British author Lisa Jewell used to work in fashion retail. But after being made redundant, she’d accepted a challenge from her friend that leads her to write the first three chapters of what would become her first novel, Ralph’s Party.
Since then, she wrote a sequel to Ralph’s Party, but also a lot of standalone books like Thirtynothing, Then She Was Gone, The House We Grew Up In, The Girls in the Garden, and lately The Family Upstairs and Invisible Girl.
How to read Lisa Jewell’s Books in Order?
- Ralph’s Party (1998) – Ralph and Smith are flatmates and best mates. Nothing can come between them – until the gorgeous Jemima moves in. They’re both falling for her, but which one of them does she want? Upstairs, Karl and Siobhan are happily unmarried and have been for fifteen years – until Cheri moves into the flat above, and fixes her sights on Karl. Why should a little problem like his girlfriend get in her way? Sooner or later this house is bound to implode. There’s a sequel to this book: After the party.
- Thirtynothing (2000) – Dig Ryan hasn’t seen Delilah for twelve years, but when she bursts back into his life he can’t help falling for his first love all over again. Nadine has been in love with Dig for fifteen years, so she can’t help feeling cheated when her best friend has his head turned again by her old nemesis Delilah. But how low will Nadine stoop in order to make Delilah go away?
- One Hit Wonder (2001) – Bee Beahorn had it all – a successful music career, fabulous friends, and a glamorous celebrity lifestyle. At least, that’s what her estranged sister, Ana, had always believed. Their lives were worlds apart. Bea was beautiful, extravagant and full of life. Ana was awkward, shy, and destined to live in Bea’s shadow. But when Bea is found dead in her flat, Ana realises that everything she knew about her sister had been a lie.
- A Friend of the Family (2004) – The London family is in crisis. Newly-divorced Tony is fantasizing about someone he shouldn’t. Prize-winning writer Sean has a hot new girlfriend, and a dose of writer’s block. Their brother Ned has just come back from Australia, leaving his girlfriend behind. And now they have a new lodger – a mysterious stranger. But is he the friend this family needs, or a troublemaker they could do without?
- Vince and Joy (2005) – Vince and Joy have their whole lives ahead of them on the day they meet as teenagers, and instantly fall in love. But two weeks later, a misunderstanding forces them apart. When they cross paths seven years later they’ve been living very different lives. Yet neither of them has been able to let go of their first love. What happens when you meet the right person at the wrong time?
- 31 Dream Street (2007) – Also known as Roommates Wanted. 31 Silversmith Road. For years, Toby has opened his door to the people who needed his help. For years, Leah has watched the house across the street, wondering who the unusual assortment of occupants might be. They’ve never met – until one day, they’re brought together by a letter. A letter which makes Toby realize he needs to move on with his life – and help his tenants move on with theirs, too. Leah offers to help them each find a new way to be happy. But can she make Toby’s dreams come true, too?
- The Truth About Melody Browne (2009) – When she was a child, Melody Browne’s house burned down, destroying all her family’s possessions and her memories. Ever since this tragic event, Melody Browne has had no recollection of her life before she was rescued from the flames. Now in her early thirties, Melody is a single mother, living in the middle of London with her teenaged son. She hasn’t seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody has no desire to reconnect until one night, while attending a hypnotist show with a date, she faints. When she comes around, she is suddenly overwhelmed with fragmented memories of her life before that fateful fire.
- After The Party (2010) – A Sequel to Ralph’s Party. Eleven years ago, Jem and Ralph fell in love. They thought it would be for ever, that they’d found their happy ending. Then two became four, a flat became a house. Romantic nights out became sleepless nights in. And they soon found that life wasn’t quite so simple any more. Now two people who were so right together are starting to drift apart. As they try to find a way back to each other, back to what they once had, they both become dangerously distracted.
- The Making of Us (2011) – Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other – yet. They live very different lives but each of them, independently, has always felt that something is missing.What they don’t know is that a letter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down.It is a letter containing a secret – one that will bind them together, and show them what love and family and friendship really mean…
- Before I Met You (2012) – London, 1920. Arlette works in Liberty by day, and by night is caughty up in a glamorous whirl of parties, clubs, cocktails and jazz. But when tragedy strikes she flees the city, never to return. Over half a century later, in the grungy mid-’90s, her graddaughter Betty arrives in London. She can’t wait to begin her new life. But before she can do so, she must find the mysterious woman named in her grandmother’s will. What she doesn’t know is that her search will uncover the heartbreaking secret that changed her grandmother’s life, and might also change hers for ever…
- The House We Grew Up In (2013) – When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together? The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country. But one Easter weekend, something happens – something so unexpected, so devastating, that no-one can bring themselves to talk about it. The family shatters, seemingly for good. Until, years later, they are forced to return to the house they grew up in, and to confront what really broke the family apart…
- The Third Wife (2014) – You’re successful. Attractive. Well liked. And you’ve just got married for the third time. But that’s OK, because everyone’s happy. Your children are happy. You’re happy. And so is your new wife. But one tragic accident smashes your perfect life to pieces. Because everyone has secrets, and secrets have consequences. Some of which can be devastating.
- The Girls in the Garden (2015) – Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
- I Found You (2016) – East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement, she invites him in to her home. Surrey: 21-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night, she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed….
- Then She Was Gone (2017) – She was 15, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet. But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter. Because his daughter is the image of Ellie. Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?
- Watching You (2018) – You’re back home after four years working abroad, with a brand-new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re living with your big brother, camped out in his spare bedroom. And then – quite unexpectedly – you meet the man next door. He’s the head teacher of the local high school. He’s twice your age. And he’s devastatingly attractive. Soon you find you’re watching him. All the time. But what you don’t know is that someone is watching you. Or that what has started as an innocent crush is quickly turning into an obsession as dark as it is deadly.
- The Family Upstairs (2019) – In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up. In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They’ve been dead for several days. Who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go? Two entangled families. A house with the darkest of secrets. There’s a sequel to this book: The Family Remains.
- Invisible Girl (2020) – When Saffyre Maddox was 10, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it around with her ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides from him, invisible in the shadows, learning his secrets; secrets she could use to blow his safe, cosy world apart. Owen Pick is invisible, too. He’s 33 years old and he’s never had a girlfriend, he’s never even had a friend. Nobody sees him. Nobody cares about him. But when Saffyre Maddox disappears from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at him. Accusing him. Holding him responsible.
- The Family Remains (2022) – A Sequel to The Family Upstairs. Rachel Rimmer’s husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France and all signs point to murder. The French police conclude that Michael was killed by his gangster associates. They have no idea that the real killer is still out there: his ex-wife, Lucy. A year later, she and her children are happily living in London, unaware that Rachel is on the hunt for her. She may have never met this woman, but Rachel knows Lucy was the last person to see her husband alive. And there is nothing that is going to stop her from discovering the truth.
- None of this is True (2023) – Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins. A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.
If you like the Lisa Jewell reading order, you may also want to take a look at our guide to Harlan Coben’s books or the work of Lisa Gardner. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.