Get ready for a lightning-fast read with familiar characters in an altogether unfamiliar setting ... Rachel Hawkins has taken great liberties in modernizing this tale of a tragic love triangle, but even if you aren't familiar with the original story, it's believable and irritatingly possible even in modern times. The author issues a warning: This nightmare could still happen ... With all of its nods to the original work, it's a good nail-biter today and worth sticking with until the end.
A clever, modern-day thriller that uses Charlotte Brontë’s novel as its jumping-off point but quickly heads into darker territory ... Here, Jane’s story is both thoroughly satisfying and consistently surprising, right to the novel’s final pages. Obviously those who are Jane Eyre fans already will delight the most in the little Easter eggs that Hawkins sprinkles throughout the book. However, The Wife Upstairs also stands on its own as a gothic-tinged thriller, one where bright colors, big hair and perfect manners hide more than a few dark secrets.
A fun, exciting, page turner that has been rightfully billed as a 21st century Jane Eyre twisted into a domestic thriller ... While our story begins from Jane’s perspective, Hawkins flips the script (more than once) and switches up who we the reader get each section of the story from. We get a lot more information this way, as opposed to having everything come from only one character, but at the same time we get a much more personal view of the story, including tons of neighbourhood gossip, than we would if the entire story were told through a third person omniscient narrator. This storytelling device works perfectly in The Wife Upstairs and will keep you glued to the pages.
With an even darker twist, this novel delivers a one-of-a-kind take on a well-known gothic tale. In addition to the suspenseful story line, the distorted love triangle and the impassivity of the Thornfield residents will have readers feeling simultaneously discombobulated and fulfilled. Recommended for all library mystery collections.
... like rubbernecking in real time at a multi-car pile-up on the interstate. I couldn’t look away from the impending devastation ... Although I enjoyed picking out the parallels between The Wife Upstairs and its models and referents, the novel is not literary per se. It’s a thrill ride. The pace is hurtling, largely due to the book’s short, action-packed chapters. Although Hawkins’ Jane is rather unlikeable, and although it is difficult to understand what first attracted Eddie to her, she is delightfully snarky. Written in the present tense, the story feels imminent. I admired Hawkins’ deft handling of multiple points of view ... I felt implicated, dubious, off-kilter as I navigated this elaborate masque of a story ... Particularly intriguing, however, was the deeper layer of meaning underlying Hawkins’ tale and the shenanigans of her characters. She seems to be exploring what happens when both women and men, due to past trauma or to a desperate need to acquire and have, lack any true sense of self. What do they appropriate — and who do they step on to appropriate it — in an effort to make themselves whole?
Hawkins twists together the suspense and storytelling of Jane Eyre with the atmosphere, tension, and odd characters of a Southern-gothic novel into a tale of a young woman trying to escape her past ... The bleak setting provides the appropriate mood to each of Jane’s discoveries, leading to well-plotted surprises that may not be entirely shocking, especially for fans of Charlotte Brontë’s work. First-person narration by Jane allows for a slow reveal of her past, and occasional perspectives from other characters provide clues to their motivations. An altogether sinister novel that will make readers of Jennifer McMahon, Ruth Ware, and Donna Tartt shudder.
... spirited ... Hawkins shows real wit in outsider Jane’s sharp-eyed take on the entitled ladies of Thornfield Estates, but the mercenarily motivated characters will put off some readers. Nonetheless, this suspenseful domestic thriller will keep readers turning the pages.