Title: The Upstairs Room
Author: Kate Murray-Browne
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
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.
The Upstairs Room is a beautifully crafted, eerie novel which wriggles its way into your mind, slowly developing into much more than your average thriller/mystery – more character driven and focusing on their relationships.
One successful element to the story is the characters, and how well developed they are. Though many aspects of their personalities got on my nerves, I did feel for them – especially Eleanor – as things started getting weird! The story feels like it’s more about the characters themselves, and the house which is almost a character in itself, than the occurrences – they act as a catalyst for developments and incidences between characters and the story focuses more on Eleanor, Richard and Zoe and the way they interact with each other and deal with the increasing feelings of unease – or disbelief – among themselves.
The story is actually fairly slow paced but has plenty of really strange, unsettling moments that created a truly spooky atmosphere. Some parts definitely reminded me of films I’d seen, but executed really well without feeling cheesy or over-dramatic. The feeling of unease slowly creeps through the book and you’re never sure if you believe that there is anything supernatural about the house or not.
The Upstairs Room is a slow burner but one which really drew me in and focuses on character development as much as any thrills or creepiness… aA really great read!
Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write and honest and unbiased review.