Primary Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Domestic Suspense
Published: 5 Jan 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
Page count: 304 (print length)
My Format: eBook via NetGalley
Pacing: Really Good
Do I Recommend: Yes
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Wife Upstairs
My rating: ★★★★☆
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?
This book has had some major marketing! One cannot scroll through WordPress or Instagram without seeing something about this book. I tend to avoid a lot of overly hyped books, but the comparison of this one to Jane Eyre piqued my interest so I had to read it. Here are my pros and cons for The Wife Upstairs:
- This Jane is definitely not Jane Eyre! She is cunning, conniving, independent, and full of secrets – the polar opposite of Jane Eyre actually! I liked the differences.
- I think I loved and hated every character in this book in equal measure. Jane, Bea, Blanche, Eddie, Tripp, John, the snobby ladies in the neighborhood… all of them were either horrible or likeable for various reasons. I actually liked this because the emotional roller coaster of being annoyed or mad at a character and then liking or rooting for that same character keeps me involved in the story.
- The book is an easy read. The plot isn’t complicated, the pacing is fantastic, and I plowed right through it.
- I like the past and present narrative. It worked well to flesh out the story and was easy to follow.
- I thought the characterizations were solid. I don’t think I would have loved/hated the characters if they weren’t.
- It was an interesting study of how people in certain demographics/categories (i.e., class, wealth, past histories, address) relate to each other and how people in some of those categories believe they have special rights, privileges, or even control over others.
- The twist is pretty good. I started to suspect some things, but I didn’t fully see it coming. Kudos for that.
- While perhaps a little convenient and abrupt, the ending was good.
- Ultimately, the Jane Eyre comparison is weak in my opinion. Besides a couple of names, a wife upstairs, and a girl with no parents, the similarities between the two stories are slim.
- The love affair between Jane and Eddie was too fast and unrealistic, but understandably necessary for the plot to work.
- I wanted more about Jane’s past. We got some backstory and some resolutions to certain situations, but I still felt like something was missing there.
- Serious overuse of the F-word. I just don’t think that is necessary and other words do exist that can be used instead.
- There was a hateful and divisive comment in the book about a character’s political affiliation. There is already enough hate in this world regarding politics, so I didn’t like seeing it in a book I was enjoying.
I’m not sure I completely agree with the hype over this book. But I do think it was a good, but mild, thriller with a decent twist, and I am glad I read it. For me this was a 3.5 star book, but I always round up… so 4 stars from me.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ebook, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Wife Upstairs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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