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The Family Upstairs: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
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The Family Upstairs: A Novel (edition 2020)

by Lisa Jewell (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2478411,599 (3.82)38
'I swear I didn't breathe the whole time I was reading it. Gripping, pacy, brilliantly twisty.' CLARE MACKINTOSH 'Creepy, intricate and utterly immersive: an excellent holiday read.' GUARDIAN 'A twisty and engrossing story of betrayal and redemption.' IAN RANKIN ____________________________ FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THEN SHE WAS GONE In a large house in London's fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up. In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They've been dead for several days. Who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go? Two entangled families. A house with the darkest of secrets. A compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell. ____________________________ 'Rich, dark and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunnit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.' RUTH WARE 'You don't read a Lisa Jewell book, you fall into it. It takes huge talent to establish a whole world in the turn of two pages.' ERIN KELLY 'I had an unrelentingly pleasurable and thrilling for-God's-sake-tell-me-what-happened sensation in my stomach for the entire read ... Stupendous!' RUTH JONES 'Absolutely brilliant. Great characterisation, a fascinating and dark set up and a great conclusion. She's always great but this is next level stuff.' SARAH PINBOROUGH 'Few writers of psychological suspense devise such swift, slippery plots; fewer still people their stories with characters so human and complex. Lisa's Jewell's The Family Upstairs glitters like a blade and cuts even deeper.' AJ FINN 'Whenever I pick up a Lisa Jewell novel I know I'm in for a compelling, immersive and unputdownable read and The Family Upstairs is one of her very best' CL TAYLOR 'I had hoped to save The Family Upstairs for my holiday, but failed miserably ... I was hooked from the first page. I think it's her best yet and hands down my favourite book so far this year.' ALICE FEENEY 'Utterly compelling. Deliciously dark and twisty with characters who live on in your head. Lisa Jewell just keeps getting better and better.' JANE CORRY 'This is my pick of the crop of thrillers out this month ... Lisa Jewell is brilliant at creating a menacing atmosphere and this is almost unbelievably tense at times.' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 'It's absolutely bloody brilliant and I can't tell you much I wish I'd written it.' TAMMY COHEN 'It's SO GOOD!' INDIA KNIGHT 'I loved The Family Upstairs!' SARAH JESSICA PARKER ____________________________ Readers are obsessed with The Family Upstairs: 'I read so many books in the crime/mystery genre that it becomes harder to find a book that stands out. This one succeeded!! Hooked from page one' 'I totally adored this book. All of Lisa Jewell's books are fabulous, but something about this one is extra special.' 'Absolutely absorbing ... thoroughly enjoyed it' 'Kept me captivated from the very beginning ... Definitely worth reading - as long you like reading into the night!' 'Everything you could wish for in a book. I devoured it.' 'Wow!!' 'What a book. Clever would be an understatement. And those last pages left me with chills. The concept had me intrigued and the execution had me captivated. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!'… (more)
Member:ozsa
Title:The Family Upstairs: A Novel
Authors:Lisa Jewell (Author)
Info:Atria Books (2020), 384 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
My goodness what a ride. A twisty twisty novel, scary the power of persuasion! Such memorable characters. A must read for any psychological thriller fans ( )
  Islandmum84 | Jul 28, 2021 |
One of my top 5 books of the year. I wanted to read it again as soon as I finished. The sacrifices we make for our families are always great but none as monumental as Henry and Lucy, made for each other. This book shows how grifters can take over a family and cause so much damage it takes 25 years to recover. not to mention the damage done to their own families. I recommend this book and warn you wont be able to put it down ( )
  debbiedd24 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Very competent and readable, a page-turner blending three points of views and a complicated timeline.

Not "perfect" (well, nobody is, right?), and there are some plot holes, and character psychology holes, that you could drive a tank through. More of that beyond the spoiler mark.

But Jewell demonstrates a very assured hand, juggling those POVs, and building a scenario, layer upon layer, where you could almost believe that the characters she has constructed would do what they do.

What I particularly liked was the way the novel bucks standard thriller formula -- from the blurb on the cover, you might well except that bodies (and baby) are discovered on Page 1, and detective (grizzled and grouchy, regardless of gender, with demons of his/her own to contend with) turns up and becomes obsessed with solving the mystery. Jewell doesn't play it like that at all, and you will either love it or hate it.

Contemplating my response, since I finished the book last night, I am both more and less impressed.

Less, because the plot holes begin to loom large. What happened to Justin? Do I really believe that David, evil genius manipulator extraordinaire would allow a 15 year old boy, who makes no bones about hating him, cook dinner using the herbs from his medicinal garden, and experiment on evil genius and his girlfriend with "herbal" teas? Do I really believe that Lucy would get away with murder so smoothly? " ... [Rimmer's] first wife, a Briton known only by the name of 'Lucy' ... is not considered to be a suspect in the case ..." Said no detective, ever ... The complete disappearance of 'Lucy,' coinciding exactly with Rimmer's murder, might just have set alarm bells ringing for the police, I would think ...

BUT ... While some of this still rankles, some of it might, I wonder, be Jewell playing a very cool hand, and respecting the intelligence of the reader. We are not told what has happened to Justin -- but can't we make a pretty good guess? (I would advise the new owners of the house not to dig up the garden any time soon. I think they will not only find a cat and a stillborn baby but ... hello, Justin! ...) Regardless of what Henry tells us, he had to get rid of Justin, so he could have free run of the medicinal garden, and take over the tinctures ...

Henry's chapters are small masterpieces in the art of the Unreliable Narrator -- by the end, do we believe a single word he has told us? (btw -- he killed that poor cat. Deliberately, no doubt about it. And his parents, and David. He knew exactly what dose he was giving them ... )

But there still some things that bother me: I'm still not entirely convinced by Davids' "evil genius" chops, but perhaps I underestimate how ground down people trapped in such a mass-psychosis would be. Would the police in such a high profile case really have missed a body hidden in plain sight on the roof? I wonder what happened to Lucy's Algerian boyfriend -- am I missing something? (There is "respecting the reader," and expecting the reader to be a mind reader ...)

And where did that title come from? There is no "family upstairs." If anything, the invading "family" has taken over the while house. It sounds like something from a publisher's Automatic Meaningless Title Generator. And if there is no such thing as an Automatic Meaningless Title Generator, then I have just invented it ...


So, 4 stars for readability, and for effectively rattling the cage of some thriller formulae. ( )
  maura853 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Lisa Jewell's 2019 novel “The Family Upstairs” makes a pleasant diversion, always engaging while stopping short of becoming an actual nail-bitter.

On her 25th birthday Libby Jones, who was adopted as a baby, inherits a large, long-vacant house from the parents she never knew. Their bodies had been found along with that of another man in an apparent cult suicide. Ten-month-old Libby, then named Serenity, was found in another room. Her older siblings and other children living in the house were missing.

Libby thinks she'll sell the mansion for enough money to be able to live comfortably for the rest of her life, but it seems those other "children" have been waiting for the day when she turns 25 and they begin turning up at the house after she does. In alternate chapters Jewell fills us in on both on developments in Libby's life and what happened in that house years before. And the latter is, in fact, the real story, the one to which the novel's title refers.

Libby's story seems unresolved at the end. We get to learn what happened then, but what happens now? ( )
  hardlyhardy | May 17, 2021 |
Libby inherits her birth parent's home when she turns 25. She was adopted before she was a year old. She had no idea what the inheritance would be, so now she has a way to discover her past. It's ugly. Her parents were members of cult and the cult's charismatic leader was her father. Through old newspaper stories she meets with the journalist who attempted to solve the mystery of the three deaths 24 years before. Interesting side stories about the other cult members who disappeared. ( )
  mojomomma | May 11, 2021 |
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This book is dedicated to my readers,
with love and gratitude
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Libby picks up the letter off the doormat.
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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.
the only way to really know what was going on in the world was to listen to women talk. Anyone who ignores the chatter of women is poorer by any measure.
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'I swear I didn't breathe the whole time I was reading it. Gripping, pacy, brilliantly twisty.' CLARE MACKINTOSH 'Creepy, intricate and utterly immersive: an excellent holiday read.' GUARDIAN 'A twisty and engrossing story of betrayal and redemption.' IAN RANKIN ____________________________ FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THEN SHE WAS GONE In a large house in London's fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up. In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They've been dead for several days. Who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go? Two entangled families. A house with the darkest of secrets. A compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell. ____________________________ 'Rich, dark and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunnit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.' RUTH WARE 'You don't read a Lisa Jewell book, you fall into it. It takes huge talent to establish a whole world in the turn of two pages.' ERIN KELLY 'I had an unrelentingly pleasurable and thrilling for-God's-sake-tell-me-what-happened sensation in my stomach for the entire read ... Stupendous!' RUTH JONES 'Absolutely brilliant. Great characterisation, a fascinating and dark set up and a great conclusion. She's always great but this is next level stuff.' SARAH PINBOROUGH 'Few writers of psychological suspense devise such swift, slippery plots; fewer still people their stories with characters so human and complex. Lisa's Jewell's The Family Upstairs glitters like a blade and cuts even deeper.' AJ FINN 'Whenever I pick up a Lisa Jewell novel I know I'm in for a compelling, immersive and unputdownable read and The Family Upstairs is one of her very best' CL TAYLOR 'I had hoped to save The Family Upstairs for my holiday, but failed miserably ... I was hooked from the first page. I think it's her best yet and hands down my favourite book so far this year.' ALICE FEENEY 'Utterly compelling. Deliciously dark and twisty with characters who live on in your head. Lisa Jewell just keeps getting better and better.' JANE CORRY 'This is my pick of the crop of thrillers out this month ... Lisa Jewell is brilliant at creating a menacing atmosphere and this is almost unbelievably tense at times.' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 'It's absolutely bloody brilliant and I can't tell you much I wish I'd written it.' TAMMY COHEN 'It's SO GOOD!' INDIA KNIGHT 'I loved The Family Upstairs!' SARAH JESSICA PARKER ____________________________ Readers are obsessed with The Family Upstairs: 'I read so many books in the crime/mystery genre that it becomes harder to find a book that stands out. This one succeeded!! Hooked from page one' 'I totally adored this book. All of Lisa Jewell's books are fabulous, but something about this one is extra special.' 'Absolutely absorbing ... thoroughly enjoyed it' 'Kept me captivated from the very beginning ... Definitely worth reading - as long you like reading into the night!' 'Everything you could wish for in a book. I devoured it.' 'Wow!!' 'What a book. Clever would be an understatement. And those last pages left me with chills. The concept had me intrigued and the execution had me captivated. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!'

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