The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins Book of the Month hardcover

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genres: Mystery/Thriller
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Book Review

Jane is a broke dog walker working in Birmingham, Alabama’s wealthy gated community Thornfield Estates. No one notices Jane. They don’t notice as she lifts jewelry from their homes. And they certainly don’t care enough to ask if Jane is actually her name. But Jane’s luck changes considerably when she meets recently widowed Eddie Rochester. Eddie’s wife Bea tragically drowned in a boat accident. Jane quickly falls for Eddie and all he has to offer her. But Eddie is hiding a secret of his own. 

The Wife Upstairs is perfectly gothic and atmospheric. Overall it made me feel so anxious and filled me with an overall sense of dread. I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop the entire time I was reading. The story is told in the first person alternating between Jane and Bea. Jane drove me crazy. She constantly seemed to work against her best interests and she made terrible choices. Half the time I just wanted to scream at her to stop being so darn curious and run away! Bea, I could not get a read on. Although the story is based on Jane Eyre, overall it gave me such Rebecca vibes. If Bea was anyone in that story, she would be Rebecca.

Although the story perfectly captured the gothic vibes and truly captivated me, overall I felt it did not live up to the hype. It was a somewhat ridiculous story and I thought the ending was anything but satisfying. If you’re in the mood for an atmospheric page-turner, this is for you. But if you want an overall satisfying thriller, keep looking. 

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the review copy! All opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Goodreads

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?

About the Author

Rachel Hawkins ( was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives with her family in Alabama, and is currently at work on the third book in the Hex Hall series. To the best of her knowledge, Rachel is not a witch, though some of her former students may disagree…


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