Title: The Wife Upstairs
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Reviewed by: Michaelene M.
If you’re looking for a creepy, cool take on Jane Eyre, Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs delivers. The novel offers just the right amount of modern gothic to keep readers enthralled in the lives of the bourgeois couples occupying Thornfield Estates.
They’re rich. They’re privileged, and that isn’t something our main character Jane—in all her sarcastic, pessimistic glory—will let readers forget. She’s seen the ugliness of life and is prepared to survive any way she has to. If that requires blending in with a new name and a new career as the unassuming neighborhood dog-walker, then that’s what Jane will do. And if a few baubles or bracelets happen to slip off the wrists of some of her clients, well, it’s not like they’ll notice they’re missing anyway.
Jane’s really good at letting people see what they want and manipulating the situation, after all, and she hasn’t met her match.
Then she meets Eddie Rochester who doesn’t seem to fit in with everyone else in Thornfield Estates. Charming and sly, he offers Jane a new life, and she’s not letting the opportunity slip away. Even if the death of his wife and his wife’s best friend is the talk and speculation of the neighborhood.
Soon, however, things aren’t adding up, and Jane isn’t sure what she’s gotten herself into now.
I listened to the narration, and quite simply, I’d recommend the experience for maximum enjoyment. The narrators slowdown in just the right parts, adding sheer creepiness to the imagery. I even found myself ready to google the events until I realized… “You’re listening to a book!”
Readers of Jane Eyre will find loose parallels to the classic novel and the hidden goose eggs are an absolute delight to uncover, but it’s not necessary to have read it beforehand. Readers will thoroughly enjoy soaking in the mystery and Southern manners of The Wife Upstairs, regardless.
The Wife Upstairs is recommended for fans of fresh, re-takes on classic gothic novels. Best enjoyed with a steaming cup of tea.
The Wife Upstairs is available as an audiobook on the Hoopla Digital Library and as an audiobook or eBook on the Oklahoma Virtual Library. A hold may be placed on the physical copy, which is currently on order at the library.