Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

In The Family Upstairs, Libby receives an unexpected inheritance on her 25th birthday – a multi-million dollar mansion that’s been sitting empty for decades following the mysterious suicides of the homeowners and the disappearance of their two teenage children. As Libby begins to investigate what happened all those years ago, a disturbing story emerges.

Libby knew she was adopted, but she thought her biological parents died in a car crash. When she receives notice of her large inheritance, she realizes that was just a lie her adoptive parents told her to shield her from the awful truth. A quick Google search uncovers a disturbing story – 24 years ago, ten-month-old Libby was found in her crib in the mansion while the bodies of three adults lay decomposing in the kitchen, and Libby’s teenage siblings were nowhere to be found.

Libby takes possession of her new house, a strangely empty mansion that nevertheless gives up clues that something was very off with how the previous occupants lived. For example, there were locks on the outside of several bedroom doors and blood stains in one of the rooms. She plans to sell the house but also wants to figure out what happened to her missing brother and sister.

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She enlists the help of Miller, an investigative journalist who tried several years earlier to unravel the mystery of what happened in that house. Together they piece together parts of the story. The other details are provided by her brother, Henry, who narrates a firsthand account of what happened all those years ago, and her sister, Lucy, who is frantically trying to make it to London for a reunion with “the baby.”

Overall, this was a satisfying, although dark, novel of suspense. The title The Family Upstairs refers to how two groups of people moved into the house with Libby’s family, slowly took control, and completely upended the homeowners’ lives. The story line and scenes were so well-crafted that I found myself wanting to reap vengeance on all the adults in the book, especially the ones that failed to protect their children.

And that point brings up one of the story’s biggest flaws. The whole plot hinged upon Libby’s parents allowing these people to move in and take over. Libby’s father was portrayed as a proud, controlling man prior to the squatters arriving. Letting them take over the household and siphon off his fortune seemed really inconsistent to me.

Nevertheless, it’s a good book and I recommend it to anyone who likes their suspense novels a little dark and edgy.

Thanks for the recommendation, Nurse Pam!

Have you read any good suspense novels recently? What do you recommend?

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

  1. I don’t always respond to your blogs but I do throughly enjoy them. I have read several books I would not have normally read . Such as the Book of Lost Friends …. I just completed it and I thought it was excellent. So thank you !!

    Liked by 1 person

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