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Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Monday, 1 February 2021

"The Family Upstairs" by Lisa Jewell

 Told in the present tense, head-hopping between three PoVs: 

  • On her twenty-fifth birthday Libby inherits a house on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea where she was found as a small baby ... with three dead adults downstairs.
  • In the south of France, Lucy is trying to keep her and her two children alive by busking.
  • And Henry is remembering what happened in the Chelsea house.

This had all the makings of a really fascinating story and there were moments when it lived up to that. But the characters, despite listings of their preferences, were shallow and many aspects of the plot were frankly ludicrous. Who paid for the maintenance of the house for twenty-five years? Was the original police investigation really unable to find the missing children and the other missing adults? (The French police are no more competent.) The explanations that are given at the end really don't pass muster. 

There were some good lines:

  • "So much teenage attitude, so many months yet to go before he turns thirteen." (Ch 13)
  • "I'll tell you for nothing that vegan food goes straight through you; nothing sticks to the sides." (Ch 42)
  • "She looked broken then, for just a split second. I felt as if I suddenly saw right inside her, right into the runny yellow yolk of her." (Ch 43)

February 2021; 449 pages

This review was written
by the author of Motherdarling

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