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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Thriller

The Family Upstairs

Repeat author

Lisa Jewell is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Invisible Girl and None of This Is True and The Family Remains and The Night She Disappeared and Then She Was Gone and Watching You.

by Lisa Jewell

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Fascinated by cults? This is for you. From the author of Then She Was Gone, a mansion haunted by mysterious murders.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy

    Creepy

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Family Upstairs.
The Family Upstairs

Prologue

It would be inaccurate to say that my childhood was normal before they came. It was far from normal, but it felt normal because it was all I’d known. It’s only now, with decades of hindsight, that I can see how odd it was.

I was nearly eleven when they came, and my sister was nine.

They lived with us for more than five years and they turned everything very, very dark. My sister and I had to learn how to survive.

And when I was sixteen, and my sister was fourteen, the baby came.

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Why I love it

I have a confession to make: I am a sucker for a good domestic suspense novel. Nothing makes me happier than a dark and soapy multigenerational mystery, and nobody excels at the genre like Lisa Jewell. Her characters are reliably unreliable, her mysteries are unnervingly twisty, and she manages to do all that without sacrificing well-developed relationships and emotionally layered characters. Which is quite a feat, especially in her latest book, which also happens to feature poisonous gardens, creepy cults, acid trips, and mass murder!

Libby Jones was adopted as a baby and grew up wondering who her birth parents were. Now an adult, she is stunned to receive a letter not only informing her who her mom and dad were, but also notifying her that she is the sole beneficiary of their abandoned London mansion. Said mansion just happens to be the location where her parents were found dead 25 years ago (of course!!). As Libby begins to unravel the secrets around her parents’ deaths, she soon suspects she might not be the only relative looking for answers.

Told from three alternating points of view, The Family Upstairs is a fast-paced whodunit that will keep you guessing until the final delicious sentence. If I had any issues with the book, it would be that my productive Sunday afternoon came to a screeching standstill when I naively thought it would be a good idea to start this unputdownable read. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Member ratings (24,561)

  • Paige C.

    Wichita, KS

    This one was twisty and curvy! I had guessed what was going to happen and who our “secret” narrators were from the fairly close the beginning, but this one still shook me! Can’t wait to read the next!

  • Emma L.

    Desloge, MO

    The shock after shock after shock had my brain in a mush of goo inside my head ???? and the last few sentences!? Now I need the sequel I didn’t know existed!! I haven’t read a bad book from Lisa Jewell!

  • Danielle H.

    Lorena, TX

    The suspense is thrilling & addicting, and I’ve realized she purposefully lets you think you’ve figured it out, only to give a twist bigger than you could have imagined. The ending doesn’t disappoint!

  • Devon F.

    Clermont, FL

    This story line was so creepy, yet I couldn’t put it down! I enjoyed trying to piece everything together and though I assumed things weren’t as they seemed, I didn’t quite expect the twist. Great read

  • Theresa W.

    Beaverton, OR

    This one was so intriguing and dark, and I couldn’t put it down! I was shocked and so thrilled with the messy, twisty ending. This one will stick with me for a while. Also, I can’t wait for book 2!

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