The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

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 Review:

The best way to describe The Wife Upstairs is to say that it is a twisty contemporary noir retelling of Jane Eyre, but it brings such a freshness to the retelling, it really kept me on edge throughout. It is a slow-burn of a thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, and beyond!

As a fan of Jane Eyre, I left my preconceptions to one side, and leapt in with both feet. There are plenty of characters within this story to dislike, including the protagonists Jane and Eddie. I spent the book trying to decide if they had any redeeming qualities, and I suppose in their own ways, they did, but those glimpses were fleeting. I have a confession to make, I’m notoriously bad at enjoying a book that does not contain at least one lovable character, but honestly, I found myself completely immersed and not distracted by the unredeeming personalities. To be honest, lovable characters would have felt out of place. This book completely blew me away, and I found it very hard to put down, and right the way through, the characters weaknesses and strengths kept me coming back for more.

I found the setting intriguing, it was very much a luxurious setting, where appearances matter, and I enjoyed the way in which Jane modified how she looked to fit in with the other women in the community, never quite finding a way to fit in. I enjoyed the friendships Jane made with some of the neighbours, even if their motives may not always have been so pure.

The Wife Upstairs is a straightforward thriller, where knowledge of Jane Eyre is absolutely unnecessary, and I was kept me guessing right to the very end. The Wife Upstairs will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page, with so many twists and turns that you will wonder if you’re ever going to work it out! This was a strong 5 star book for me.

This was Rachel Hawkins first adult novel, although she is an accomplished and very successful writer of YA books, and I am really looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Many thanks to Harper Collins, Anne Cater, Random Things Tours, and Rachel Hawkins for my invitation to take part in this blog tour. Please check out the other stops on the tour below.

About the author:

Rachel Hawkins is the New York Times bestselling author of multiple books for young readers, and her work has been translated in over a dozen countries. She studied gender and sexuality in Victorian literature at Auburn University and currently lives in Alabama with her husband and son.
The Wife Upstairs is her first adult novel.

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