Book Review: The Family Remains

Lisa Jewell ~ The Family Remains


When human bones are discovered in the Thames, questions are asked that lead detectives back to a house of mystery, where three adults apparently took their lives, leaving their baby daughter alone upstairs.

Meanwhile Libby and Lucy try to get on with their lives. But Lucy’s past threatens to catch up with her when a young woman comes asking questions about her ex-husband.


The long-awaited sequel to The Family Upstairs may not be a necessary book (to me the ending was perfectly fine), but it is a worthy one. While I enjoyed the first book, I loved this one. There’s a lot more mystery, intrigue and deception, and we get to see more of the family we know.

The story of The Family Remains is fast-paced, with a lot of new characters. I didn’t reread The Family Upstairs (although I recommend you do if you can), but there is a helpful list at the beginning to refresh memories. Even so, it took me a while to work out who was who (because they all have so many names), but once I had it all straight in my head it was a clever, gripping read.

In fact, I read it in one sitting because I was so pleased to see Jewell grow as a writer and cleverly develop some plot points from book one. Characters are richer this time and it was easier to empathise with them and understand their motives. Locations too are easier to visualise and the ending is satisfactory and believable.

Did The Family Upstairs need a sequel? No, probably not. However, I really enjoyed it and it did answer a few questions and allow us to find out more about the characters and their past lives.

Overall, an unputdownable story that is my favourite of Jewell’s books so far.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I received a proof copy from Century Books. Opinions my own.

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