Book Review: The Wife Upstairs

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS | Rachel Harrison
01.05.2021 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5 stars


Meet Jane. She has just arrived in Birmingham, Alabama and is looking to make a new start. Luck has brought her into dog walking in a gated community, Thornfield Estates, filled with McMansions and bored housewives. It’s the kind of place where Jane can pocket a piece of jewelry or tchotchke without anyone noticing. Things start to look up for Jane when she meets Eddie Rochester, the neighborhood’s most mysterious resident and recent widow. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies never recovered. As Eddie and Jane fall for each other, Jane can’t shake the haunting feeling Bea left behind. Jane must decide if she can look beyond the ghost of Eddie’s former wife and move forward in her relationship.

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS is a modern day retelling of JANE EYRE that perfectly embraces the atmospheric suspense of the classic story, while shifting into a current timeline. As a massive fan of JANE EYRE, I have to tell you, I was a bit apprehensive when I heard about this book, but decided to take the chance. What I found was quite impressive despite already being aware of the path the story would ultimately take.

How does one bring JANE EYRE into 2021? Well to start they must find the most dramatic, Southern, wealthy neighborhood filled with a cast straight off of one of those real housewives shows. Holy cringeworthy! In comparison to this crowd, the reader instantly likes Jane despite knowing she’s not being completely honest with the reader about her past. I loved the juxtaposition between the two worlds and how Jane finds herself acclimating to her new surroundings. 

The setting and the cast are in my opinion the strength of THE WIFE UPSTAIRS. As a long time thriller reader and fan of the classic this book is based on, I was able to put a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together ahead of them happening. In no way did I feel this was a negative, but I do think the element of surprise would be stronger for someone else. 

Overall, I was very impressed with THE WIFE UPSTAIRS and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a domestic thriller to read! 

Bonus: This book is excellent on audio!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

A huge thank you to for my gifted audio copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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