Lisa Jewell – Watching You & The Family Upstairs


I have read Lisa Jewell before and there is something fundamentally compelling and mesmerising about her writing.  Her stories seem to reel me in and, as usual, I was engrossed in the plots and sub-plots which lead me one way and then another.

‘Watching You’ begins with a dead body/murder in one of the ‘painted houses’ in an exquisite suburb of Bristol, Melville Heights.  This is the house where Tom Fitzwilliam his wife, Nikki and their son, Frank live.  The family appears to have moved around quite a lot and Tom is the head teacher of the local Academy school.  He appears to be drafted in to failing schools to move them forward and improve their results.

Also in the neighbourhood are Alfie and Joey (Josephine) who live with Joey’s older brother Jack and his wife Rebecca who is pregnant.  Opposite the Fitzwilliams are Jenna (15) and her mother who has a condition, which means she believes everybody is stalking her so takes numerous pictures, and watches all the comings and goings in minute detail.

Jenna and her Bess friend, Bess, attend the local school and it appears as if Bess is becoming infatuated with Tom, who is god looking and charismatic. Joey and Tom also appear to be getting close.

The pace is fast and furious and it is not clear until the end who was involved and what has happened and certainly not why.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone and Lisa Jewell for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Great Read, highly recommended.

Having read Lisa Jewell before, I always look forward to the next novel.  ‘The Family Upstairs’ is brilliant.  An original story with numerous twists and turns keeping me intrigued and alert right up to the last page.

A well cared for baby is found in a house in a fashionable part of Chelsea, Cheyne Walk, with three dead bodies in the kitchen looking like a suicide pact. It appears as if the house was run by a cult but there is no explanation as to who has been looking after the baby.

Fast forward twenty-five years and the baby, Libby (Serenity) returns to claim her inheritance, which is the house, worth several million.

The narrative is told from Libby’s point of view in the present day when arriving at the house and how she uncovers the background, along with a journalist who investigated the house several years ago and from the historical view.

Henry and Lucy Lamb used to live in the house as children when their parents seemed to invite a couple to stay, and then another.  A ‘normal’ existence disappeared rapidly for the two children along with all of their parents’ money and possessions.

The story from past to present is complex and clever.  I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone and Lisa Jewell for my ARC in return for my honest review.

Brilliant Read, highly recommended.









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