Century | August 2019 | 464 pgs
The Family Upstairs was one dark and bizarre story about two dysfunctional families and how events and consequences will impact and alter the lives of those affected thereafter.
The novel opens with our lead protagonist, Libby Jones, receiving a letter from a solicitor stating that she has inherited a property in Chelsea. Libby is an adopted child and she assumes it is the house her birth parents were living in when they died. Libby's life has been simple and mundane; she lives in a small flat and works in the sales department at a kitchen design company. It is no wonder the news detonated like a bomb to her.
On the other end, Lucy is struggling to make ends meet. Being a single parent with two young children is tough, but she's a survivor and most importantly, there's someone she has waited for twenty five years and she's hoping that their path will cross one day despite all the circumstances.
In another timeline narrated by another character called Henry during the 1980s, he shares his story with the reader about his family living at 16 Cheyne Walk and how the Thomsens family waltzed into their lives and turned their world upside down, eventually leading into a family tragedy.
So what does these three different characters have in common and what do they've to do with one another? This is the mystery of this novel and one which I've to applaud the author for the wonderful execution and the suspense she has thrown in to her readers from the beginning till the end. The characters are wonderfully fleshed-out and you'll feel either disgusted or empathy towards some of them.
The house and its atmosphere plays an important part to the story, too. And although it's definitely not haunted, it's the centre in which all things have arisen and ended there. There're some very dark issues here, but they're essential and are tied up to the story so while it wasn't easy to read them, without them there wouldn't be this story -- a story which had blown me away in all aspects! Highly recommended.
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