Lisa Jewell is a critically acclaimed popular fiction writer. She has published books in a multitude of genres but her most loved ones surround suspense and mystery. All of her novels are connected to family or inner relationships.
Her ability to create realistic people who are both intriguing and familiar makes her writing so intense. Jewell’s most popular book is Then She Was Gone – a story about a broken family torn apart when 15-year-old Ellie went missing.
Laurel, Ellie’s mother never gave up hope and continues to search for her daughter 10 years later. The intensity of Laurel’s mission both tears the family apart and reveals what no one else could see.
The twists and turns become dramatic as Jewell unveils history bit by bit. Finding an author that can keep you captivated with their story, while also balancing realistic familial drama, is difficult. Luckily, I’ve fished through the library to find the right writers for you.
If you loved Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs series, then you’ll love the works of Lisa Unger, Robyn Harding, Sally Hepworth, Shari Lapena, and Ruth Ware. Read here to learn which author to dive into next.
Books By Lisa Jewell
Jewell’s most recent novel is the second of her series The Family Upstairs. Published in July 2022, it’s titled The Family Remains giving us an ominous beginning to the continued storyline.
Jewell isn’t known for writing series novels. Instead, her stories are standalone pieces, each with a new set of characters for us to explore. But when The Family Upstairs seems to end with unanswered questions, Jewell had an opportunity to expand her world.
She has one other series called Ralph’s Party. It takes a different approach to Jewell’s style, diving into romance instead of suspense, but again both books in the series are really about social connections, people, and how our lives are tangled together through trust and obligation.
If you’re a fan of Lisa Jewell, it’s these themes which keep drawing you back to her. Drama, family suspense, unexpected loyalties, and mysterious concepts our main character needs to understand.
The novel The Night She Disappeared, is no exception. A young mother of 19 heads out on a date, never to return. Kim, Tallulah’s mother, is left unanswered for 2 years, until she finds a note attached to the tree of her new boyfriend’s workplace. It reads “Dig Here”.
Cold cases solved by the people who loved them the most. This story is made for those who want to pick apart the dark secrets of a seemingly normal family.
Authors Like Lisa Jewell
Unger is another critically acclaimed author. Her novels are often discussed on major TV shows such as the Today show and Good Morning America. You can also see her books discussed in Entertainment Weekly and People magazine.
Unger even has a Netflix deal. Her novels Confessions on the 7:45, Last Girl Ghosted, and Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six are all in development and Jessica Alba is rumored to play a leading role.
Like Jewell, Unger specializes in thriller and mystery writing. Her tales have a psychological element to them, as she explores the dangers of modern-day living and social connections gone awry.
- Engaging Writing
- Unexpected Twists
- Intriguingly Dark
- Romance isn’t her strong point
Themes: Social Drama, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Modern Concerns.
Harding is a Canadian writer who specializes in domestic dramas. Her three most popular books are The Arrangement, The Party, and The Swap. Despite their similar title structure, these books are not a series.
These three novels are riveting tales about teens or young women who fall upon a dark truth. Each of these stories details a party or event that goes wrong. Starting with romantic or exciting connections, and ending in something sinister.
However, Jewell fans should start with The Perfect Family. This story has a similar aesthetic to The Family Upstairs.
Instead of someone looking into a different family, this time the reader is unpicking the secrets of this so-called perfect family. We are the detectives in this story.
- Fun Problem-Solving Reading
- Thrilling Mystery
- Explosive Ending
- Not Every Secret Is Answered
Themes: Family Drama, Secrets, Mystery, Thriller.
Hepworth is a smart writer who creates engaging stories around crime. Most of her stories also include romance or psychological thrillers based on false romances. A great example is The Good Sister.
In this story, Fern Castle looks like the perfect person. She has a quiet life where she works in a library, avoids crowds, and hangs out with her sister. But when sibling Rose finds her life limiting, Fern tries to help out.
Leaving her perfectly structured life also means leaving her protection. With her routine out the window, dark secrets reemerge. If you prefer a murder mystery rather than a haunting past, then The Mother-in-Law may be a perfect fit.
When Lucy marries her husband, she is clearly despised by her new mother-in-law Diana. Diana passed away leaving a note explaining a quiet battle with cancer, but the autopsy doesn’t mention cancer.
No one seems to question this discrepancy so Lucy takes it upon herself to find out what happened to this loathed woman.
- Intriguing Storylines
- Realistic Family Dynamics
- Instant Connections
- Common themes can feel repetitive
Themes: Family Member vs Family Member, Secrets, Mystery, Crime.
Lapena is a Canadian author. Despite being a Goodreads Choice Award winner, very few readers know about her. Her most loved book is The Couple Next Door. It’s a domestic suspense book about a couple and their neighbors.
It starts friendly but turns into a toxic relationship when something terrible happens. Struggling to understand the truth and what the couple is actually capable of, our main characters unveil lies, betrayals, and secrets amongst themselves.
- A mystery based on couples, not individuals
- Cheesy Drama
- Easy Read
- Stupid Characters
Themes: Family Drama, Neighborhood Secrets, Crime, Thriller.
Ware is an English novelist best known for her book The It Girl. It follows a group of University friends. They were inseparable during their first term, but when the year came to a close April was dead.
We jump forward 10 years and the person convicted of murdering April is found dead in his cell. The press latches onto the story and finds Hannah, one of the group.
A journalist is convinced the convicted murderer was innocent, bringing forth questions about her friends. Another great novel is The Woman In Cabin 10. On a cruise ship, our main character Lo experiences a luxurious stay.
However, halfway through the trip, she witnesses a woman thrown overboard. But all of the passengers are accounted for. No one will help her, so she must figure out the mystery herself.
- Intense Writing
- Depictions of Class Differences
- Great Characters
- Slow Pace
Themes: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime
Lisa Jewell is an amazing writer who focuses on social dynamics and the dramas that they create. Each of the writers above attempts the same balance, each with its own focus.
Read Ruth Ware for a classic mystery, or Lapena for something lighthearted. Pick Hepworth for murder mysteries based on families, or Harding for events gone wrong.
For a well-written suspense thriller based on social connections gone wrong, your best choice is Lisa Unger.
Any one of these writers would be great for your next read, but depending on your current mood some might seem more appealing than others. Tell us your favorite or any other suggestions for authors similar to Lisa Jewell.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type Of Books Does Lisa Jewell Write?
Lisa started as a romantic comedy writer, but she only wrote a couple of books in this genre. She is currently known for her dark thrillers about unusual characters in areas that should seem ”normal”.
How Old Is Lisa Jewell?
Lisa was born on the 19th of July 1968, London, England.
Is The Family Upstairs A True Story?
No, The Family Upstairs isn’t based on a true story. However, Jewell has admitted that some aspects of the story have come from the unsettling tales she has either experienced or read about during her life.
What Are The Trigger Warnings For The Family Upstairs?
This story is dark and some readers may find the contents disturbing. There is a trigger warning for murder, pedophilia, abuse of children and adults, miscarriage, and cults.
Do I Need To Read The Family Upstairs Before The Family Remains?
You don’t need to read The Family Upstairs before The Family Remains, as Jewell gives you enough information to understand what’s happening. However, for the full experience, you should read the series in order.
Is Lisa Jewell Married?
Yes, Lisa Jewell is married to Jascha Gordon. She also has two children, Amelie Mae, and Evie Scarlett.
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