Saturday, February 20, 2021

Review - The Wife Upstairs

:   The Wife Upstairs
Author:  Rachel Hawkins
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Audiobook ARC
No. of Pages:   290
Date of Publication:   January 5, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

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?


This review could start one of two ways. I could give you the premise and my impressions or I can do what I am doing now. I will tell you that while reading this book, I could not help but think of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier or The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen - both of which I thought were excellent books. 

Now, what was it about The Wife Upstairs that made me ponder over those other titles? Well, Jane is a dog-walker in a gated community. The community is rather elite and the women are quite snobbish. Jane definitely does not fit in, but meeting Eddie Rochester is about to change her life. She just might be able to become one of them. 

Eddie has a story that he would not rather have to tell. His wife and her best friend have disappeared and is is assumed both women drowned. What is more is that a shroud of guilt is hanging over Eddie's neck. Nonetheless, Eddie and Jane hit it off and the two become a couple. However, Jane is constantly reminded of Eddie's previous wife Bea. She was an icon of sorts. For one thing, Jane often feels that the women in the community are constantly comparing her to Bea. Then there is Eddie. Something is not quite right, especially when she is fighting for his heart, knowing how much he loved and misses Bea every single day.

So Jane changes her appearance, her dialogue and inserts herself into every aspect of Eddie's life and the community. Will it be enough? Meanwhile, there is something eerie going on. Chilling actually, and that is the point when the previously mentioned titles came to my mind.

However, this book has its own edge, its own level of creepiness, deceit and mystery. As a matter of fact, the blurb alludes to a love triangle. Why is that? Well, you would have to read this chilling book by Rachel Hawkins so that you can get that answer. I would have loved to give this book five stars, but the conclusion threw me. Even so, this was a twisty read, filled with a variety of characters, many rather unlikable at best. The plot and its twists were rather captivating and definitely caught me by surprise. 

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review.  This is my honest opinion.


Rachel Hawkins was born in Virginia and raised in Alabama. This means she uses words like "y'all" and "fixin'" a lot, and considers anything under 60 degrees to be borderline Arctic. Before deciding to write books about kissing and fire (and sometimes kissing while on fire), Rachel taught high school English for 3 years, and is still capable of teaching you The Canterbury Tales if you're into that kind of thing.

She is married to a geologist, which means that they have incredibly strange dinner conversations ("So today at work, I wrote a chapter where killer fog, like, ATE PEOPLE." "Huh. Well, I was chased by an angry reindeer while trying to map parts of Norway." "Um...okay.")

Rachel also has a little boy whose main hobbies are playing video games, running around in circles, and plotting his Future Intergalactic Take-Over.

When not writing books, Rachel enjoys reading, travelling, and knitting (very terribly.)


  1. I keep meaning to read this one but want to read Jane Eyre first.

  2. I have this one on my cloud - your review has me wanting to get to it

  3. There seems to be a thing about gated communities in books at the moment. Until recently I didn't even know they existed. Great review, book sounds fab.

  4. The Wife Upstairs sounds like a great read. My kind of book.

  5. loved you review; and the title had already caught my attention when i saw it earlier