Review | The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

“I hear the car before I see it, but even then, I don’t move, and later, I’d look back at that moment and wonder if I somehow knew what was going to happen. If everything in my life had been leading me to that one spot, to that one house. To him.” 3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: best friends, blackmail, magnolias, diamond earrings, decor, panic rooms, dog-walkers, boats, expensive lamps, committees, books and pity parties.

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?

Originally I was going to give this 3 stars, but I thought about it for a few days and I decided it doesn’t deserve them, so I’m lowering my rating. I’m very disappointed with this book. It was one of the books I was most excited to read this year and it turned out to be a flop.

There were so many things I didn’t like about this book, but the worst was definitely the main character, Jane. Oh my God. I can’t even express how much I hated her – and trust me, it takes a lot for me to feel this strongly about a character. She was manipulative, selfish, envious, petty and to top it all off, a thief. And not the kind of thief who steals because they need it. No. She did it because she could, basically. She hated rich people so she stole from them because she was jealous of their lifestyle and that was her way of getting back (like that makes any sense). But the worst part is that at some point she was trying to please them and she admitted she wanted to be one of them – but she still hated them? Girl… you need Dr. Phil. I truly didn’t like her, but I was willing to forget about her if the rest of the book was good. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

The story was not interesting and was full of flaws, and the mystery was weak. The plot was a bit predictable (at least part of it) and to be honest, nothing interesting ever happened.

I think the writing overall was okay, but there are times when the author changes to the POV of one of the characters, and in the same chapters she would go back and forth in time and it got a bit confusing to keep up.

And that ending. The ending was just the nail in the coffin for me. I obviously can’t say too much about the ending, but I felt like the conclusion to this story was lacking and unsatisfactory in a lot of ways.

In conclusion: I really don’t understand the hype. I think part of the popularity this book got is because of the new cover, because it truly is beautiful. But to be completely honest, there are too many good thrillers/mysteries out there waiting for you to pick them up… don’t even bother with this one.


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