Book Review: The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell


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.

As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.


I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of The Family Remains for months now and it was certainly worth the wait. As with The Family Upstairs, I was hooked and hung on every word.

However, before I get into my full review of the book, I have to comment on it being a standalone novel. Personally, I don’t think it was. Or at least it could be but, if you haven’t read the first book, you do not get the full impact of the story of the characters. While there was a new storyline to The Family Remains and different characters took the forefront, what I enjoyed most about it was that it neatly tied up everything from the first book. The fact that this book is very character driven really emphasised the full circle that is complete from one book to the next.

The deeper look into Harry’s character was the standout element of The Family Remains. It showed just how troubled he is but also showed a new, unexpected side to him. Of all the characters in the book, he is really the one who keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what he is going to do next.

In terms of storyline, Rachel and Michael’s relationship really stood out. At first, I did wonder what was the point of delving into it. However, it made a good side story and I was impressed how it tied into the overall story in the end. Even more so than what we encounter with the Lamb family in this book, it is with Rachel and Michael that the author shows herself as the great dark thriller writer that she is.

To be honest, I don’t think many people will need prompting to buy The Family Remains but here is the link anyway.


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