The Family Upstairs
by Lisa Jewell
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.
“All books are good,’ he said…
‘They weren’t bad books,’ Phin countered patiently. ‘They were books that you didn’t enjoy. It’s not the same thing at all. The only bad books are books that are so badly written that no one will publish them. Any book that has been published is going to be a ‘good book’ for someone.’
I nodded. I couldn’t fault his logic.”
I’d seen this book all over the place and was keen to read it myself. I chose to listen to the audiobook when it became available at my local library, mostly because the e-book wasn’t available for a few more weeks!
Imagine turning 25 and finding that you’ve inherited a huge mansion by the Thames in Chelsea, London. The dream, right? Libby Jones can’t believe what she’s heard, heads over to have a look at her new property and soon finds that the house has a rather concerning history.
This story is told from the alternating perspectives of Libby, Henry and Lucy, each with their own voice in this audiobook. As there are also two timelines, at first is takes a little bit of effort to work out when and where each character is, but once the story gets into full flow things begin to make a little more sense.
Libby inherits the house. A young boy named Henry once lived there and single mum Lucy is living on the streets of France, doing all she can to put a roof over her children’s heads.
I enjoyed acting the detective through this story, trying to put the pieces together and understand how these three characters fit in it but I have to admit that I lost track on a couple of occasions. Libby’s story line was my favourite, I think because for me it was the most relatable.
The story was mostly fast paced and I often struggled to put it down but in general I felt that this was just an okay read. I didn’t hate it in anyway, but I didn’t find it particularly memorable and the story probably won’t stay with me for any length of time.