The Upstairs House by Julia Fine is a surreal yet honest story about motherhood, identity, and family.
After Megan gives birth to her new baby – unsure if she’s ready to be a mother – and brings the baby home, a strange door appears in her building. Curious, she opens the door, and comes face-to-face with the prolific children’s author, Margaret Wise Brown. This sets in motion a haunting of sorts, where a long-dead Margaret and her past lover Michael dance around each other, with Megan and her baby caught in the middle.
*I received this book for free from the publisher (Harper Books) in exchange for an honest review.
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The Upstairs House by Julia Fine: My Thoughts
The Upstairs House focuses heavily on the postpartum period in a particular woman’s life, which will strike a chord with many. Even as a woman without children, I was pulled in by the main character’s worries and fears. Her feelings were visceral, heightening the intensity of the story. Sure, it’s a little ‘out there’ in its execution, but its themes are grounded in reality.
I wouldn’t call this a horror novel, per se. It’s more unsettling – especially for new mothers or mothers-to-be (I would assume). Other than that, I’d say the story is literary fiction, with some history mixed in. I was fascinated by the lives of Margaret Wise Brown and Michael Strange, and I appreciated the research that was included.
Megan’s apathy toward her husband bothered me somewhat, but you can’t deny it’s honest and raw.
Overall, this was a well-written, unique, and emotional story.
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
Release date: February 23th, 2021
Looking for more great book recommendations? Check out my list of exciting New Book Releases in February 2021!