The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
About the author
Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.
She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.
You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box.
But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly.
Now you and your sister must find a way to survive…
Firstly, a massive thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for letting me read this book for an honest review.
From the very first few pages of this book I was gripped, it was truly amazing and kept me guessing right till the end. I could not put this book down and if it wasn’t for sleep and work I probably wouldn’t have.
This book switches from the past to the present and slowly the reader works out the connections and how it all fits together, but there are always certain elements left out so it is not all completely clear till the very end.
Libby is the character in the present who on her twenty-fifth birthday inherits a massive house in Chelsea that will change her life forever. However, Libby is adopted and knows nothing of her childhood – can this house tell her more about her past and where she came from?
The other main characters are the people from the past Henry and Lucy Lamb who were children in the Chelsea house all those years ago. The story is told between Libby, Lucy and Henry.
This story is incredibly well written and an amazing thriller, Jewell has a real gift for keeping you on your toes. At the beginning of the story I was not entirely sure what was going on and I did find it a little confusing but I stuck with it and it all made sense and I soon adjusted and got used to how the story flitted from one character to another. However, I imagine it is a book that once you have read it and know the outcome you do not need to read it again because knowing the ending spoils the reading experience.
I found this story really creepy and because I could not work out the ending my imagination ran wild with other possibilities which seemed to make it even creepier! I thoroughly enjoyed all the elements of this book and plan on reading more by Lisa Jewell. I was so happy that by chance I saw this book on NetGalley and my request was granted.
I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good thriller.