Monday, January 4, 2021

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins


I spent the New Year's weekend starting four different books and waiting for one (or more) to grab me and not let go. The Wife Upstairs was the winner! It's a quick read, and the plot loosely based on Jane Eyre gave me some idea of what to expect, although there was a twist ending to this thriller. 

I'll start out by saying I didn't like one person in this whole novel. Not one. Jane is new to Alabama, and all you really know about her is that she was in foster homes for most of her life, and now she's landed a job as a dog walker in the expensive gated community of Thornfield Estates. Jane steals bits and bobbles from the people she works for-after all, she's barely making a living, and they have so much they don't miss what she takes and pawns for extra money.

 One day, she meets Eddie, the enigmatic and handsome man who lives in Thornfield Estates and recently lost his wife in a boating incident. Bea and her friend Blanche were on a boat together one evening drinking, and the next morning, neither was anywhere to be found. Both presumed drowned in the lake. Neither body has been found. Bea owned Southern Manor, a wildly successful lifestyle business that made her a multi-millionaire many times over. Now Eddie has that business to run, as well as his own construction business. 

Jane sees an opportunity-Eddie could be the answer to her money problems. She just wants to not worry about money for once. The ladies of Thornfield Estates aren't impressed with Jane-after all, she was their dog walker. And she's only Eddie's girlfriend, not his wife. She doesn't count. 

Then things get weird. Bea makes an appearance, and holy heck she's not dead, but very much alive. I can't tell you where she is, or how she got there, but the novel moves from Jane's point of view to Bea's, too. Bits and pieces about Bea and Eddie's life together start to muddy the waters; Jane doesn't know who to believe-Eddie or Blanche's grieving husband, Tripp, who is under suspicion in the disappearance of Bea and Blanche. You'll be ping-ponging all over the place, trying to get a firm grasp on who to believe, what to believe. Caring a little bit about Jane and her safety, but also being wary of her-she's an opportunist, after all. 

I enjoyed this thriller. It definitely kept me reading, wondering how it would all play out, and what was really the truth. Kind of the perfect book to read at the beginning of 2021, right? Who knows how the year will go?

Rachel Hawkins writes young adult novels, and this is her first adult novel. I'd certainly read some of her previous works, and look forward to more thrillers from her in the future. Anyone who enjoys contemporary "marriage noir" novels will want to add this to their TBR list. 

Rating: 4/6 for a domestic thriller that is based on Jane Eyre. For all those who wonder, could there have been another ending for Jane? A twisty, turn-y novel that will have you trying to figure out who to believe with a cast of characters that all have motives and reasons to lie. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

No comments :

Post a Comment