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?
It is the absolute shittiest day for a walk.
Thank you to Libro fm for sending me an ALC in exchange for an honest review. I thought that the narration was fantastic and I didn’t want to stop listening!
As The Wife Upstairs is a Jane Eyre retelling, there is an element of predictability that I expected going into it. That said, Rachel Hawkins added a few twists that I thought were interesting and I so appreciated how she made Jane less naïve and more conniving. She felt like less of a pawn in this retelling, which was refreshing to see!
None of these characters are likeable, but that is the entire point. I am not someone who needs likeable characters to enjoy a book, especially in a thriller, but it is important to know going into this that none of them have any redeeming qualities. However, I did understand most of their motivations, which is something that I look for when reading about characters like this.
I actually liked the ending, but I found it to be rather abrupt! There is so much build-up, especially in the first half, that I felt like the conclusion came and went so quickly that I felt a little unsatisfied.
I am picky when it comes to my thrillers, but this is one that I enjoyed and I could see myself recommending it to a lot of readers. I do not think you need to have read Jane Eyre to appreciate The Wife Upstairs, but looking for the parallels was part of the fun for me!
- Characters: 5
- Atmosphere/Setting: 7
- Writing Style: 7
- Plot: 7
- Intrigue: 8
- Logic/Relationships: 6
- Enjoyment: 8
Overall CAWPILE score: 48/7=6.8