The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

*Warning, having just typed up my review, and checked against the blurb, I probably have given away a little something in this review, so if you want to read this book, spoiler free, click away now, and just know it’s a GREAT plot*

Right guys we’re on to a winner here, this style of psychological thriller is my absolute FAVE: multiple POVs and a moving timeline – I was in my element instantly.

Libby has received a letter from the solicitors. At 25 years old, her biological parents’ house is now hers, after it had been sitting in a trust since she was a baby. She knows nothing about her biological family and now she’s desperate to know everything.

In the past, Henry is recounting the events that led to his parents’ death and the end of their time in 16 Cheyne Walk.

Back to the present and we’ve also got Lucy who’s living in France with her two children. A reminder on her phone lets her know that the baby is 25. She’s now desperate to get back to the UK, why?

This novel unravels a fascinating story of lies, control and unbelievably ugly personalities. When Henry’s mother let Birdie and Justin live with them, she had no idea that she’d changed everything and of course, she never would… because she was so desperate for a new start. Henry’s father was unfortunately a very weak man both physically and emotionally, but even he knew that the house was filling with toxicity. The arrival of David and his family was the clincher, Henry’s family are now stuck; some completely happy to be led by David, others now realising that they’re in a cult* whether they like it or not.

(*this is my spoiler in case you were wondering… but as I go on to talk about how well Jewell captures all this, I didn’t want to edit it all out!)

Lucy is connected to the house but how? Her abusive relationship with her son’s father highlights the she’s vulnerable to men but what triggered her to be this way?

Libby, with the help of a very lovely journalist and her colleague, begins to discover more and more about her family’s dark past but how true is it? If only she could meet a living relative and ask them what really happened…

Jewell is a formidable author and I was taken in by how she explored the formulation of a cult, the effects it can have on people and the type of personalities it attracts. I felt she perfectly captured that feeling of being swept up by it all and also the realisation that it’s already gone too far.

The absorbing magic has been sprinkled all over this plot: the short chapters have you racing through it; the tantalising build up of each individual viewpoint has you grasping for the connections, and the overall concept of this story instantly draws you in.

The Family Upstairs is out now in hardback and eBook versions from Century.

Until next time, Chloé x

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