Have you heard of the author Lisa Jewell, but you do not have any clue what she has written, or how to read it?
Or, you could be a fan of Lisa Jewell’s work, but you are unsure what order you should read her stories in, whether you are re-reading her work, or you want to tackle some of her books that you have never read before.
If this describes you, this guide will give you all the aid you need and will ensure that you know how to approach Lisa Jewell’s body of work!
If you have never heard of Jewell, she is one of the most popular novelists from Britain, and she has been developing a popular reader base for years now.
She is well known by her readers for her plot lines being captivating, her well-written characters that will feel like friends by the time you are finished reading, and her signature wry sense of humor.
If this has gotten you interested in her work, then this guide will give you the correct reading order and the best way to approach reading her stories. So, if you want more information on Lisa Jewell and her books, keep reading to get the information you need!
About Lisa Jewell Books
Lisa Jewell is a New York Times bestseller as an author, she has been writing for around 22 years, and in this time she has managed to publish 19 novels.
If you are not sure that you have heard of her, some of her most popular books that we will be discussing in this article are; The Family Upstairs, The Invisible Girl, Then She Was Gone as well as Watching You.
Her stories are well known for how full of suspense they are, and how you can not help but keep reading once you are engaged. Her signature is for stories to surround domestic drama.
Furthermore, her stories have found international success as well, with her stories having sold over 10 million copies all over the world and have been translated into 28 different languages as well.
Her most recent story is The Family upstairs, which has kept with her established domestic theming, with story points surrounding broken families, obsession, and twisted marriage.
If any of this interests you, then this list will give you all the information you need on how to start reading her body of work, so keep reading!
All Lisa Jewell Books In Order
It is worth noting that most of Jewell’s stories are actually standalone, with only a couple of her stories fitting into a series.
This means that the order of reading does not actually matter too much, however, we do recommend reading in chronological order just so you can have a slightly more cohesive experience.
So, if you want to start reading her stories and want to get the best experience, you can follow our guide, however, if you are not too worried about the order, it will not actually affect your reading too drastically!
Ralph’s Party Series
The first story that was published by Lisa Jewell officially was actually the first story in her Ralph’s Party duology that she did not follow up on until 2010.
We spend this book series following the residents of 31 Almanac Road all creating a web of complex romance which is interesting for the audience to follow.
As the name suggests, our protagonist is called Ralph and he is an artist who has recently realized that he is in love with Jem, his new flatmate who is both sensible and fun.
However, it does not look great for Ralph since his friend Smith has already won over the affections of Jem. But on top of this Smith still has some residual feelings for Cheri who lived in the flat above.
Then there is Siobhan and Karl who live just over the hall and they are happily not married. But this changes when Karl is offered a DJ job in London and is tempted by Cheri.
The relationships between the 6 tenants are engaging to follow, and the direction their relationships head can not be predicted, however, what we do know is that everything will change on the night of Ralph’s party.
The first book was a massive success, so much so that Jewel decided to follow up on it 11 years later, returning to the same character!
Ralph’s Party (1999)
This is the book that started it all for Lisa Jewell and it was a massive success in England especially and led to her becoming the popular and well-received author she is today.
We follow the relationships and romantic tension between 6 tenants who all live at the same address and it is an engaging read we highly recommend, especially if you want a dose of late 90s throwback.
- The popular book which catapulted Lisa Jewell to be as successful as she is now!
- If you are not a fan of complex romantic webs of relationships, then this book might be a little much.
After The Party (2010)
After fans of the first story were begging to see what happened to the characters of Ralph’s Party, it took 11 years for Lisa Jewell to publish her follow up which addresses what they have been up to since the first story!
- A great follow-up if you are a fan of the first story.
- Is not really a viable read if you did not read the first story with just how many throwbacks are included.
While the duology of Ralph’s Party novels is well worth a read, and the first story was what kick-started Lisa Jewell’s career, it is worth keeping in mind that her most popular works are her standalone books and these are what have been sustaining her career for the last 23 years.
So, if you are looking for the best Lisa Jewell works, we believe they are on this list. Also, since these stories are standalone, this means that technically you can read them in whatever order you want.
However, we still recommend reading them in the chronological order we list here, this means you can pick up on how her writing style has evolved and detect differences and themes that carry over making it a slightly more engaging experience.
But, if there is one specific story that stands out to you as something you want to read as soon as possible, then we recommend that as a starting point.
Either way, in this section we will go over all of Lisa Jewell’s standalone novels, so keep reading if you want a short synopsis of each!
The first standalone story published by Lisa Jewell is Thirtynothing, and as the name suggests, we follow Dig Ryan on his thirtieth birthday.
As well as achieving this milestone, his day is interrupted by running into Delilah, his very first love, and he has not seen her once in the last 12 years.
12 years ago Delilah had been the most beautiful girl that was in their school, however, she was also a thorn in the side for Nadine who has been Dig’s best friend for most of his life and still is.
However, Nadine is not going to let herself get outshone by Delilah again, so in an attempt to outmaneuver her, she calls on the aid of her first love Phil.
- Lisa Jewell’s first story goes in plenty of different directions and is a perfect way to work out if you like her writing style.
- Dig is not always the most understandable protagonist for the audience to follow.
One-Hit Wonder (2000)
We follow Ana who is a pretty shy character, and she has spent a lot of her life just daydreaming of sharing some of the exotic lifestyle of Bee, her half-sister.
Bee is a massively popular singer who has just had her first #1 hit, however, shortly after she just disappeared from the celebrity scene completely.
Things get even more complicated when Bee shows up dead and Ana is dispatched to go to her city and to have the job of clearing out her sister’s home.
However, without much hesitation, Ana becomes seduced by the glamor from all of Bee’s belongings and the glamorous lifestyle that was associated with them. Because of this, Ana starts to go club-hopping alongside Bee’s friends.
But then, there is news that there is a missing car, and a cottage out remote in the country, and this all leads Ana to piece together that Bee might have been living a secret life all along. So, now she has to work out what happened to Bee, and what will happen to her as well.
- The relationship between Ana and postmortem Bee is an interesting one for the reader to follow.
- Some of the side characters can be a little grating to follow.
31 Dream Street (2000)
If you have heard of a similar story called Roommates Wanted this is actually the same story as 31 Dream Street just published under a different name.
We are following Toby who has just received a massive Victorian house with a massive number of rooms that need filling, all as an early wedding present from his father, with his marriage just a month away.
However, with how lonely Toby gets in the massive house he posts an ad for the unexpectedly alone to be his roommates. And 15 years later there are now wayward souls that are living with him and they have very little intention of ever leaving.
We skip forward to 2004 with Toby having met Leah who lived over the road from him, and the pair are starting to fall in love.
However, they are not going to be able to start their life together until Toby has rid the house of the misfits and slackers who live there, and he needs to solve their issues so they can be set free. But will Leah and Toby’s relationship be able to stand this test?
- If you enjoy large casts of unconventional characters, then this story will be one you will enjoy!
- Leah’s character takes a while to grow accustomed to.
A Friend Of The Family (2003)
Tony, Sean, and Ned are all brothers and they thought that they had the best upbringing possible, but real life is starting to rear its ugly head now that the three are all grown up.
Tony is having to cope with his unexpected divorce as well as a weight problem that is getting more and more apparent.
Then Sean, who is a novelist is dealing with a paralyzing case of writer’s block as well as coping with a shocking announcement from his girlfriend who he assumed was perfect. On top of this, the parents of the brothers have Gervase as a new tenant.
This leads the brothers to wonder why Bernie, their mother, is giving up part of their home for this relatively unsavory character. And also, why has Ned returned from Australia with such a sudden change of decision?
- The relationship between the brothers gives this story a palpable spirit that is worth reading.
- Some of the side characters are a little difficult to understand.
Vince & Joy (2005)
The couple of Vince and Joy have the entirety of their lives to spend with each other with the pair having met when they were only teenagers, and they fell in love instantly.
However, only 2 weeks after this they are forced to separate due to an unforeseen misunderstanding. But, they have reunited now, 20 years after this, and they are both in completely different worlds than they were before.
However, even 20 years later, neither of them was able to completely let go of the love they shared, so what will happen if you think you have met the perfect person, but it was all at the wrong time?
- The time gap makes the characters of Vince and Joy feel like they have a lot more depth to readers.
- The relationship between the lead pair can have some frustrating twists to follow.
At just 9 years old the house of Melody Browne burned down, and it took everything with it.
However, the fire did not just take the possessions of Melody Browne, but also her memories and she is now unable to remember anything that happened before her 9th birthday.
Melody is now in her 30s living in a flat in London with her 17 year old son and she has not seen her parents since she left them at 15. She thinks she is better off on her own, so she is unbothered by this. She and her son seemingly have a good life together.
But this changes when the extraordinary happens when she attends a hypnotist show on a date and faints. When she wakes up, she realizes she is starting to remember events.
Her childhood and the true events behind it start to come together and lead her to a mystery she can not ignore.
- The developing lead character of Melody is fun to follow.
- The pacing is not the best of Lisa Jewell’s work.
The Making Of Us (2011)
We follow Daniel who is fading away in a hospice in St Edmund’s and his friend Maggie sits with him daily. He tells her the story of his life with all of his secrets and regrets.
He also tells her about the children that he will never meet and his lost legacy. These three children are Lydia, Robyn, and Dean, and we follow their reactions.
- The children reconvening is an interesting story to follow.
- Can be a little too tragic.
Before I Met You (2012)
We follow Betty after her grandmother’s death and she feels ready to start life after forfeiting all of the standard goings on of a girl her age since she had enjoyed life with her aging grandmother in their isolated home.
However, she still wants to find Clara, the mysterious woman in her grandmother’s will who she had never heard of.
- Following Betty growing accustomed to city life is entertaining.
- Some of the side characters are grating.
The House We Grew Up In (2013)
We follow the Bird family who seem to have everything perfect, however, after a devastating tragedy that tears the family apart, and we follow them years later to pick up the pieces.
- The time skip gives this story lots of depth that keeps it entertaining.
- The pacing is a little clunky at some points.
The Third Wife (2014)
Adrian is a year after the death of his third wife and we follow him to work out the cause of a woman who has stepped in the path of a bus killing herself on a quiet summer morning.
- The mystery of Maya and how this interweaves with Adrian’s story is engaging to read.
- Takes a while to warm up.
The Girls In The Garden (2015)
We follow life in a picturesque part of London where children should be free to explore, however, when a 13 year old girl is found in a pool of her own blood in a garden in the square, things are clearly not as perfect as they had seemed.
- One of Lisa Jewell’s more engaging murder mysteries.
- The characters are a little weaker than usual.
I Found You (2016)
We follow Alice and Lily with their parallel stories and how they relate to each other on different sides of the country. There is also a time skip that keeps events interesting.
- The dual stories and how they relate make the mystery in this story one of Lisa Jewell’s finest.
- Lily’s narrative is a little less engaging than Alice’s.
Then She Was Gone (2018)
We follow Ellie Mack who was seemingly the perfect daughter who was the youngest of three children and beloved by all. She was only days away from her summer holiday, but then all of a sudden she was gone.
Her mother Laurel is trying to get her life back together and it has been 10 years since Ellie has gone missing and her marriage has been over for 7 years. But when she meets a charming man who has a daughter who looks just like Ellie, her passion to find her is renewed.
- The mystery is an engaging read.
- Floyd is a slightly grating character.
Watching You (2018)
Tom is the headmaster who turned around the reputation of a local school, and he is liked by Joey, his neighbor who grows an intense infatuation with Tom.
Joey thinks this is a secret, however, Freddie, Tom’s son, is a prodigy at spying and has observed Joey’s behavior. One of Tom’s students, Jenna, is also on the same street and is not convinced that her teacher has as clean a reputation as he seems.
- The web of characters is where Lisa Jewell is at her best.
- Pacing takes a while to pick up.
The Family Upstairs (2019)
Libby returns from work on her 25th birthday to the letter she has been waiting for her entire life wanting to finally know who she is. She not only gets the identity of her parents but also inherits a house on the banks of the Thames.
- Getting to learn Libby’s truth with her is an interesting ride.
- Some side characters are a little lacking.
Invisible Girl (2020)
We follow Saffyre who has been cared for by child psychologist Roan for 3 years. However, when Roan decides the sessions are over, Saffyre cannot help but feel abandoned.
So, she starts to look for more unconventional methods of connecting with him. Saffyre learns all she needs to know about Roan and plans to disappear, but Owen is left in the middle to work it all out.
- Owen is a likable protagonist.
- However, he feels a little without stakes for a lot of the story.
The Night She Disappeared (2021)
In a beautiful suburb in England, a woman and her boyfriend go missing on the estate of a friend from college. And then a year later a writer moves into a cottage by the woods of the same estate.
The area is known locally as the dark place and when the writer is exploring she finds a note reading ‘dig here’. But, does she want to dig and potentially learn the mystery of the couple, or would she rather stay out of it?
- The writer is a fun character to follow.
- The writing style is occasionally a little oppressive.
The Family Remains (2022)
Rachel’s phone rings and is surprised to hear that her husband’s housekeeper is sobbing down the line with news of his death. He was found in the cellar of his French home with all signs pointing to murder.
The local police suspect gang activity, however, the real killer is his former wife Lucy has no idea that Rachel is hunting her down.
- The characters of Lucy and Rachel are fun to follow.
- The husband’s character feels a little dry even if he is dead.
None Of This Is True (Expected In August 2023)
Now, the final book to complete this list has not even been published yet, but fans of Lisa Jewell’s writing style are looking forward to None of This is True.
We are of course unsure of all the plot twists, but most of her stories are well-received, so we cannot wait to finally get our hands on this book when it is expected to release in August.
If you have exhausted all of Lisa Jewell’s current novels, and you cannot wait for her next story, then we recommend looking out for the anthology that she has been featured in!
This short story might be the perfect thing to tide you over and will also help with introducing you to authors that have a similar writing style to her.
Tart Noir (2003)
It is worth noting that Lisa Jewell is not the only author that is featured in this anthology, however, her offerings to the anthology are well worth a read.
If you are a fan of short stories and want to find authors who have a similar style of writing to Lisa Jewell, then checking out this anthology is something you should consider!
- If you want a quick and easy selection of reads from Lisa Jewell and authors similar to her with a nostalgic 2000s vibe, this is a great idea.
- Some of the stories featured by the other writers can be a little hit or miss.
Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need when it comes to reading Lisa Jewell’s stories and has given you an option of some good entry points.
While you can easily start with the Ralph’s Party series for a simple entry point, we recommend trying one of her more popular standalone stories first to see if you enjoy her writing style.
Hopefully, this guide has spurred your interest in Lisa Jewell’s writing and made you want to get to read her well-liked stories soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Lisa Jewel Most Well Known For?
Lisa Jewell is a British New York Times bestselling author and she is well known mostly for her standalone stories while also her short duology called the Ralph’s Party series.
Her stories tend to follow domestic drama and have suspenseful narratives that the reader can not step away from.