The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

I adore Rachel Hawkins. She’s one of my favorite people to follow on social media and the anecdotes she tells of her family and cats make her tweets come alive with joy. It’s easy to forget that written words can have a person behind them, but she makes you feel like you’re part of the family with every post.

The Wife Upstairs is a modern day retelling of Jane Eyre, with a Southern Gothic twist. As someone who never had Jane Eyre on my high school reading list, but Hamlet three separate times, this was my first foray into the story. I’m not entirely sure of the base material, and I wasn’t particularly rooting for any of the characters, but I did enjoy the shifting narratives and descriptive writing Hawkins utilized.

Jane comes to a small town in Alabama looking for a fresh start. She’s a little shifty, not your average heroine, with a hidden backstory and a thing for kleptomania. She gets engaged to the resident hottie in the first third of the book, which means it all goes screwy from there.

The Wife Upstairs was not my favorite book of the summer, but it is perfect gloomy day reading. Hawkins is engaging, smooth, and swift in her storytelling, and you can tell she put her heart into it. I’m looking forward to her next ventures into adult lit, with Reckless Girls and The Ex Hex (or as she aptly describes it, Hocus Pocus but they F).