Author: Lisa Jewell
Released: August 8th, 2019
I received a copy of The Family Upstairs through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Family Upstairs is the latest thriller novel by Lisa Jewell, which means it’s going to do an excellent job of creeping you out. This thriller will make you question the people you know, and think twice before trusting anybody too closely ever again.
It all started with one house. First, it was one family, being kind enough to invite a guest in until she was back on her feet. Then more came. Twenty-five years later, the mystery of what happened to all of the family members or children still hasn’t been answered.
“She compromised on everything in the end to find a place that was close to her job and not too far from the train station. There was no gut instinct as she stepped across the threshold; her heart said nothing to her as the estate agent showed her around.”
The Family Upstairs was described as a ‘bone-chilling thriller’ and boy, did it live up to that description. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out the mystery of this infamous house. There are so many disturbing elements that Lisa Jewell managed to weave into this single novel, it’s almost too much to handle.
This novel is split into two timelines. One is set in the past, and slowly reveals what happened in the house in question – and right away began giving us an idea as to what happened to the teenagers within. And then there’s the present, twenty-five years later, following the baby girl who was born inside the house – and left with dozens of questions.
The pacing seemed to wax and wane, with intense moments followed by a bit more of a lulling sense of security. It was an interesting combination and applied in such a way as to feel like there was always something set to happen shortly.
This is one of those thrillers where you’ll find yourself trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle before the dramatic reveals and thus will prove your emotional connection to it. It was fun trying to figure it all out beforehand, and I actually think I did a pretty good job of anticipating the reveals; that can be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint.
The complex set of characters made for an electrifying story, with each and every one of them having a complicated history and reason for caring about the house – and everything that it represented. There are plenty of questions raised about the characters, though naturally some more than others.
I’ll confess that this wasn’t my favorite thriller out there, though I did enjoy it on the whole. It was fascinating and full of curiosities, not to mention dozens of questions about what happened. And thus it kept my interest throughout the novel.