Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins


Title: The Wife Upstairs
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 5, 2021

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?

Eddie is safe. Thornfield Estates is safe. You’re safe now.

You know when you have a character that is not a nice one but regardless of the way she thinks about people and how she uses them, you are still (grudgingly) rooting for her? Well, that was Jane for me.

The setting: a southern town in Alabama, Thornfield Estates. A place that is full of mansions, with perfectly manicured lawns and where the women are in shape, wearing too much jewelry and scheduling their next Neighborhood Beautification Committee meeting while alcohol runs freely.

The heroine: Jane, a young woman without means. Currently working as a dog-walker for all the rich neighborhood couples. She is smart, conniving, and deceitful. 

The Hero: Eddie Rochester, a recent widower who's handsome and sexy. Someone who makes the heroine feel safe and wanted. 

The dead wife, Bea: no one can forget the perfect wife who everyone adored now that she is dead. She died in a boating accident with her best friend Blanche.

The Twist: The one thing that prompts me to keep on reading it.

As a huge fan of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, this one was just up my alley. I loved Rachel Hawkins's twisted version of the story.  Many years ago, I read her YA fantasy series and I remember enjoying it but The Wife Upstairs demonstrates that she can venture into the domestic thriller setting any time she wants to.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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