The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne


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.

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  12 comments for “The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

  1. July 29, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I finished this last week and like you was a left a little disappointed. Too much focus on the three people and not enough spookiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicki_cosybooks
    July 29, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I’m reading this at the moment. I thought I was going to really enjoy it but at a third in, it doesn’t feel like it’s got going yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 30, 2017 at 10:51 am

      I saw your review last night. Seems like you enjoyed it okay in the end.


  3. July 29, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve read a few reviews with similar thoughts this ones on my TBR pile but I don’t think I will be rushing to read it anytime soon Dee. When you only read two books a week they’ve got to be excellent ones 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 30, 2017 at 10:51 am

      😂😂 Good point, yes! You might stop reading altogether otherwise 😱


  4. July 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Too bad the past narrative did not add anything to the book! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yvo
    July 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Great review! A shame this one didn’t tick all the right boxes for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. July 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Great review and I agree it was quite a disappointment for me. I can sometimes forgive a slow read if the ending is superb but this is one of the few books where the ending really let it down. It’s a shame as the whole blurb is so intriguing and it could have been so much better. I’ve read on Goodreads a lot of similar reviews, people unsatisfied with the ending and the characters. I don’t know what to think about the character Richard after reading it, lol! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 30, 2017 at 10:53 am

      I’m so glad to hear it wasn’t just me. I sometimes wonder if I’m just overly picky.

      Richard, good grief. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

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