St. Martin's Press, 2021
Crime Fiction/Thriller; 304 pgs
This novel was every bit the enjoyable read as everyone told me it would be. It was the winner of my February 2021 poll, and it did not disappoint. Touted as a modern Jane Eyre re-telling with a twist, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins certainly has several parallels to the original Charlotte Bronte novel, but it is also a very different novel that stands well on its own--so you don't have to be a fan or to have read the Classic to appreciate and enjoy The Wife Upstairs.
Jane Bell grew up in foster care and is trying to escape her past. She has a plan and she is determined to do what it takes to get what she wants. She has found her way into the Thornfield Estates in Alabama, a wealthy gated community, where she walks dogs for the bored housewives who have better things to do--like shop and plan charity events. No one notices the little things that disappear when Jane is around--an earring here or there, perhaps a watch or a bracelet. And no one ever questions whether Jane is who she says she is.
Jane finds exactly what she is looking for when she runs into the recently widowed Eddie Rochester--or rather, he almost runs into her with his car. Eddie is everything Jane wants. Rich, single, and available. The two hit it off immediately and one thing leads to another. Jane's plan is working perfectly. But she is haunted by the memory of Bea, Eddie's wife, who seemed almost too good to be true, a rags to riches story, well-liked and well-loved. And then there are the questions surrounding her disappearance and death. She and her friend had died in a boating accident. It was an accident, right?
I know I am not supposed to like any of the characters--they all are rather pretentious and self-centered, but I could not help but like Jane. Perhaps it was sympathy for all she'd been through as a child, but I also liked her grit and perseverance. There was a naivety about her, just the same. Especially when you stand her up next to the charming and polish of other characters in the novel. I also kind of liked Eddie, ever so charming and yet not quite hiding a strong approach-with-caution vibe underneath it all.
I did not want want to put this novel down; it was such a fun read. It doesn't take itself too seriously either, which I think is part of its charm. Even when I suspected the direction the novel would go, whether I was right or wrong, I enjoyed finding out every step of the way. And I loved the ending. I was not sure how everything would turn out, but it felt right for the story Hawkins was telling us.
Challenges Met: Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge & Winter COYER
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Thanks for the great review! I've always enjoyed Jane Eyre retellings more than the original so I feel like I will enjoy this!ReplyDelete
Eustacia - I hope you enjoy this if you give it a try.Delete
Great review! I really liked this one too and agree that you don't need to have read Jane Eyre to thoroughly enjoy this twisty tale. It was fun to see the little shout outs to the classic here and there but it definitely stands on its own without those references.ReplyDelete
Suzanne - I am glad to hear you enjoyed it too. It was a fun read. :-)Delete
I just finished this one yesterday and what a wild ride even though very far-fetched LOLReplyDelete
Diane - Yes, but so good. :-)Delete
I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I agree, all the characters are difficult to like, but I still ripped through this book.ReplyDelete
Helen - Me too! It was a quick read. I didn't want to put it down.Delete
I'm glad you loved this. I'm definitely planning on reading it at some point!ReplyDelete
Tammy - I hope you enjoy it when you read it!Delete
My comment submitted by accident. Ooof. Wasn't it fun? I mean, I knew by the title that something was up but it was still fun even though like Diane said, it was a little far-fetched.ReplyDelete
Ti - Far-fetched, but I expected that going in. It was a fun read.Delete
Your review totally makes me want to read this one! :DReplyDelete
Lark - I hope you get a chance to.Delete
Fantastic review! I'd like to try this one. I've seen good reviews for it.ReplyDelete
Anne - Books of My Heart
Anne - Thank you! I hope you like it if you give it a chance.Delete
I've been wondering about this book and am glad to hear you enjoyed it, Wendy. I'll definitely keep a look out for this book.ReplyDelete
Melody - I really enjoyed it. :-)Delete
I keep going back and forth on how I feel about this one, but I definitely agree with you about Jane - her life was tough and it was easy to have sympathy for her, even if I did not like her - or anyone - all that much. Great review!ReplyDelete
Sarah - Thank you! It makes for a good escape read.Delete
This book sounds great. I have to add it to my wishlist. Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
Yvonne - I hope you like it when you read it!Delete
Definitely one I'd like to pick up. I'm glad you saw the spunky side of Jane and could like her when there weren't others to like and glad the story was so absorbing.ReplyDelete
Sophia Rose - Thanks! I hope you enjoy if it you give it a try.Delete
Great review Wendy! So glad to hear you liked this one. I've had this on my radar but then it's been quite hyped and I always get a bit hesitant but sounds like I'm going to enjoy it! And, I think that is such a great cover.ReplyDelete
Iliana - Sometimes hype has that effect on me too. If you do read it, I hope you will like it.Delete
Nice picks! Hope you enjoy them when you get to them!ReplyDelete
Laura - Thank you!Delete