The Wife Upstairs

St. Martin’s. Jan. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250245496. $27.99. SUSPENSE
In children’s author Hawkins’s first adult novel, Jane is a wanderer. Newly arrived in Birmingham, AL, she walks dogs for the rich and sometimes famous residents of Thornfield Estates. Jane both envies and despises the women she works for. To them, she is invisible. Luckily for Jane, that means they won’t notice her habit of pocketing their jewelry or bother to wonder if Jane is her real name. When Jane meets Eddie, she sees the opportunity of a lifetime. Handsome, rich, and widowed, Eddie Rochester is Jane’s ticket into a normal life. However, the further Jane molds herself to fit into Eddie’s world of wealth and glamour, the more she is tormented by the memory of Bea Rochester. As Jane digs further, the circumstances of Bea’s death start to slowly morph into a complete picture, but not before Jane gets caught in the middle of a battle already raging.
VERDICT 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.
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