Book Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Thank you to Netgalley, Rachel Hawkins and St. Martin's Press for the advanced reader's copy.
I love classics, especially anything written by the Bronte sisters. The Gothic atmosphere, the unreliable characters, the ominous settings...I can't get enough of these stories. So when I saw that this novel was a retelling of Jane Eyre, I could not pass this one up. And, from page one, I was hooked.
The Wife Upstairs tells the story of Jane, a young dog walker who is running from a secret past while trying to make a new life for herself in Alabama. One day, she meets Eddie, a handsome widower whose wife died mysteriously the year before. Jane falls hard and fast for Eddie, becoming wrapped up in the lifestyle of Eddie and his wealthy neighbors. Soon, she finds herself ingratiated into the society of Thornfield Estates. When secrets from Eddie and Jane's pasts begin to surface, the picture perfect life Jane has remade for herself slowly starts crashing down around her.
If you have read the original novel, Jane Eyre, then you will see the twists of this novel coming-you will know where the story is going. However, that does not diminish the enjoyment I had while reading this book. All of the characters were intriguing and fun to follow, and the subtle changes Hawkins made from the original story bring it into the 21st century. Even the side characters, such as Blanche and Tripp, are well-developed and fun to read about. The central mystery is strong, but again, if you have read Jane Eyre, you will be able to predict the ending of the novel. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the characters to the setting to the dialogue. Hawkins writes in a way that is easy to follow and leaves the reader wanting more and more as the progress through the story. I did not want to stop reading!
Overall, this was a great mystery/thriller to begin the new year off with. I knocked off half a star purely because the storyline was predictable, but again, this is because I know the story of Jane Eyre. I would recommend this book to all who love Gothic stories, Jane Eyre, and/or just a fun mystery to get wrapped up in. See for yourself and pick up The Wife Upstairs today!