“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?” – Amazon
I do love a good reimagining of stories, and I think Rachel Hawkins does Jane Eyre justice with her book, The Wife Upstairs. You get the gothic tale updated for today’s world and set in an Alabama suburban setting, that in and of itself is creepy. Add to that the intense and twisted love triangle and it makes for a pretty good read… but I wanted a bit more.
I am harder on thrillers and suspense than I used to be when it comes to rating them. I want to be blown away or taken down a dark and terrifying path, not quite to horror, but something that sits with me for days. I kept waffling between giving this three or four stars. And to be honest I may have gone a bit higher because I enjoy her YA series, Hex Hall, and I want more people to read her books.
I want to reiterate that The Wife Upstairs was good and I did enjoy it and many other readers will probably love it, but it felt like a YA novel that just hadn’t reached adulthood yet… which makes sense since Hawkins writes a lot of YA. I wanted her to dig deeper though. To make it more gritty and a bit more disturbing. There were spots that I felt Hawkins could have gotten more ruthless. Jane when she’s dealing with her old roommate, Eddie and his temper, the Housewives of the Suburbs and their gossip or treatment of Jane, and a few more spots, but I don’t want to give you any spoilers.
The ending with how it left things open did amuse me though and this is the other reason why I gave The Wife Upstairs four stars instead of three. Perhaps it’s just because my mind was able to go to the dark side and come up with twisted scenarios of Jane’s future?!
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