cover image The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs

Rachel Hawkins. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-24549-6

YA author Hawkins (Her Royal Highness) makes her adult debut with this spirited reboot of Jane Eyre. Shortly after starting to walk dogs in tony Thornfield Estates, a gated community in Birmingham, Ala., the penniless young woman calling herself Jane meets dashing recent widower Eddie Rochester—whose wealthy wife, Bea Mason, went missing and was presumed drowned in a boating mishap, along with her BFF Blanche Ingraham, six months earlier. Sparks fly, but plain Jane has a tough time living up to the legend of the glamorous Bea, who created the Southern Manors lifestyle brand. Then Blanche’s body is found, and it’s clear from the massive skull fracture that her death was no accident. As the police reopen their probe, an increasingly concerned Jane starts investigating Bea’s fate and what part, if any, Eddie played. 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. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Jan.)