The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
Another Enjoyable Thriller
I thoroughly relished “The Family Upstairs” and bestowed upon it a 5-star review. Considering its tremendous success both artistically and commercially, it was inevitable that there would be a temptation to create a sequel at some point. However, history has demonstrated that releasing a sequel to a novel originally intended as a standalone isn’t always a prudent decision. With this in mind, I approached “The Family Remains” hoping for the best but bracing myself for the worst. The outcome, however, fell somewhere in between.
Firstly, let’s address whether “The Family Remains” can be enjoyed by someone who isn’t already acquainted with the first book. Lisa Jewell does exhibit some consideration for her readers by offering brief background information on key characters at the beginning of the book. Additionally, she utilizes one of the early chapters, narrated from Henry’s perspective, to provide background details from the first book. Nevertheless, I believe this serves better as a refresher for those who have actually read the initial installment rather than fully acquainting new readers with the story.
The novel itself delivers much of what you would anticipate from Lisa Jewell: fluent and engaging writing that captivates readers with her trademark page-turning style. The character development is, as always, commendable, with well-crafted protagonists, although not always likable. The pace remains steady throughout, and the plot has been carefully constructed, avoiding glaring plot holes or stretching believability too far beyond the bounds of dramatic fiction. However, despite these strengths, “The Family Remains” lacks the same level of originality, intrigue, and menace found in “The Family Upstairs,” resulting in a less impactful experience compared to its predecessor.
If you enjoyed “The Family Upstairs,” it’s likely that you will also derive enjoyment from this sequel, albeit perhaps not to the same extent. Conversely, if you didn’t appreciate the first book, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find much enjoyment in this one either. If you haven’t read “The Family Upstairs” yet, I recommend doing so before delving into “The Family Remains” to ensure maximum satisfaction from the latter.
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