Book Review

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell (Out 11/5/2019)

Publication Date: 10/22/2019

Rating: 4 / 5

I received a complimentary egalley of THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS by Lisa Jewell. Thank you to Netgalley and Atria Books for the chance to read and provide an honest review.

Libby Jones is living a peaceful life, selling kitchens by day and enjoying her little flat by night. Just after her 25th birthday, her world is shaken a bit when she receives a letter in the mail which will reveal her original identity. It turns out that Libby was adopted after her birth parents apparently killed themselves. Her two siblings, teens at the time, went missing and were never heard from since which means that she is now the sole inheritor of the mansion where the deaths occurred.

Shocked by the mystery that surrounds her origins, Libby begins to investigate to get answers. Meanwhile we get two additional POVs in Jewell’s narrative. Henry gives the story from his perspective of the events leading up to Libby’s parents’ deaths. Lucy has a calendar alert on her phone telling her that the baby is now 25 years old and must find a way to get herself and her two children back to England.

Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, rape, child abuse.

This is a book that left me with a few mixed feelings. I had seen this one categorized as a thriller, but I personally would categorize this more as a mystery. There are some thriller aspects to the story, but it is much more of a slow burn. As you can see by the trigger warnings I listed, this is a story with a lot of darkness to it as well.

Initially there were a lot of characters and points of view to keep track of and some of the links between them were kept rather vague, no doubt intentionally. That said, after reading for a while I got a better feel for the characters and found each POV pretty engaging. I found Lucy’s story perhaps a bit drawn out. She’s a single mom dealing with a horrible ex, homeless and stuck making some difficult decisions to take care of her family. Her story is touching, but didn’t add a lot to the narrative as a whole for me.

The author did an excellent job of keeping me guessing as to how the stories would ultimately link up and how a seemingly well to do family who had a place on the society page devolved into Libby’s origin story. The author threw some twists at me that I did not see coming and for that I really enjoyed the book.

If you are looking for a good, slow burn suspense mystery, this definitely is a book you’ll want to check out when it is released on November 5, 2019!

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