10 January 2020

Review: THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS, Lisa Jewell

  • this edition published by century 2019
  • ISBN 978-1-780-899206
  • 446 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Booktopia)

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.

My Take

One of the incredible things about this book is the variety of narrators.

First of all, in the first person, someone whose identity we eventually come to surmise, more by a process of elimination.
Then the story of Libby, the baby who has now turned 25, and learns that she has inherited a mansion in Chelsea, that has lain empty for nearly her whole life.
Then Lucy's story. At first we are not sure who Lucy is, but clearly she is important.
And then Miller Roe, a journalist who recently wrote an article about the events that occurred in the mansion in Chelsea.

At first the reader has to deduce the narrator from clues given in the context, but eventually recognition of who has taken over the story becomes automatic.

The threads of the narration weave together, the story bubbles along, and we learn finally the truth of what happened in 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

My rating: 4.7

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