THE ROOM UPSTAIRS- BLOG TOUR

ROOMUPSTAIRS

TITLE: THE ROOM UPSTAIRS

AUTHOR: KATE MURRAY- BROWNE

PUBLISHERS: PICADOR

PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 27th 2017

I am thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for this amazing title.. Please make sure you follow using the poster above and the hashtag #TheRoomUpstairs. There are some incredible bloggers involved so there will be some great posts to read! Today I’m sharing an extract and review. Thank you so much to the publishers for my stunning paperback ARC copy.

Here’s an extract to give you a taster. Enjoy…
LONDON, 2013
It was there from the beginning, the day they first saw the house. Eleanor noticed the smell first. It wasn’t unpleasant, just strong: the smell of age, of yellowing, of brown-grey, of damp. It was persistent – not the kind of smell you could get rid of or, she thought, get used to.
It was early July, a heatwave. Everything was bleached and parched; the whole city drooped. Eleanor’s face was pulp, her neck and kneecaps slick and slippery, as she stood in the hallway, trying to imagine it as hers.
In the photographs, the house had looked grand: a Victorian terrace, steps up to the front door, huge bay windows. Close to, it was shabby. Chunks of plaster had come away from the front windowsill, and moss was starting to grow underneath, as though it was decaying from the inside. Paint was peeling off the window frames. The front door was an unsettling shade of yellow.
The estate agent, Michael, showed them into the living room at the front of the house. The vast window, which
had seemed so luxurious from the outside, now felt exposing, vertiginous: just a membrane between them and the street. There was a fireplace surrounded by dark green tiles with an electric heater jammed in its centre, and elaborate cornicing edged the ceiling. ‘Really nice period features here,’ Michael said and Eleanor could sense Richard’sexcitement. The walls were pea green and the carpet a dense red. The colours were dull yet insistent; murky and bright. She could see the paint puckering near the skirting boards, in stiff peaks like blown flowers. By the window, it had formed a clean slit, as if someone had dragged a knife down the wall. ‘Of course, the decor’s getting a bit tired,’ Michael said. ‘It could do with some TLC.’
The sofas were ancient and large, covered in faded pastel blankets made of thin, used felt. Double doors led through to a kitchen looking out on a bare lawn. Baby-blue cupboards with red plastic handles in the shape of crosses, which made Eleanor think of hospitals. A side table draped in lace. We’d need to strip it bare, she thought.

THE SYNOPSIS:
It was there from the beginning, the day they first saw the house . . .

Eleanor and Richard have stretched themselves to the limit to buy the perfect home – a tall Victorian townhouse with enough room for their growing family. But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and convinced it is making her ill. Their two young daughters are restless and unsettled; three-year-old Rosie misbehaves and points to an imaginary girl.

Richard, still positive they’ve found the house of their dreams, is more preoccupied with Zoe – their alluring, mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, who is also struggling to feel at home. As Eleanor’s symptoms intensify, she becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the family who lived in the house before them and left in a hurry. Who were the Ashworths, and why is the name Emily written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room . . . ?

Beautifully written and impossible to put down, The Upstairs Room is a contemporary ghost story and a novel about memory, loneliness, desire and love – the things that haunt us all.

MY REVIEW…

This book chilled me from the moment I spotted its unusual, eye catching cover and I must say the title intrigued me and I am so glad that I got my hands on an ARC copy and was invited to take part on the tour and share my thoughts with you.

This is a very unique book, something very different from the titles I have read and I honestly can’t think of anything similar I have read- EVER.

It’s an eerie atmospheric urban ghost story, set amongst a normal everyday family, in a London home. It was so relatable that I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up imagining how I would cope having committed financially to a ‘forever home’ only to find that it was tainted by something threatening and so haunted that it made me ill. Eleanor becomes so affected by the house she could hardly stand to be there.

I found this such a compelling read and became absorbed in the  narrative which is both unsettling and tense as we feel the mounting desperation of Eleanor. As a mother I couldn’t imagine the horror of having no choice to bring up my children in a haunted home where I felt under threat and feeling ill from the paranormal activity.

The novel combines a close up, fly on the wall look at family life. What makes it so creepily frightening is this could be your family or the family next door who find themselves thrown into a nightmare. It’s so real, it’s so contemporary and so normal and that’s what makes it so frightening..

Utterly brilliant and completely readable-  This book is beautifully written with rich, brilliantly observed descriptions that brought it to life with a clear, vividness that made it all the more real.

I enjoyed every single page of this and can’t recommend it enough to my fellow readers. Don’t be out of by the paranormal element this incredible debut takes ghost stories to a whole new level in its realism and modern setting! And I forsee a new trend of exciting, urban tales in this genre. I look forward to exploring those and the future work of this impressive author who has set the bar very high.

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