Who’s ready for my first 5-star review of the year?
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.
But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.
Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?
With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?
Funny story about this one. When Anne Carter of Random Things Tours asked me about reviewing this one I jumped at the chance. The blurb just sold it to me. A couple of weeks on, my sister shared this book with me on the basis of it being a modern retelling of Jane Eyre and I immediately dismissed it. Fast forward to me raving about this book to her and she pulling me on the fact that I said I didn’t like the sound of it. Moral of the story: listen to your sister.
But why exactly did I love The Wife Upstairs?
This book has so many twists and turn, with each being as jaw-dropping as the next. I loved the fact that there was already a big twist about a quarter of the way through the story. That’s the equivalent of a TV producer having the confidence in their show to kill off a main character early on in the series (think Game of Thrones and Ned Stark). Of course, these twists and turns mean that a lot happens in the story but the author moves to each scene seamlessly.
Each of the characters in the book have a multi-layered personality. I enjoyed each of them in their own way – including unlikeable and secondary characters. On top of that, I was totally off guard with how some characters turned out. This might not be the case if you previously read Jane Eyre. I’m so silly. I just saw that it was a retelling of a Gothic classic and I automatically thought dead wife + big house = Rebecca. Ah well. I actually realized that I do have a copy of Jane Eyre in my collection so I’m going to get around to reading that ASAP.
If you would like to read The Wife Upstairs, you can pick up a copy of the book here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.