The Wife Upstairs
Longtime readers know I'm a sucker for a classic retelling. Jane Austen is my usual catnip, but I'm glad I took a chance on this updated Jane Eyre, set in contemporary Birmingham, Alabama, in the Thornfield Estates neighborhood of Mountain Brook. In Hawkins's version, Jane becomes a dog-walker with a troubled past she'd prefer to keep hidden, Bertha the owner of a Southern home and fashion empire that put me in mind of Draper James, and Eddie the handsome, grieving widower looking to rebuild his life after tragedy—or so he says. A dark kind of fun.
“Compulsively readable…a gothic thriller laced with arsenic.” ––EW
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021: CNN • Newsweek • Vulture • PopSugar • TimeOut • Woman’s Day • Goodreads • She Reads • Good Housekeeping • CrimeReads • Frolic • Hello! • Mystery and Suspense
January 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, 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?