Thank you to The Write Reads and Penguin Random House Ireland for providing me with an ARC of one of my most anticipated books of 2022 in exchange for an honest review.
LONDON. Early morning, 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, in particular the seeds of a rare tree 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 …
I’m a massive Lisa Jewell fan, so when I got a message asking if I’d like to be a part of this tour I immediately accepted. I read The Family Upstairs in January 2020 and gave it 4 stars. When the sequel, The Family Remains, was announced, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I thought that the first book had wrapped up well enough that there didn’t need to be a sequel, but boy was I wrong! I found that so many questions I’d had whilst reading the first book had answers, and further questions I hadn’t considered from the second. I loved it! It was good to see some of the same characters from the first book as well. I think that even if you had not read The Family Upstairs beforehand, you would be able to pick up The Family Remains and read it no problem. However I do think having that added context and knowledge helped my reading experience more. Going into this book I wasn’t sure how much I remembered from the first one, but there are enough hints and mentions of events that I never worried I was missing something. I’d definitely recommend reading the first book (or rereading it) before reading book 2 though!
I love the way Lisa Jewell writes, I never find myself bored by the writing or pacing in Jewell’s books! I especially loved the multiple points of views in this book. Henry, Lucy, Samuel, and Rachel all had such distinct voices that it was easy to tell whose chapter I was reading. I think having the story told over multiple years also helped, and echoed the first book, which also jumps between timelines. I never felt like The Family Remains jumped about too much which was great, the different timelines always added to the story and weren’t placed randomly.
Overall I gave this book 4 stars. It was a solid mystery which had twists and turns around every corner. Despite it being over 400 pages long, I read it in just over a day. The pacing was excellent and every chapter ended in such a way that I needed to know what happened next – I love that in books! I would highly recommend this book, especially if you have read and loved the first, or any of Lisa Jewell’s other books, but please make sure to check out any content warnings first, as it does touch on some difficult topics.