Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: The Wife Upstairs
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Domestic Suspense
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Emily Shaffer, Kirby Heyborne, Lauren Fortgang
Length: ~9 hours (304 pages)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan Audio
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Source: Libro.fm influencer program
Recommended for fans of: Jane Eyre, domestic thrillers, Verity
Content Warnings:

SYNOPSIS

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

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?

MY THOUGHTS

In The Wife Upstairs, the classic gothic romance Jane Eyre is reimagined as a domestic suspense in the Deep South. In case you don’t know me, that premise is RIGHT. UP. MY. ALLEY.

Even though Jane Eyre is my favorite classic, I didn’t see all of the twists coming. I loved all the nods to the OG, but this retelling forged its own identity.

This book is straight up #RichPeopleProblems, complete with the mysterious death of not one but TWO socialites. Jane, a dogwalker, catches the eye of Eddie, the widower of the recently-deceased Bea, as she attempts to social climb her way to the top. It’s clear that Jane has a shady past, but I wish the specifics of her situation had been revealed earlier in the story.

Most of the book is told from Jane’s POV, but we get flashback chapters from Bea’s POV throughout, and even a glimpse into Eddie’s mind toward the end. The audiobook narrators did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life.

The drama was suspenseful throughout and crescendoed into a thrilling ending. While the book was clever, entertaining, and compelling, it lacked that extra wow factor to make a 5-star read for me. If you are a fan of Colleen Hoover’s Verity, you should check out The Wife Upstairs!

Thank you to Libro.fm, Macmillan Audio, and St. Martin’s Press for the advance listening copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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