The queen of suspense and intrigue! If you haven’t read Lisa Jewell then I recommend you run, don’t walk, to your local bookstore, your library, or scroll on over to Bookshop, and get yourself one of these five copies immediately.
Jewell is an automatic read for me, which means when she comes out with something new, I check it out regardless of the description or the reviews. No one creates a villain like this British author with 21 published books to date. There’s something subtle and lasting about the way her characters creep in and take hold of you. She’s also a master when it comes to setting the scene and the setting is often a driving force in the story that transports you.
1.) The Family Upstairs (The Family Remains: Out August 9, 2022)
All of the characters have their own twists that are perfectly executed in the most unexpected ways. The setting, which constantly changes, is a crucial element. The house itself is its own dark and intricate character. The hidden world that exists in plain sight is so well developed that as a reader you can’t help but feel connected to it.
Book Description: Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.
She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.
Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.
Read my full book review here!
2.) I Found You
This one shocked me! There were so many unexpected levels to this mystery. I blew right through the chapters and think it even deserves a few rereads to catch all of the twists and turns.
Book Description: In the windswept British seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on a beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.
Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, newlywed Lily Monrose grows anxious when her husband fails to return home from work one night. Soon, she receives even worse news: according to the police, the man she married never even existed.
Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty Ross are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. The annual trip to Ridinghouse Bay is uneventful, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just because he’s a protective older brother.
3.) Then She Was Gone
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. The premise is unique, the suspense builds and builds, and I really connected with the characters. However, the villain in this story is hard to stomach and the inside look into their mind is disturbing, to say the least. Prepare to be rattled and for that shock to settle in for a long time. *Trigger warnings: sexual abuse, child abduction, pregnancy loss, violence, death, and mental illness.
Book Description: Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. Beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers, and half of a teenaged golden couple. Ellie was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.
And then she was gone.
4.) The Truth About Melody Browne
I don’t know about anyone else, but this one stuck me right in the heart. Melody Browne is a character you can root for from start to finish.
Melody Browne has always lived partly shrouded in somewhat of a mystery. When she was only nine, her father saved her from a terrible house fire, but along with all of her belongings, the fire incinerated every memory she had up until that point. Now she’s thirty-three, drifting through her life in London, only grounded by her seventeen-year-old son. In the midst of an awkward first date, Melody is hypnotized and to her embarrassment faints, but that fateful moment was the secret key to unlocking her past. As her memory returns in flashes, she realizes there are many many things and people from her past that don’t quite match up with the history her parents have given her in place of memories.
Switching between the past and present, Lisa Jewell proves once again that she can successfully write from a very young character's perspective and multiple timelines. Similar to The Family Upstairs, but written earlier in her career (2009), this one is slightly lighter than some of Jewell’s other darker works, such as Then She Was Gone, but still firmly grabs hold of you.
Read my full book review here!
5.) Watching You
I have to say Jewell really knows how to paint a villain with words. And Watching You is no exception. There is something deeply dark and twisted about the villain in Watching You, even though they aren’t truly revealed until the end and the story does not center around them. The rest of her characters are equally complex and layered, from teenagers and young kids to older characters from many different backgrounds. Each one expresses its own complicated perspective and draws you deep into the story.
In previous interviews, Jewell has explained how powerful a setting can be and her novel usually depicts a house or place that really stands out. The painted houses in this novel show just how well the author can create a sense of wonder and urgency just by choosing the right setting. I loved the posh neighborhood, Melville Heights, almost as much as I loved the house in The Family Upstairs.
The setting and the characters saved this one for me. Watching You just didn’t have the mystery that some of her other novels do and I enjoyed the characters more than the story. There was a twist, but I felt there were hints throughout, which isn’t always typical for this author. Jenna Tripp was my favorite character. She’s a loyal, caring friend and mature beyond her years. Overall, this is worth reading and fun to compare with her other novels!
Read my full book review here!
The Perfect Gift Guide for Suspense Readers
Other Lisa Jewell Novels:
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