The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins Book Review
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins Book Review is here. This book is not a book I normally would have picked up myself. I’m grateful for this opportunity to try out books I typically wouldn’t. I usually gravitate towards romance and fantasy but I figured I’d branch out and dip my toes into a mystery/thriller book. The Wife Upstairs is a good book for just that! Also, it’s the first book I have read by this author.
This retelling of Jane Eyre is told mainly from Jane and Bea’s point of view. A small part is told from Eddie’s. Jane grew up in foster care with, not having had the best of experiences. Now, as an adult living in Birmingham, Alabama, she is a broke dogwalker in a gated community filled with rich families. And Jane wants in.
So when she meets Eddie after he almost hits her with his car, she sees this as her golden opportunity. He’s recently widowed, rich, owns a gorgeous home, and most importantly – he can provide her an escape from her past. She can be who she wants to be. Jane and Eddie start their relationship, and it moves rather quickly. Jane even describes it as a whirlwind. But to be viewed as something permanent with the other women of the community, she needs to become his wife.
However, there’s the wife upstairs that needs to be dealt with. This book is full of small-town gossip, drama, the longing to want to fit in, and the fact that no one can be trusted in Thornfield Estates.
Let me start by saying… I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it, either.
This book didn’t feel like a real thriller or mystery novel. In fact, I felt like this book was even trying to be a romance for the first half, filled with a meet-cute, marital problems, new relationships, and some rom-com moments. By the time things started to pick up and feel slightly suspenseful, I found myself ready to be done with the book and not wanting to read anymore. I am one of those people unable to DNF, so I pushed through.
To be honest, I have never read Jane Eyre, so I have no idea how this book did as a retelling of it. Even though I am not familiar with the original story, I still found this book to be rather predictable. There were very few to no things that surprised me. Which I feel is an essential thing in a mystery or thriller. You don’t want things to be too obvious.
However, I liked how this book was written simply. After building up some slight mystery or suspense, the answers were given to you rather quickly. As a reader who typically does not read this genre, that did help. Part of the reason why I don’t love mysteries or thrillers is that it takes way too long for things to play out or be revealed. I end up losing interest or motivation to continue. So those little confirmations and answers being dropped here and there kept me chugging along.
I didn’t love our main character, Jane.
I was hoping for a stronger lead and someone who wouldn’t become one of the other ladies in the community. She kept mentioning how she couldn’t wait to be accepted as Jane. The real Jane. But she spent more time trying to belong with the other women or become Bea that I couldn’t even tell you who the real Jane was.
One thing I did like was how both Jane and Bea didn’t use their real names. I thought that was a fun little thing that connected the two women in Eddie’s life.
I did like Eddie – and I kind of wish this book was told from his POV instead of Jane’s. Throughout the book, some things are said and done that make you think he was involved in his wife’s disappearance. But I also felt that he was a strong and mature character who unfortunately fell in love with the wrong person. Having so much of this book be told from Jane’s POV made the focus less on the actual mystery, and more on her just wanting to belong and escape her dark past.
I found that there were many things that didn’t add up or make sense.
It is why I couldn’t rate this higher. After finishing it, it almost felt like this book was two different stories. They maybe shouldn’t have been in the same book. In my opinion, having this book be told from Eddie’s POV might have helped keep it on track. Despite all that I didn’t like, I enjoyed the plot. It had everything that needed to be a great story, but it wasn’t written or executed well enough.
This wouldn’t be one of my top ten books I’d recommend. However, if you are new to the mystery/thriller genre, then I might recommend this one as a good intro to it. Have you read this book? Comment and let me know!
Learn more about Influencer Carissa G. on our Meet the Influencer page. Also, thank you Berkley Publishing for sending this gifted copy.
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