The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, 3.5 Stars

It’s raining out. Which is good for my soul. It’s not as good for my dog’s soul. She sits on the top of the couch, just like a cat, with her head in her paws, staring woefully out the front window. It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. Except it means I am totally justified to sit on the couch with a book.

It seems like all the big books come out in the fall. In general, it’s because of Christmas. Because if you are a big name author you are going to get all the sales that fall leading up to the holiday where we are all clamoring for ideas for what to buy people. It’s insane. Mindless spending just so you don’t show up empty handed.

But I propose…maybe it’s because fall brings out the bookworm in all of us? Yes, we all read a lot in the summer too. But a summer book is light to enjoy on a sunny afternoon at the pool. It’s easy to pick up and set down. Because summer is busy.

Fall brings the meat and potatoes of books. These are the ones we dig into. We chew every sentence and really lose ourselves in a book. Because there’s really nothing else to do but maybe watch football. I’ve actually been know to read WHILE watching football. I can keep one eye on the game but not feel like that 3 hours was a complete waste of time.

Just me? Well, this has been deep thoughts. And here’s a review.

From the Publisher:

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?

My Review:

Jane is kind of an enigma. She comes from a troubled past, and she is clearly trying to improve her life. But you know when you are cheering for a character to rise above their past because they are so likeable? This is not that. There’s really not much that is likeable about Jane.

So when she meets Eddie as a neighborhood dog walker and he seems too good to be true, it’s kind of exciting. But also, I wasn’t super invested in him. But still, the deeper we delve into Eddie’s life with his dead wife, things do start to get very interesting. Eddie’s wife Bea had a very interesting love/hate relationship with her best friend. Was it so dysfunctional it killed them both?

But I digress. So, after Jane meets Eddie, she is able to transform herself from the neighborhood dog walker into one of the residents herself. Well, kind of. Because she still kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. Still, the closer she gets to everyone, the more she starts to learn about Eddie’s past. But she doesn’t think too much about it at the beginning.

And….I’m going to stop there. Because spoilers. The Wife Upstairs is pretty standard as far as quick read thrillers go. I definitely think there were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming and I did love some of the characters who felt very different from those in similar stories.

I recommend this one as a thriller that holds up for anyone who mass consume thrillers in the vein of A Woman in the Window, Girl on a Train, In a Dark, Dark Wood and all the rest of them!

Special thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out January 5, 2021. Pre-order your copy.


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