The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

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 have to start by saying that after 2 pages of The Family Remains I had to stop reading it…not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because I wanted to maximise my enjoyment! I realised that I actually wanted to read The Family Upstairs again first just to refresh my memory of that amazing book and enhance my reading of this sequel-The Family Remains. Now I’ve been riding on the Lisa Jewell fan train since the very beginning after reading her debut novel Ralph’s Party and I will never get tired of that feeling of excitement when I pick up her latest release! So as I had some extra reading hours, I really wanted to do justice to this newest release by once again becoming involved in the messed up lives of a once ordinary family. And I’m so glad that I did!

The Family Remains has a clever title hiding an equally clever plot line that takes place not long after what happened previously. There’s a little reminder of the main characters at the start but I very quickly knew who was who and why they were in the places they currently were-geographically as well as emotionally! The discovery of a skeleton in the river Thames delivers a mystery for DCI Samuel Owusu and using the clues he discovers a connection with an old case-three adults were discovered dead downstairs in a gorgeous family home whilst a young baby girl was found very much alive and well in her cot upstairs. What had happened to lead to such tragic circumstances? Well you think you know but there is much more to uncover here! I don’t want to talk about the plot much more than that as I would hate to spoil it-this has been a much anticipated book by fans of The Family Upstairs and it will not disappoint!

The writing here completely envelopes you in the world of this dysfunctional family and once started I guarantee you will find it difficult to put down! Lisa Jewell can spin a beautifully crafted web of intrigue meaning you will be completely trapped by this utterly gripping and powerful tale. It’s breathtaking and mesmerising and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

The Family Remains was published by Century on 21st July 2022.

LISA JEWELL was born in London in 1968.

Her first novel, Ralph’s Party, was the best- selling debut novel of 1999. Since then she has written another nineteen novels, most recently a number of dark psychological thrillers, including The Girls, Then She Was Gone and The Family Upstairs and The Night She Disappeared, all of which were Richard & Judy Book Club picks.

Lisa is a New York Times and Sunday Times number one bestselling author who has been published worldwide in over twenty-five languages. She lives in north London with her husband, two teenage daughters and the best dog in the world.


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.