The Family Remains is a sequel to a popular book by a favorite author, a book I did not finish! What did I think? Was I completely lost? Find out in my Review of The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell!
The Family Remains (The Family Upstairs #2) by Lisa Jewell
Published on August 9, 2022 by Atria Books
Synopsis: Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago.
Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer.
After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present.
What Else Has Lisa Jewell Written?
Though I’m somewhat new to reading Lisa Jewell, she has been writing and publishing since 1999.
Her first books leaned more women’s fiction and romantic comedy, books like Ralph’s Party (1999), Thirtynothing (2000), Roommates Wanted (2000), One Hit Wonder (2001), A Friend of the Family (2003), Vince and Joy (2005), 31 Dream Street (2007) The Truth About Melody Browne (2009), After the Party (Ralph’s Party #2) (2010), The Making of Us (2011), Before I Met You (2012), The House We Grew Up In (2013) I Found You (2016)
Around 2014, she started moving more toward psychological suspense, publishing The Third Wife (2014), The Girls in the Garden (2016), Then She Was Gone (2017), Watching You (2018), The Family Upstairs (2019), Invisible Girl (2020) The Night She Disappeared (2021)
Review of The Family Remains
I got approved for the Advance Reader Copy of The Family Remains fairly last minute. When I realized it was a sequel, I went to see if I’d read the first book.
I hadn’t marked it finished on Goodreads, but recognized the “house of horrors” concept and realized it was a book I’d started and returned to the library after I found it too creepy.
What to do? I didn’t really want to read the first book, but I did want to try The Family Remains. So I did, and I am here to tell you that you don’t need to have read The Family Upstairs to enjoy The Family Remains.
If you haven’t read the first book, or forgot it, The Family Remains provides a helpful list of characters at the opening. In addition, some of the characters re-cap the events of the first book. Which was enough for me, because the events of the first book sounded pretty horrific!
In any case, The Family Remains takes place years after the first book. It gives an update on the “family” (I use the term loosely as they are connected by shared trauma) of the first book, but also centers around the murder of someone who was present in the house in book one. (I had no idea who this person was, but maybe you will.)
I loved the lead detective in the case, Samuel Owusu. Since I felt like a bit of an outsider with the other characters, who were all connected by a strange past I wasn’t familiar with, I really bonded with him and his diligent pursuit of the murderer.
The other main plot of the book involved the “family’s” search for Phin, one of the house of horrors victims, and the story of Rachel, a jewelry designer (haha, Lisa Jewell) whose narrative intersects with that of the “family.”
Questions about the book: Who was Libby’s father?
If you know (or have a theory, please tell us in comments)!
Happy to be a new-ish fan of Lisa Jewell’s writing and books! If you haven’t check out my two spoiler posts for her books:
Spoiler Post for Invisible Girl
Wow, I can’t imagine reading this one without having read the first book since there was so much carry-over. So kudos to you! The Family Upstairs was one of my favorite books of 2020 so I was thrilled when Jewell decided to continue the story. I listened to this one on audio (same as I did the first book) and the full cast narration was amazing. I could just see it all unfolding in front of me. I wasn’t sure how things were going to play out at times but I was almost fully satisfied by the way everything wrapped up.
Tanya, hello! So glad to see you and glad we have read the same book.
Yes, I saw Lisa Jewell’s name and hit “request” before I realized it was a sequel. I think sequels should stand on their own, so decided to try. This does stand on its own. I saw the first book as being backstory to the second and decided I didn’t want to read the first due to the subject matter. I’m sure my experience would have been better if I’d read The Family Upstairs but I still enjoyed this!
Ok so who is really Libby’s father?
Phin or David as we find out that Lucy must have slept with both?
This was not dealt with at all.
Excellent question – I will add it to the post and hope that someone can help us out!