The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Publication Date: January 5th 2021 by Macmillan Audio & St. Martin's Press
Audio Book Length: 8 hrs 39 min
Narrators: Emily Shaffer, Kirby Heyborne & Lauren Fortgang
Source: St. Martin's Press & Libro.fm
Link: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Libro.fm | Goodreads
Jane is a woman scraping by in life, hungry for more and not afraid to take advantage of others to get it. Being raised in the foster system, she’s had to become a bit ruthless to get by. Jane finds a seemingly perfect way into the charmed life she longs for in Eddie Rochester. He’s recently lost his wife, Bea, in what’s reported as a boating accident, but the circumstances are questionable at best. Eddie seems sad and lonely, a sort of kindred spirit to Jane. With all her mercenary qualities, Jane is a lonely woman, who’s never fit in or felt wanted.
Most of the characters, like the rich housewives in Thornfield Estates and John Rivers, Jane’s foster acquaintance, are unlikeable. Even Jane isn’t especially sympathetic, especially since instead of trying to get ahead by improving herself, she uses and manipulates others. Very different from the original Jane Eyre who through hard work and a strong character became an accomplished woman, able to provide for herself. I think that, along with the “romance” were the biggest disappointments to me. But I think that’s on me because I love the original Jane Eyre so much, I have certain expectations whenever I pick up a retelling. I was rooting for Jane here and did feel sorry for her, because she was dealt a bad hand in life, but so was the original Jane. I’m not sure how I feel about how it all turned out, but I do think it was a sort-of-happy-ending, all things considered.
The Wife Upstairs is a compelling, twisty mystery/thriller that kept me turning the pages to find out how it’d all turn out. Being a retelling some of the story is expected, but it doesn’t follow the original Jane Eyre closely at all. What you think is happening may not be the case and I was surprised in one respect at the end. I think fans of writing like Lisa Jewel or Ruth Ware will definitely enjoy the story, it’s a mystery that keeps you guessing and on edge.
I alternately listened and read the story. Emily Shaffer and Lauren Fortgang fit Jane and Bea’s voices well. I’ve listened to Kirby Heyborne in the past and like the way his voice projects a “good guy” vibe. Was Eddie Rochester a “good guy”? Well, I guess you’d have to read the book to find out, lol. I listened at 1.3x.