The following is the transcript from my Sunday Girl radio show Book of the Week feature (Every Sunday 10am-12 on Siren FM 107.3)
If you would like to hear the feature please click here:
THE UPSTAIRS ROOM by Kate Murray-Browne
How would you feel if you were ‘lucky’ enough to get a great
offer accepted on your dream home? You’d be really excited, wouldn’t you, and
be planning the schedule of works and be surrounding yourself with paint charts
and enthusiasm - but what if you gradually began to realise that things aren’t
all that they seem to be? The Sunday Girl Book of the Week is, The Upstairs
Room by Kate Murray-Browne and it’s a little bit creepy...
It was there from the beginning, the day they first saw the house . . .
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 previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
I enjoyed this book – all the characters were believable and you could empathise with them all – although Richard, obsessed with his vision of how their home is going to be, when all is finished, doesn’t want to acknowledge that his dream could crumble and he keeps his blinkers firmly on, while Eleanor commences an increasingly desperate battle.
Zoe the lodger, has a complex life, away from the house and this gives the story another dimension – a story within a story.
What do you do when no one really wants to believe you? Who is, or was, Emily and what does she want?
The suspense builds nicely as this family start to fight the house, and each other. It is well paced and you don’t know what is going to happen – the events could go in any direction.
I’m really pleased that I wasn’t reading this in my old house – which happened to be a big, five-bedroomed, Victorian Townhouse, which had one, upstairs, room which always made me feel uneasy. The temperature was considerably lower than the rest of the house and when my mother stayed, she said that she felt that something was there, not necessarily unfriendly, but definitely something there – and she’s not one to remotely think about things like that. She said that on two separate occasions something touched her on the shoulder – EEK! She actually didn’t tell me until I’d moved, so it didn’t freak me out. Too late it already did. This room was fine in the daytime but at night I used to hate going to the bathroom, which was on the same back part of the landing, as that room. It just gave me a really disturbing feeling.
Do da do da dooooooo
Anyway back to The Upstairs Room. If you want something a bit on the different side, a mystery and spine-chilling thriller which is an easy, flowing read, and you don’t live in a spooky Victorian Townhouse, I can recommend it.
Author of The Upstairs Room, Kate Murray-Browne was born in
London, where she still lives. She worked in publishing for 10 years before
becoming a Freelance Editor. Kate is also an exhibiting visual artist.
The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne, is published by Picador on the 27th of July 2017. So, jot it down, bookmark it, or even order it and prepare to be unsettled!
PREVIEW & BUY The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne.