‘The Family Upstairs’ starts where the blurb ends. A baby lies in a cot, and three rotting corpses lie in the floor right above her. As the identity of the child is revealed in the first few chapters, the story takes us back to the day it all started. Narrated by three different characters with three different fates, the story is about a house that was turned into a prison. The children trapped in the house were abused and asked to live a ‘simpler’ life because to be devoid of money and materialistic love meant freedom.
Henry’s mother’s quest to find meaning for her existence brings trouble into their lives. As they continue living under the imposing David and glamorous Birdie, these kids start losing their innocence. Just when they can’t handle it anymore, a tragedy befalls forcing them to take separate paths.
This thriller is narrated both in the past and the present, giving us bits and pieces of the event that took place all those years ago. We are to trust their narrative, but the characters are either unreliable or secretive. The three narrators- Libby, Lucy, and Henry together weave a disturbing and complex story that will keep you guessing.
While I enjoyed most of the story, I was slightly disappointed by the ending. The plot is sinister and dark, but the ending might have undone all the hard work that was put into creating this plot.
Engrossing, unforeseeable and sometimes ominous, ‘The Family Upstairs’ is a psychological thriller that will blur the lined between good and bad and make you think of how far would you go when you are fighting for survival.
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up.
In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note.
They’ve been dead for several days.
Who has been looking after the baby?
And where did they go?
Two entangled families.
A house with the darkest of secrets.
A compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell.
*Thank you Penguin Random House for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own*