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The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

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This novel was a Book of the Month Club selection, a “most anticipated book of 2021” selection on at least five lists, and a best of the month selection on at least another five lists. It consciously follows the story line of the novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and sets it in Birmingham, Alabama, where the author lives. This is the first trade novel by Rachel Hawkins after ten very successful years as a Young Adult novelist creating books she characterizes as “paranormals and romances.”  She calls The Wife Upstairs, a “thriller.” The protagonist is a young lady named, yes, Jane, who is a dog-walker from the wrong side of the tracks whose clientele comes from Thornfield Estates, a fancy gated community. One of her clients is Eddie Rochester whose wife, Bea, a rags-to-riches legend, recently perished in a boating accident.   "A Southern Gothic twist on Jane Eyre that’s full of suspense, twists and turns...the story of this twisted love triangle will have you on the edge of your seat all the way until the end." ––CNN. “A delightfully surprising and suspenseful twist on Jane Eyre."––Newsweek. “Read to find out whether either of them can ever escape their secrets, or if their forbidden tryst is doomed to failure.” ––Good Housekeeping. "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."––Library Journal. The Wife Upstairs is everything I’d hoped--sharp, smart, tricky and fast-paced. Rachel Hawkins’ debut thriller puts you in the steps of an outsider, an insider, and an imposter, but which is which? You won’t know til you’re up way too late turning the final pages." ––Kelly Harms.

New York: St. Martin’s, 2021. 290 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.