The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

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The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is an exciting retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. It is a thriller that has an interesting concept and a fast-paced plot. The dual narration and drama-filled story will keep you flipping pages right up until the exciting end.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel HawkinsTitle: The Wife Upstairs
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Also by this author: Prince Charming
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genres: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Rating: four-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

It has been quite some time since I have read Jane Eyre, so I went into this one without high expectations. For those quite familiar with the original story, there may be some disappointment, as it is very hard to retell a popular classic. This story is a modern take on the original and has some unique elements that make it a page-turner.

❀ Dual Points of View

The story is told from the points of view of both Jane and Bea. None of the characters in the book are likeable, yet there is something that draws you into their stories. Jane is an underdog who has clawed her way into a position of privilege. Also, as Bea’s story emerges, we discover that the two women are not so different after all.

❀ No Shortage of Drama

There is no shortage of drama in this book and if you enjoy a soapy novel with lots of backstabbing characters, this is one to try. It seems like there isn’t one character in this book that can be trusted and that’s what makes it so intriguing. It has Desperate Housewives vibes, in my opinion, and will be enjoyable for those who are fans of a soapy thriller.

❀ Interesting Retelling

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is one thriller that will be enjoyed by those who love drama and a fast-paced plot. This Jane Eyre retelling is an interesting take on a classic and has some intriguing characters. It is a perfect book for a fall reading list.

About Rachel Hawkins

Image of Rachel Hawkins

Rachel Hawkins was born in Virginia and raised in Alabama. This means she uses words like "y'all" and "fixin'" a lot, and considers anything under 60 degrees to be borderline Arctic. Before deciding to write books about kissing and fire (and sometimes kissing while on fire), Rachel taught high school English for 3 years, and is still capable of teaching you The Canterbury Tales if you're into that kind of thing.

She is married to a geologist, which means that they have incredibly strange dinner conversations ("So today at work, I wrote a chapter where killer fog, like, ATE PEOPLE." "Huh. Well, I was chased by an angry reindeer while trying to map parts of Norway." "Um...okay.")

Rachel also has a little boy whose main hobbies are playing video games, running around in circles, and plotting his Future Intergalactic Take-Over.

When not writing books, Rachel enjoys reading, travelling, and knitting (very terribly.)


About Lori

Avid reader. Contributor to The Candid Cover. Educator.

24 thoughts on “The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

  1. Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse says:

    I have seen some mixed reviews on this one. It was from people who had Jane’s book clear in their mind. I’m glad to hear it was enjoyable if you hadn’t read that book or it wasn’t fresh in your mind. Nice review!

    • Lori says:

      I was a bit worried because I have seen some similar reviews. I think with a lot of classics that are retold it can be hard to please die hard fans. I need to revisit Jane Eyre one of these days!

  2. Melissa Storms says:

    This sounds interesting. I really like the classics retold and this sounds like a great take on a classic.

  3. Piroska says:

    I’ve had this book on my reading list, as it really intrigued me. Of course, i’m a Jane Eyre fan. I’m going to put this on the top of my list.
    Thanks for the great review!

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