Century | 21 July 2022 | 448 pgs
Although this title is stated as a standalone sequel to The Family Upstairs, I'd recommend readers to read TFU first to fully understand the story and the background of the characters before diving into this book as their emotions and actions are mostly shaped and impacted from some events happened in TFU.
As the story begins, a bag of human bones is found on the foreshore of the river Thames by someone who's mudlarking there. DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene for investigation and forensic examination later reported that the bones are of a young woman who was killed by a blow to the head many years ago. DCI Owusu later traced to a mansion in Chelsea through some seeds of a rare tree found alongside the bones and from the mansion leads to a mystery happened thirty years ago.
While the remaining occupants of the mansion are fully grown now and some has their own family, it seems they're still bothered by the past memories, in particularly Henry, who is adamant to find Phin whom they'd shared some unsettling childhood memories. His obsession leads him on a journey to Chicago, which then prompts his sister Lucy and her two children in pursuing him like cat-and-mouse game. The reader is also introduced to a new character, Rachel, who's in a complicated relationship with her husband, Michael. Michael is Lucy's ex-husband so all the characters are connected and what they're going through would be seen in a bigger picture towards the end.
As compared to TFU, this story may seem a bit bland from the thriller aspect. Then again, this is more of a domestic drama and it focuses more on the characters though there's still some suspense in the air which kept me intrigued. I was most interested in reading Henry's POV. It's clear that he has some issues but strangely his POV stands out the most amongst others (I've to confess I felt a bit bothered about his thoughts towards the end but I'll leave that to you to find out yourself). I'd say I liked TFU more than this book, but Lisa Jewell is a wonderful storyteller and a good writer so while this isn't my favourite, overall I still enjoyed the reading experience.
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