Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell


Release date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Atria

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


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. 

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.


Sometimes the more points of view a mystery has, the better for me, especially if it’s executed well, and friends, it’s done SO well here. There are three distinct viewpoints and each was equally gripping for me, short chapters and multiple POV are my jam. Then throw in an old unsolved mystery, a stifling and creepy atmosphere and the hint of cult like vibes? My cold, black heart is swooning! 🖤🖤🖤

My biggest complaint with thrillers in general lately has been how boring and predictable they’ve all seemed and I was so impressed that this was completely unpredictable for me. There were quite a few intricate details that I didn’t see coming and the whole thing was just mapped out really well. This had serious gothic vibes, I kept being reminded of old school V. C. Andrews books but without the crazy, over the top plot lines, just the awesome settings and edgy vibes. While this was most definitely dark it would be great for readers that don’t want something super disturbing, it’s still addictive and intriguing but not nightmare inducing. I have to note that Jewell is an incredibly gifted writer, the whole book is seamless and was such an effortless read. Highly recommended for thriller fans, if you’re already a LJ fan you’ll be happy!

The Family Upstairs in three words: Atmospheric, Gripping and Tense

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

7 thoughts on “Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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