Book Review: The Family Upstairs
By Lisa Jewell
As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, her missing siblings are headed her way to uncover, and possibly protect, secrets of their own. What really happened in that rambling Chelsea mansion when they were children? And are they still at risk?
Lisa Jewell's new book is another family trauma/thriller with enough creepy twists and discomfort to keep the reader engaged until the very end. Told from three different viewpoints, it's engaging, uncomfortable, and riveting. In the early nineties, a well-to-do family falls under the sway of a smooth-talking control-freak, who gradually isolates them from the outside world. It's this story that really got under my skin - to be so isolated in the middle of teeming London seems all-too-easy in Jewell's tale. The abuse that takes place behind these closed doors is akin to watching a car accident: agonizing to watch, yet impossible to look away.
In terms of surprise, some of the twists are easy to spot coming, but the narrative is spell-binding and pulls you along. The ending left me feeling uncertain and little unnerved - if there's a sequel, I'll be lining up for the first copy. That said, this is not a book for the squeamish or those looking for an easy escape. Think mature Lifetime movie and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's in store.
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