The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You 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: IYouGone...

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Title:The Family Upstairs
Author:Lisa Jewell
Rating:

The Family Upstairs Reviews

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    Gather round children, and lend an ear. If you are on the gothic psychological suspense train, and you're looking for something to read in the same vein as

    or

    , then this is your stop.

    is unsettling, atmospheric, and dare I say a tad bit taboo? 😏 I find those three traits to be the trifecta of a devilishly chilling read, and if you're like me, this

    to be on your must read list.

    The reader determines quickly that the narrative is structured through three different points of view, although we aren't told how they correlate until later in the story, and this works extremely well here. I honestly don't think the story would have been quite the same if any minor tweaking had been done to the particular perspectives we are privy to, as we get just enough information into the past and present to answer all the major questions, while also allowing the reader to use their imagination to fill in some minor blanks as well. If you're the type of person who doesn't like an open-ended story, but also isn't a fan of the neat and tidy package upon conclusion, you'll appreciate what Jewell has done with this story.

    I'm aware it's already been mentioned above, but I can't emphasize enough what a delight it was to read a story that felt like a modern day V.C. Andrews novel. Obviously the similarities in dysfunctional family dynamics and suffocating atmosphere of the gothic tone are clear, but there are so many minor easter eggs that felt a tribute to that unique style of storytelling. The overall vibe of this one feels much darker than Lisa's previous novels, but I think she's taken a leap of faith in good conscience and found that she writes just as well in this genre as she does in domestic suspense and women's fiction.

    Yes, yes, I've kept this review vague, spoiler free, and frustratingly neutral in tone, but that's only because I'd like for you to have the chance to read this book for yourself without any influence from my thoughts. If you're a fan of the author's previous novels, you definitely need to read this. If you're new to her work, this is a GREAT piece to start with. The characters are wonderfully flawed, the story is unpredictable, and the unsettling nature of the content inside is sure to chill even the most experienced reader of psychological thrillers. Highly recommended!

  • Dita

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!

    432 engrossing pages of pure psychopathic heaven and I read every one of them in the last 10 hours. I have been walking around our house all day resenting anyone who needed me for anything...this book is THAT good.

    We're ordering pizza tonight.

    Sorry, not sorry.

    Don't worry if, as you start this, you feel a little confused by the introduction of different characters and different time periods, it only feels like you don't know what's going on and it o

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!

    432 engrossing pages of pure psychopathic heaven and I read every one of them in the last 10 hours. I have been walking around our house all day resenting anyone who needed me for anything...this book is THAT good.

    We're ordering pizza tonight.

    Sorry, not sorry.

    Don't worry if, as you start this, you feel a little confused by the introduction of different characters and different time periods, it only feels like you don't know what's going on and it only lasts a little while because pretty soon? Bang, like jello, it all gels together and the tension ramps and ramps and ramps. I could...not....put....it....down.

    I'll let everyone else describe it; just read it!

    Thank you to Lisa Jewel, Atria Books, and NetGalley for giving me this digital ARC (I received a widget!!) in exchange for an honest review!

  • Holly  B

    3.5 STARS

    I have read all of her thrillers and my expectations were so high for her newest (

    .  I love how she writes, builds tension, and weaves a story.

    Her books are so easy to read and fall into. This one did seem a bit

    though and I was beginning to tire of the complex plot. It focuses on a highly dysfunctional family and there are a lot of characters to sort out.  It took some time before I was able to make all the connections, b(possibly/>

    3.5 STARS

    I have read all of her thrillers and my expectations were so high for her newest (

    .  I love how she writes, builds tension, and weaves a story.

    Her books are so easy to read and fall into. This one did seem a bit

    though and I was beginning to tire of the complex plot. It focuses on a highly dysfunctional family and there are a lot of characters to sort out.  It took some time before I was able to make all the connections, but it played out nicely.

    The family runs a cult-like home (

    ) and what happens there comes into play later on....

    The two timelines (past/present) will collide into a dark tale of 

    There are surprising twists, but this one was missing the page-turning magic that I loved in her previous novels. It is still a solid and entertaining read.

    This one is out August 8, 2018

  • Maureen

    Imagine inheriting an eight bedroom property in London’s SW3 - in the heart of Chelsea - it’s an area of multi million pound homes - well let’s face it, you’d be over the moon to say the least. This wonderful inheritance is Libby Jones 25th birthday present, but the house (or mansion to be precise) is pretty dilapidated, and it has a very sinister past too.

    Told from the points of view of Libby, Lucy, and Henry, in both the past and present, this compelling family drama begins with th

    Imagine inheriting an eight bedroom property in London’s SW3 - in the heart of Chelsea - it’s an area of multi million pound homes - well let’s face it, you’d be over the moon to say the least. This wonderful inheritance is Libby Jones 25th birthday present, but the house (or mansion to be precise) is pretty dilapidated, and it has a very sinister past too.

    Told from the points of view of Libby, Lucy, and Henry, in both the past and present, this compelling family drama begins with the previous owners of the house. The Lamb’s are a wealthy couple with two children, Henry and Lucy. After allowing a charismatic stranger named David and his family to move into their home, their lives will be turned completely upside down, because David isn’t nearly as charming as he appears to be. He’s definitely a Svengali figure and will soon have the family under his spell, all except for Henry - he isn’t falling for David’s charms, not one little bit!

    A disturbing, chilling and complex narrative results in many mysteries, as the three narrators stories begin to thread together, bringing us ever closer to the main mystery - that of what happened to the previous inhabitants of this Chelsea mansion.

    * Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK Cornerstone for my ARC for which I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *

  • Paromjit

    Lisa Jewell ventures into horror infested psychological thriller territory in this disturbing and unsettling novel. 25 years ago in Chelsea, London, the police enter 16 Cheyne Walk, the mansion of the wealthy Lambs, the home of the famous Martina, wife, model and mother, with her young children, Henry and Lucy. What they discover is the dead, decomposing bodies of the Lamb parents, and that of another mystery man, with a note that suggests a cult suicide, but strangely they find a 10 month old b

    Lisa Jewell ventures into horror infested psychological thriller territory in this disturbing and unsettling novel. 25 years ago in Chelsea, London, the police enter 16 Cheyne Walk, the mansion of the wealthy Lambs, the home of the famous Martina, wife, model and mother, with her young children, Henry and Lucy. What they discover is the dead, decomposing bodies of the Lamb parents, and that of another mystery man, with a note that suggests a cult suicide, but strangely they find a 10 month old baby alive and well cared for, Serenity Lamb, who is later to be adopted. There were rumours of other children residing at the place but no trace of them has ever been uncovered. In the present, it is Libby Jones 25th birthday, her ordinary life of working in sales of designer kitchens, living under tight financial straits in her small flat, is to be rocked when out of the blue she learns she is the sole inheritor of a large Chelsea mansion, she has become an extremely rich young woman.

    When she visits the house with the solicitor, she finds it in a dilapidated condition with a creepy atmosphere as she learns of what happened there 25 years ago. She becomes more afraid when she hears the sounds of someone upstairs and leaves the place abruptly, determined to discover all she can about what happened there. Libby is aided by her work colleague, Dido, and journalist, Miller Roe whose life was destroyed by his obsession with the story. In the South of France in Nice, an impoverished single mother is living hand to mouth with her two children from different fathers, Marco and Stella. She busks as a fiddle player, worn out by the life she lives, which includes periods of homelessness but she is now keen to take her family to London. In the past, a young Henry with his strong sense of entitlement is to find his future and that of his family shockingly derailed when his mother invites a pop star, Birdie Dunlop-Evers, and David Thomsen, with his family, wife, Sally, and their children, Clemency and Phin to live in their home temporarily, only for them to end up staying permanently. Thomsen, the usurper, is authoritarian, cruel, and manipulative as he tightens his hold on the household as the lives of those who reside there descend into horror and a nightmarish hell.

    Jewell writes a gripping and compulsive novel in which a menacing insanity takes hold of the lives of the children in Cheyne Walk, culminating in their broken and traumatised, emotionally damaged psyches. Libby is to find her life changed forever as she learns of the secret family histories of her newly inherited mansion. This is the most twisted and darkest of books, as revelation after revelation unfolds, which makes for an uncomfortable but never less than a compelling reading experience. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.

  • Meredith

    When Libby, who was adopted when she was a baby, discovers that she will inherit a mansion on her 25th birthday, she is stunned. She wants to know more about her birth parents and why she is the sole he/>The

    When Libby, who was adopted when she was a baby, discovers that she will inherit a mansion on her 25th birthday, she is stunned. She wants to know more about her birth parents and why she is the sole heir to a large fortune. She begins to investigate, and with the help of a reporter, she soon finds she might not want to know where she came from after all.

    Henry, a child who grew up in the mansion, shares the story of his family’s riches to rags story.

    Lucy, a single mom of two, living in France is homeless and desperate to put a roof over her children’s heads. When she receives a calendar reminder that the baby has turned 25, she stops at nothing to return to the home from which she fled.

    I enjoyed the first ¾ of this book. It’s fast-paced, easy to read--I couldn’t put it down. I was taken in by all three narrators and was eager to find out all of their secrets.

    The last few pages were eye-roll worthy--I just wasn’t buying Henry’s character.

    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    3.25 confused, restless, is it fair enough to give lower points because you’re die-hard fan of Lisa Jewell fan question flying over my head, creepy, oh those guests should urgently get the hell out of the house stars!

    Personally, honestly, I love this author’s work starting from “Watching you”, “Then she was gone”, “I found you”. She is the master evil queen of thrillers taken place in creepy houses and the characters formed in dysfunctional families who have unresolved issues.

    So

    3.25 confused, restless, is it fair enough to give lower points because you’re die-hard fan of Lisa Jewell fan question flying over my head, creepy, oh those guests should urgently get the hell out of the house stars!

    Personally, honestly, I love this author’s work starting from “Watching you”, “Then she was gone”, “I found you”. She is the master evil queen of thrillers taken place in creepy houses and the characters formed in dysfunctional families who have unresolved issues.

    So this book is one of them. I enjoyed the prologue. I felt all the goose-bumps on my arm, sweat dripping down my forearm, shivered uncontrollably. My intellectual appetite increased and my level of curiosity hit to the top.

    Plot was intriguing: Unwanted and never-leaving guests occupied house and their numbers increased every day till they completely turned into an ominous, cursed and chilling cult, whose members wear ugly shapeless black clothes, chose organic style diet by famishing children.

    And we met David and Birdie, they’re one of the creepiest couples as like Natural Born Killer’s “Mickey and Mallory”, or any adopted children of Woody Allen and him.

    Those parts of the book about Henry, who is probably younger version of Dexter, undiscovered sociopath who hides his unconditional love for Phin, captured my attention. His mother who is about to lose the rest of her marbles, his passive and obedient, weak father and his sister who is suffering from puberty crisis and uncontrollable occupation of CREEPY GUESTS who became THE REAL OWNERS of the house were remarkable and well-rounded characters.

    The thing I didn’t like and found confusing is way of 3 POV-ed story telling. I got the writer’s motive to put a bridge between past and future and connect three main characters’ stories, mash them in harmony. But the parts are too detailed and you started to feel like you’re drifting apart the main story, the creepy, disturbing guest part and dive into too many details about the other characters’ lives. There are so much enough materials on this book to write two other ones.

    Till we reach the encounter of characters and combination part of their stories we may already solve their mystery. Being two steps ahead of the writer doesn’t make me happy!

    So I wished we only read about the house’s past, rising of cult, Henry’s searching about paganism and his slow but expected move to the dark side. We already have David and Birdie to be shaken to the core.

    The ending of the book was nice touch made me give extra 0.25 stars but I still expected more from this writer and as soon as I saw this book on my dashboard and screamed ( not for seeing my morning self in the mirror, for finding out NetGalley provided me the book, it was one of the happy and joyous screams) and the beginning excited me but the pacing got slower in the middle.

    It was still good written, detailed, riveting book. Lisa Jewell is one of the best story tellers I’ve ever seen and as a hopeless fan, I will keep happy screaming before starting her upcoming books. But this time, this book didn’t work so much for me!

    Special thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley to send me this ARC COPY and lighten up my day in exchange my honest review.

  • Kaceey

    Libby is shocked after being notified she’s just inherited a massive house. One that comes with a mysterious and tragic history.

    Libby was found abandoned as a baby in this home. Having been adopted, Libby has since blossomed into a 25 year old, well-adjusted, content young lady. Anxious to keep her life moving along on the timetable she’s set for herself.

    this new inheritance thing may just change up your original life pl

    Libby is shocked after being notified she’s just inherited a massive house. One that comes with a mysterious and tragic history.

    Libby was found abandoned as a baby in this home. Having been adopted, Libby has since blossomed into a 25 year old, well-adjusted, content young lady. Anxious to keep her life moving along on the timetable she’s set for herself.

    this new inheritance thing may just change up your original life plan. Maybe there’s a great deal more to discover here than just an old house.

    Told from several POV and timelines. From the start I had difficulty keeping it all straight, never coming together as much as I hoped.

    I’ve been reading all of Lisa Jewels books and always look forward to their release every year, but I have to say this might be my least favorite.

    But…I’m still a committed Lisa Jewell fan and anxiously await her next release!

    A buddy read with Susanne!🌸

    Thank you to Ariele Friedman at Atria Books via NetGalley and Lisa Jewel for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

    This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, since I’m a huge Lisa Jewell fan. For me this book was a frustrating read. The four other novels by this author which I have previously read were favorites of mine and I never had any problems with the flow of the story. This book has so many characters, switches back and forth in time and I found the characters, with the exception of Libby, to be unpredictable and not very believable. In the beginning I actually took notes to keep the character

    This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, since I’m a huge Lisa Jewell fan. For me this book was a frustrating read. The four other novels by this author which I have previously read were favorites of mine and I never had any problems with the flow of the story. This book has so many characters, switches back and forth in time and I found the characters, with the exception of Libby, to be unpredictable and not very believable. In the beginning I actually took notes to keep the characters straight!

    The blurb for this book is not very explanatory, as the family that descends upon this house doesn’t live upstairs but virtually invades the entire house, upending all of the characters lives and futures and wrecking havoc on the family living there.

    The story is told from three points of view, the first we are introduced to is Libby. Libby has just turned 25, she is single and working at a company that sells kitchens to mostly wealthy clients who need her expert advice. She makes a living wage but not much more. She always knew that she had been an orphan, adopted when she was a young baby, and has been waiting for a letter to come from the solicitors in England to tell her what her family name is and a little bit about them. What she finds out instead is that she has now inherited a mansion in an upscale part of Chelsea, England, and need only come to the law offices to claim the house. Even in a run down condition she knows the house will be worth many thousands of pounds.

    Henry narrates a large portion of the story. He was the son of the original family who owned the house in Chelsea. We will see many sides of Henry, the good, the sad and the unbelievable. He had to watch while his home and family were turned upside down and their lifestyle completely changed when David Thomson and his family come to stay, for a very long time!

    Lucy’s point of view is interesting, she is a now single mother of two, Marco and Sally and has been living most of her life from the money she makes playing her fiddle. She is extremely down and out when we join her in the story. She gets the message on her phone “the baby is 25” just when she had no idea how she was going to continue to provide for her children. She heads to England to rejoin her siblings and the now grown baby who will inherit the family home.

    This is such a confusing story with so many characters that I’m not going to get into any of the plot. Suffice it to say that it is multi-layered, hard to keep straight and hard to believe. It was only the closing chapters that really set straight what the heck was going on in the novel. For this story to have occurred it would have been necessary for the family, friends and neighbors of the Lamb family to have done nothing to try to find out what was going on in this house for 5 years. The children were taken out of school and eventually none of them were allowed to leave the house. I just kept saying to myself “come on, someone would have noticed something was up here”.

    I don’t think I can recommend this book to anyone but I will continue to be a huge fan of this author, this book just wasn’t right for me. There are other 5* reviews out there so read a variety of them!

    I would like to tell my readers that this book does include animal cruelty, incest, child abuse and rape.

    I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. The book is set to publish November 5, 2019.

  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars.

    This book was very confusing too me so I am just going to use the blurb as the plot. I thought it was written well.

    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 als

    2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars.

    This book was very confusing too me so I am just going to use the blurb as the plot. I thought it was written well.

    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.

    This one has a slow burn in the beginning and it was so confusing but it eventually made sense. It is told in three points of view, Libby's, Henry's and Lucy's. It also has two different timelines. There are also lots of characters in it so at times it was hard for me to keep track of all of them. When I read a book I don't like to be confused. I like to know what's going on and it takes awhile to know what's going on.

    I was not expecting to not liking this one. I did enjoy some parts. I love Lisa Jewell and I loved every book she has written so this was a disappointment. I can't believe I am saying this, but this one was too dark and disturbing for me. This book was very very dark. It is not for every one. I have never read a book that was too disturbing and dark until I read this one. It has lots of triggers which I will put down all of them at the end of the review. I felt like a different author wrote this book. There were some parts that I enjoyed. I did enjoy the ending.

    I still can't wait for the next Lisa Jewell book. This is the only book of hers, that was a disappointment to me. The other books I read by her, I loved so much. I am in the minority of this one so I suggest to look at all the other 4 and 5 star reviews. This one just might be the book for you. Lots of others loved this book.

    Trigger warnings: If you have a trigger this book has it. Rape, child abuse, animal cruelty, suicide and incest.

    I want to thank Netgalley, Atria Books, and Lisa Jewell for the widget of this book.

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