The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (ARC Review)

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria (November 5, 2019)
Description from the publisher:
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.

I'm always hesitant to say yes to reviewing a thriller. They are not my go-to genre, and I try to look for books that I'm probably going to enjoy: writing negative reviews is no fun. I did my due diligence on Lisa Jewell and realized that I seemed to be missing out on a beloved suspense novelist. There is so much love for her books out there! I figured that even if I didn't enjoy it, I could check her work off my list and see what all the fuss is about. And lo, this was one helluva entertaining read. 
Jewell alternates the perspective in each chapter, which is something I rather enjoy in novels. They are also rather short and conclude with a little cliffhanger, another device I appreciate that keeps me turning the pages past my bedtime. Oftentimes, with thrillers, things can get a little predictable. I'm sure the more voracious suspense reader could see the twists and turns coming in this book, but I sure didn't! The author is perfectly nuanced with her misdirection, and I absolutely fell for a few red herrings. 
One thing that leaves me wanting more after reading these types of books is character development. Jewell does not disappoint in this regard, and I felt that the players were well fleshed out, especially Henry. However, I had to suspend a pretty good deal of disbelief when it came to the couple from whom Libby inherits the mansion in Chelsea. There wasn't much explanation of 'why' when it comes to the disastrous decisions they made that set the plot in motion, especially on the mother's behalf. I suppose it can be chalked up to the magnetism of cult leaders, but I wanted a little bit more from Martina's point of view. On that note, trigger warning, there is a fair amount of child abuse.
Overall this was a great read, and I will definitely pick up more of her books - perhaps Then She Was Gone, which comes highly recommended. The Family Upstairs is perfect spooky read for curling up on a rainy (or snowy) fall day! It looks as if this is a November pick for Book of the Month, so if you're looking to sign up or give a fun holiday gift, here's my referral link for your first month for FIVE DOLLARS.
Many thanks to Atria books for the gifted advance copy!


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