Author : Kate Murray-Browne
Title : The Upstairs Room
Pages : 320
Publisher : Picador
Publication date : July 27, 2017
Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill. Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners—including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
Richard and Eleanor sink all their savings into their dream home. But there are strange things afoot. Eleanor thinks the house is making her ill. And her daughter has gone from a little angel to a temper tantrum throwing little devil. While Richard seems to be more occupied with their lodger, Zoë, Eleanor investigates the mystery of the previous owners and why the name “Emily” is found written pretty much all over the house.
I must say, I have some serious mixed feelings about The Upstairs Room but the overwhelming one would probably be slight disappointment. While the chapters about the house were great, there were flashback chapters about life for the inhabitants before they moved into this house and they completely ruined the flow of the story. In an odd sort of way, it almost felt as if they were written by someone else entirely.
I also didn’t really feel like they added anything, other than knowing everyone was miserable and none of the characters could apparently figure out what they wanted in life. There was way too much focus on past and present relationships. At about the halfway mark, I pretty much stopped caring about them altogether. What kept me reading was the mystery surrounding the upstairs room but there were no answers or explanations as to the why, how, or what and none of it was in any way creepy enough. Just when I thought things might finally get interesting and pick up, things fell flat.
Maybe my expectations were too high but all in all, I’m feeling quite underwhelmed by the whole thing. Even the ending didn’t satisfy me one bit but I’m very picky about endings so that’s probably just me. I was obviously expecting something entirely different from this story than what I got and this book was just not for me. But don’t let that put you off
My thanks to Pan MacMillian for my advanced copy which I received through Netgalley and chose to review honestly.
The Upstairs Room was published on July 27th.