertoire of this author-to-follow. You will gasp as the narrators tell their stories from different places, time zones, and perspectives, which intertwine to create gripping, page-turning suspense.
I sat at my desk at work and read this book in two sittings. My jaw genuinely dropped at a few of the plot twists; I had to go back and read a few parts twice just to let the reality of what I’d just read wash over me. This novel investigates what people in power are capable of; the relationships that grow out of trauma; and how the ties of family can tug a group back together twenty-five years after parting. Jewell’s characters pull you in and then blow your mind; there are new layers of intrigue on every page. Put down your phone. Make a coffee. Get comfortable in your favorite reading spot. You will read this book compulsively, because Lisa Jewell has done it again.