The Family Upstairs: doesn’t quite reach the heights it was aiming for

What is this about?: I can’t decide if it’s about a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or a family finding their way back to each other.

What else is this about?: I have no clue. I kept reading hoping things would make sense, but they really didn’t

Blurb

You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box. But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly. Now you and your sister must find a way to survive…

The Family Upstairs is getting some great reviews, but I felt like something was missing in this for me.

This is a story told in two timelines, and the blurb itself only focuses on one timeline. In the present, the story begins with Libby, who inherits a massive house in an expensive part of London. Adopted by a good family, she is nonetheless gobsmacked when she finds out she’s actually the sole survivor of a family who was found dead in the house in Chelsea.

In the timeline in the past, the story leads to that event — that moment where Libby is found alone as a baby surrounded by her dead family. It’s the past that garners most of the care in terms of characterisation, and to me at least, that timeline is working towards building a murderous vibe around  a certain character, that never really reaches the psycho-ness it was intending.  I eventually got confused, bored and mostly just felt the characterisation lost its way. 

The psycho was more annoying than anything, especially as the present and Libby’s search for answers to her past was actually more interesting.

I wish I could say when the truths were revealed, and characters came together, everything made sense — I was hoping it would — but it really doesn’t. 

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