Friday, February 5, 2021

Book Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
 Pub. Date: January 5, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Library
Other Books by Author: Hex Hall
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Goodreads says, "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?"


Jane is a dog walker in the wealthy community of Thornfield Estates.  She has nothing in common with the residents.  She had a difficult childhood and is running from her past to the point where she even changed her name!  One day when walking a dog in the community, she meets Eddie Rochester.  He is widowed as his wife recently died in a boating accident along with her best friend.  There's much talk about this in the neighborhood, but it doesn't deter Jane from being extremely intrigued by this handsome man.  Eddie starts to have feelings for Jane too and while Jane hangs out at his place and gets to know him further, she starts to get really interested in his deceased wife, Bea.  She was not only beautiful, but she was wildly successful.  Bea owned her own brand that appeals to Southerners. Jane feels intimidated by her; could she ever take Bea's place?  As the story unfolds, Jane uncovers secrets that lurk within the walls and they are terrible!  What exactly happened to Bea? But more importantly, will Jane be able to hide her true identity or will her secrets catch up with her as well? The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is a decent domestic thriller and a twist on the Jane Eyre.

The Wife Upstairs is one of those novels where you don't really like any of the characters. They are all really flawed, hide secrets, and make poor decisions, but that doesn't' mean I didn't enjoy the ride. Being that The Wife Upstairs is a twist on Jane Eyre, I had an idea where the story was going.  When Jane meets Eddie, Jane sees this as her ticket out.  As she tries to assimilate into their social group, she finds herself still thinking about Bea. So, she starts to dig and there are some crazy secrets that get unearthed. Can she trust Eddie?

The Wife Upstairs also is told from various points of view and flashbacks, which I definitely think worked in this case. It built suspense and had a Gothic vibe, just as Jane Eyre does.  My only issue with The Wife Upstairs is the lack of character development. I was hoping to feel more invested in their story; however, I did want to see how it all ended for Jane. So, for me, reading this novel was like observing a train wreck.  I was hoping to feel more invested in their story.  

So, if you are looking for a suspenseful read this winter, give The Wife Upstairs a try, especially if you like domestic thrillers.  Have you read any of Rachel Hawkins's books? Have you read this one? Let me know what you think in the comments below.



  1. I'm really looking forward to giving this one a try; I love Jane Eyre and I'm interested to see how it works out with an unlikable main character!

    1. You'll have to let me know your thoughts after you read it! It was a fun twist on a classic! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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