OK, let me get this out of my system… Oh my gosh this was the best fiction book I’ve read all year and holy crap I need to get my hands on Lisa Jewell’s backlist and yeah I basically read the whole thing in two sittings and WOW. So this is my first encounter with Jewell and I was absolutely hooked. I loved the multiple perspective device she used and how it all came together. So let me lay it out for you.
Perspective 1 (3rd person): On Libby’s 25th birthday, she finds out she’s inherited a Chelsea mansion that’s been held in trust. She soon discovers the house has a dark history based on scant decades-old news coverage. Apparently there were three cult-related suicides, but 10 month old Libby was found unharmed and healthy within. What’s not to like about Libby? Her curiosity about why she was abandoned in the Chelsea house is natural because the events leading up to that left her an orphan without a past. She befriends a resourceful investigative journalist to help her dig up any clues that might help her figure out what happened.
Perspective 2 (3rd person): Lucy is living hand-to-mouth in France when her phone reminds her that The Baby is 25. Without the means or identity, she has to resort to some pretty desperate acts in order to get back to England after 24 years. Lucy’s shiftiness and secrecy makes her suspect, but she clearly has her kids’ best interest at heart. And her dramatic encounter with her ex-husband totally floored me.
Perspective 3 (1st person): Henry knows everything that happened in the house the last several years his family lived there. He knew why there were so many extra people living there, what happened to the once-opulent residence and its contents, and how and why people were found dead in black robes on the kitchen floor. Henry’s not the most reliable narrator, but as his story unfolded, the sense of desperation climaxed.
The best thing about this book is the sinister, gothic atmosphere. As I learned more about all the house’s inhabitants and why Henry and his family were prisoners in their own mansion, I got a creepy Jim Jones vibe. But it was so well done, I loved every page of it (including the hilarious acid scene), and I am going to be insisting everyone (especially fans of Chevy Stevens) read this book!