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Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Title: The Wife Upstairs

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Year Published: 2021

Category: Adult fiction (mystery)
Pages: 304
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)USA (Alabama)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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?

Review: This is the first book from my "I will read these books in February" pile and it was a good one!

I'll confess that as I was reading this book I thought: the title pretty much tells the reader what's going on and the story is confirming it, with each character being pretty honest about who they are and what they've done. So, why is this a thriller? Then wham! Ah, now I get it. So good, so clever.

Jane is not a character that I liked, meaning I wouldn't want her as a friend necessarily. She steals, doesn't seem to have a lot of ambition, and isn't all that honest, even with the people she cares about. But there is something about her. I wanted her to come clean, to be happy, to figure out who she is. The other characters are also people who would not appeal to me in real life, but in this novel, they work well. Everyone is hiding something, everyone is living a mostly surface life, and they all love to gossip. And gossip causes trouble.

This is a quick read and I was pulled in from the start.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • A to Z--"W"
  • Cloak and Dagger
  • Literary Escapes--Alabama
  • Popsugar--A book published in 2021 

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