Adult Fiction · Book Review · Contemporary · Crime Mystery · FIction · Mystery · Suspense · Thriller

The Family Upstairs

This month I had the pleasure of participating in a buddy read with We Be Book’N. This book club gets me into so much trouble…turning me on to new books to read and sucking me in to buddy reads, but I would not have it any other way!!! 🙂


In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets. Synopsis of The Family Upstairs

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.

Meet Libby Jones. Adopted as a young child, Libby has always wondered who she is. Days after her 25th birthday, Libby receives a letter in the mail that she has been waiting for her entire life. The letter not only tells her the identity of her birth parents, but also tells her that she has inherited her parent’s abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames Rive. The home is worth millions!!! Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. Little does she know that others have been waiting this day as well…


The only way to describe this book is weird…the kind of weird that you can’t keep but reading!! This is the first book that I have read by Lisa Jewell, even though I have several of her books on my shelves! And while weird, this book did not disappoint! When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a nice story about Libby and her inherited home and how she fixes it up (I have a bad or good habit of not reading the synopsis of a book before I read it). Boy was I wrong!! This book flips back and forth between the present and 25 years ago. It describes Libby’s life now, but also the disturbing life going on at 16 Cheyne Walk. As I read the descriptions of the lives that were being lived at 16 Cheyne Walk, I was in awe and a little mad about what was happening at the home. I was frustrated with the things that the kids in the house were going through (enter my social work background). This book was like an accident scene…you know, the kind that you know you should look away from, but at the same time, can’t bear to turn away form. Lisa Jewel tells a fantastically haunting story that captured me early on. The story was intriguing and you could not help wondering what was going to happen next. Lisa Jewel‘s writing is wonderfully descriptive and I could imagine the home and the experiences in my mind’s eye. This book was full of suspense and mystery that kept me guessing to the very end. The only thing about this book that I didn’t like was that it wrapped up too quickly…I felt there was more story to tell and more to wrap up. This book left me wishing for more!!

I am so glad that I finally read a book by Lisa Jewell. I am also glad that I read this book as a buddy read as we all had fun sharing our theories of what was happening in the book. It was wonderful to be able to share frustrations with the book and know I was not the only one feeling that way!!! Lisa Jewel is definitely on my list of authors to continue to read. I am excited to get my hands on the other books that she has written!!!


About the Author

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction

This Tender Land


Meet Odie and Albert. Two brothers living at the Lincoln School in Minnesota in 1932. At the Lincoln School, hundreds of Native American children are separated from their families so they can be educated. Odie and Albert are not Native Americans, they are orphans the school took in and Odie in particular loves to explore and get into trouble which puts him into no so good graces with the school’s superintendent, Mrs. Brickman or “the Black Witch” as the kids call her.

Due to several horrible circumstances, Odie and Albert are forced to flee, taking their best friend Mose and a little girl named Emmy with them. Stealing a canoe, Odie, Albert, Mose, and Emmy set off down the Mississippi to find a place to call home. During the summer of 1932, Odie, Albert, Mose and Emmy will journey into the large world of the unknown. Along the way they will meet others who are also adrift, getting themselves into situations that both excite and terrify them. Where will they end up and will they be able to find a place in this world where they belong?


I had heard tons of hype about this book, but never really looked at what the book was about. When my book club selected the book, it was time to buckle down and read this 465 page book and let me tell you I am so glad that I did. And I am also glad that I did not read the synopsis and had no idea where this book was going to go – it was like I was on the same adventure with Odie and the others!!! William Kent Krueger is a fabulous story teller. He writes in such a way that you feel what the characters are feeling. You cheer for the good times and silently curse the horrible things that happen to them in their young lives. He writes in such a way that has you turning page after page and not wanting to stop! While this book stopped at 465 pages, let me tell you I wanted to read many, many more pages to learn more about these characters and what happened in their lives.

This book was one that will stick with me for a long time. It was full of so many lessons and nuggets of knowledge. It was filled with life’s dilemmas and morals to many questions presented in the course of the story. Most of all, this was a story that tugged at my heartstrings. While I usually sell the books I have read to make room for new ones in my collection, this is one that I will NOT be selling. This is a book that I will for sure read again (and probably again after that). This is a story that has spoken to me and will speak to each one of you every time you read it.


This book is definitely a 5+ star book!!!