In another installment of “ARCs I Should Have Reviewed Literally Years Ago,” we have The Wife Upstairs. I loved Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, so I was excited to see an adult novel from her. In the interest of full disclosure, I have never read Jane Eyre, nor do I really know what it’s about aside from the most basic plot summary, so I can’t comment too much on the retelling aspect of this book and I’ll be looking at it just on its own merits.
And, on its own merits, it was good. Not great, but definitely good. I was hooked from the beginning and wondered how Jane, having grown up poor and in abusive situations, was going to assimilate into this culture of super rich women whose biggest concern is the landscaping of their neighborhood. As Jane seems to effortlessly transform into your stereotypical rich housewife, it also becomes clear that there’s a lot more than just landscaping problems going on in this neighborhood. There’s a thread of unease that starts running through her interactions with the once perfect Eddie, and then there’s the whole unsolved mystery of Eddie’s wife Bea’s disappearance.
The book is told from both Jane’s and Bea’s perspective, which provides a lot of tension as we’re just waiting for Jane to catch on to what’s really happening. There are a lot of twists and turns as we get to the ending, some of which I liked and others that I felt were a little over the top. Again, I have not read Jane Eyre so I’m not sure how much of that was inspiration from the original and how much was brand new from the author’s imagination, so I’m not really sure how judgy to be about some of those twists.
Overall, this was a really fun book. though I can’t say I 100% loved this book, I flew through it and it made me want to go read some of Rachel Hawkins’ backlist.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free ARC of The Wife Upstairs in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Wife Upstairs? What’s your favorite modern retelling?
Let’s talk in the comments!