Friday 5 August 2022

Review: The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

LONDON. June 2019: on the foreshore of the river Thames, a bag of bones is discovered. Human bones.

DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene and quickly sends the bag for forensic examination. The bones are those of a young woman, killed by a blow to the head many years ago.

Also inside the bag is a trail of clues which lead DCI Owusu back to a mansion in Chelsea where, nearly thirty years previously, three people lay dead in a kitchen, and a baby waited upstairs for someone to pick her up.

The clues point forward too to a brother and sister in Chicago searching for the only person who can make sense of their pasts.

Four deaths. An unsolved mystery. A family whose secrets can't stay buried for ever ...

Review: As always I am in awe of the way Lisa Jewell constructs her stories. The fact that this picks up so many different threads from The Family Upstairs and ties them all together just adds to the complexity of this writing and the impressive nature of both plots. Whilst you don’t need to have read The Family Upstairs before reading this sequel I would highly recommend doing so. The Family Upstairs is definitely Lisa’s creepiest and scairest novel yet and so its a great read but also you will get to know the characters featured in this novel, get inside their heads and just understand them on a deeper level as you embark on this new journey with them. 

This is such a great follow up novel to The Family upstairs because you have a lightness about the characters having been through what they went through in the previous book, they don;t have that to worry about any longer and yet it was such a huge part of their past and who they are today it is still always around. I found the previous novel very claustrophobic and  so the fact that we don;t have to be inside that house any longer with the inhabitants meant that this book felt different but it also opened up a whole world of possibilities in terms of what could happen and what could go wrong!

I listened to the audiobook for the second part of this novel and I’m glad in some ways that I made the choice to switch between ebook and audio because this audiobook is a whole cast production and so it meant it was easy to discern whose story we were following even if I had stopped in the middle of a chapter. However this book does jump around in time so it means you have to listen carefully to which time period you’re in and I sometimes got a little confused with which timeline I was following as I was listening. 

I loved getting back inside the head of Henry in this book because he is an extremely complex character and just so unpredictable he must have been great fun to write. It was also great to touch base with Lucy again. We opened the previous book with her and so I felt a really strong connection with her. Then we have a new character Rachel. It was so interesting to see how Rachel fitted into the plot and watch her story grow and develop. There are definite care warnings for sexual assault when it comes to Rachel’s story but I really connected with her as a character just as I did with Lucy in the first book. 

Then we have the mystery of the bones in the water and how they came to be. I was driven to find out who they were and how they came to be there but there were so many other threads being woven together, tied and untied that I almost forgot about them from time to time just trying to work out what was going on with Lucy, Henry and Rachel. I love the way Lisa Jewell does this to me. She has never failed to write a book that doesn’t keep me guessing and keeps me turning the pages and The Family Remains is no exception. I’m just sorry that I can’t go back in time and read the 2 books back to back not knowing what happens for the first time!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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