Tag Archives: Fave Reads

Review: The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs
By Rachel Hawkins
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250245496, January 5, 2021, 304pp.

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

This is the perfect read for now. Quick, impossible to put down and some twists for good measure.

The Rest of It:

Jane’s life has been less than luxurious. As a product of the foster care system, she is skeptical, guarded and envious of those who have it easier. Scraping pennies to get by and forced to live with a roommate she truly cannot stand, she finds a job walking dogs in a ritzy neighborhood. Jane is not much of an animal lover but she is fascinated by the McMansions in this community and the people who live in them. The women, all rich and well-taken care of, have no idea what it’s like to not make the rent. Jane wonders what it would be like to be one of them.

Jane’s fascination with these women leads her to Eddie who is recently widowed. His wife Bea went missing in a boating accident with her best friend Blanche. Bea was eventually declared dead even though they never found her body because in order for Eddie to take over her home decor business her death had to be legally noted. Eddie lives alone in his big, beautiful house but when he sees Jane walking the neighbor’s dog there is a little spark. A spark that prompts him to get his own dog so that Jane can walk his dog too. The two find an instant connection but Jane senses something more there.

Eddie’s wife has only been gone for a short while and since many of the ladies in the neighborhood were good friends with Bea and Blanche, they can’t help but be skeptical over this new, young woman in Eddie’s life but Jane is determined to be one of them and when Eddie provides free use of his credit card, she begins to find her way in.

It all sounds very superficial but it’s superficial in the way those rich housewives shows are. Juicy and full of gossipy goodness. Jane is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but as the story unfolds, you quickly begin to realize that something much darker is at play and it’s good, very good. I picked this book up and didn’t put it down until I turned the last page.

It’s being called a modern retelling of Jane Eyre which I find interesting. I didn’t see it as that myself but it was juicy and twisty in all the right places and perfect for my mood. Very entertaining.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Miss Benson’s Beetle

Miss Benson's Beetle

Miss Benson’s Beetle
By Rachel Joyce
Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9780812996708, November 2020, 368pp.

The Short of It:

What a treat. Fans of Joyce won’t be disappointed.

The Rest of It:

Margery Benson is a schoolteacher in 1950’s London, and not a very good one at that. She can barely get by,  is harassed by her own students and isn’t comfortable in her own skin. Pushed to her limit after a particularly bad day in the classroom, she takes off on an expedition to New Caledonia in search of a rare golden beetle that her father once told her about.

But first, she needs an assistant. The last person she had in mind for the job is the one who eventually shows up to take it. Enid Pretty, with her shock of yellow hair, her cotton candy pink suit and her pom pom sandals trots into Margery’s life and from day one is a major annoyance. But Margery is pressed for time as her ship is about to leave the port and she knows she can’t do it alone, so Enid is it.

What a charming story. Although the expedition is a little far-fetched, I found myself hanging on every word as these two take off on their adventure. Two, very headstrong, quirky women traveling to the other side of the world with little to no experience under their belts. This makes for a very entertaining read but it’s not all fun and games. Very early on you are tipped off that something larger is at play. This is one of those stories that you can’t put down because it’s so fun and quirky and yes, different but you know, you just know there is going to be a serious payout. That was definitely the case here.

Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine would do well by picking this book up. It has the same tone and feel and the way this friendship develops is quite sweet. Overall, it’s a feel-good book although there are two things that happen that made me a little sad. Those who have read it know what I mean. However, don’t let that stop you because I wish I still had more of the story to read. It’s that kind of story. I’ve read two other books by this author, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Music Shop and I loved them as well. Joyce knows how to write a good story.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.