The Wife Upstairs: A Novel
Jane Eyre gets a modern twist in this story about a young woman running from her troubled past straight into the arms of the wealthy and charming Eddie Rochester. Our lead Jane channels Jane Eyre in her enigmatic role, never really giving us much insight about who she is (or once was) yet still skillfully leading us through the mystery of Eddie and the disappearance of his wife, Bea. As Jane becomes more engrained in Eddie’s life, and the small Southern community where they live, she starts to wonder if Eddie really is whom he says he is.
I was particularly hopeful this homage to a classic would also mean that it would be a little more sophisticated than most of its thriller contemporaries. Unfortunately, the story failed to meet those expectations. Knowing the plot of Jane Eyre makes it harder to be convinced by red herrings, but I still felt that a central problem with this novel is that this Jane lacked the amiability that makes Jane Eyre so beloved. The Wife Upstairs tries to differentiate itself by giving us insight into Bea, but we learn about her through disjointed text with no clear narrator.
My criticism is likely harsher here because of my love of the original tale. I had high hopes for it to be more than just a mindless thriller. But in the end, that’s what it was. Ultimately, that’s fine with me — I still devoured it in the span of just a few hours, putting off more important matters so that I could finish it, and really that’s the hallmark of a good read.
|St. Martin's Press
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller