Have you ever imagined the possibility of unexpectedly learning that you're the heir to an enormous fortune — or at least, a beautiful, expensive piece of property? Who doesn't want to believe that their student loans, credit card debt, and lack of retirement savings could be solved in one instant, thanks for the benevolence of a kind relative? In The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, this dream becomes a reality for one woman. On her 25th birthday, she opens a letter that contains two shocking bits of information: The first is the identity of her birth parents; the second is the unexpected revelation that she is now the owner of their London mansion. But, the inheritance comes at a steep cost: Twenty-five years before, police arrived at the mansion to find three people dead — including her parents — and four children missing.
From there, the plot of The Family Upstairs diverges in three different directions, all narrated by a different person impacted by the events of that fateful night. It's a crooked path toward resolution for these three people, and in the end, everything you thought you knew at the beginning of the novel will be challenged.
The Family Upstairs comes recommended to you by a thriller queen: Ruth Ware, the author of In A Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman In Cabin 10, and The Turn of the Key, among other books. Lisa Jewell, too, is royalty in the genre; she has written 18 novels, many of them mysteries, including The Girls in the Garden, Then She Was Gone, and Watching You.
Here's why Ware thinks you should read her latest novel:
"In a glamorous coastal resort in the south of France, Lucy is sneaking her dog and children into the showers of a fancy country club, to try to make them presentable. Meanwhile in sleepy St. Albans, in England, Libby turns 25, and receives life-changing news: That she has inherited a multi-million pound townhouse in London's Chelsea. When Lucy's phone pops up with a reminder, "the baby is 25," we see the first thread of connection between these two seemingly very different women. Dipping back and forth between past and present, Lisa Jewell leads us slowly into the heart of a very dysfunctional family. We know that something has gone very, very wrong, and we know that it began when the enigmatic David Thomsen moved himself and his family into the Chelsea house that Libby is one day to inherit. But how did Libby end up the sole heir, twenty five years later? And did anyone else survive? To say any more would be to spoil the deliciously twisty plot, so I'll let you discover the rest for yourselves, but readers who love dark, intricate stories of warped family dynamics have a treat in store!"
Can't wait to dive into this thriller? You can read the first two chapters on Bustle right now.