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The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

A rich man whose wife went missing under suspicious circumstances. A girl on the run living under a stolen identity. A wealthy neighborhood in the South. The Wife Upstairs sure does have all the makings of a great domestic psychological thriller, doesn't it? (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


In the following article, I've answered many of the most frequently asked questions about the book, as well as provided a list of five books like The Wife Upstairs to add to your reading list next. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

What is the Book The Wife Upstairs About?

In one wealthy Alabama suburb, two women have gone missing and are presumed dead. But Jane doesn't know that when she meets the handsome widow Eddie Rochester. She doesn't see any potential danger, only an opportunity to live the kind of life she dreamed of back when she was a foster kid. Before long though, the secrets of Eddie and Jane's past bubble to the surface and threaten their idyllic suburban life.


Is The Wife Upstairs Scary?

No, I wouldn't say The Wife Upstairs is an outright scary book. However, it is a domestic psychological thriller, which means that I can get a bit creepy and unsettling at times.


How Long Does It Take to Read The Wife Upstairs?

It will take the average reader approximately 4 hours and 29 minutes to read The Wife Upstairs, according to How Long to Read.


Who is the Narrator in The Wife Upstairs?

The Wife Upstairs is told from a dual POV, so it switches between Jane and Bea until the end, where a few chapters are narrated by Eddie.


Is The Wife Upstairs based on Jane Eyre?

Even though I'm an English major, I've admittedly never read Jane Eyre. I haven't even watched a movie based on it. So, I totally missed the fact that, yes, The Wife Upstairs is "a Southern Gothic twist on Jane Eyre."


Who Is the Killer in The Wife Upstairs?

Bea Rochester is the killer in The Wife Upstairs. She murdered her mother and her best friend, Blanche. Her husband, Eddie, found out and instead of turning her in to the police, imprisoned her in the panic room he installed in their home.


What Happened in Jane's Past?

Jane's real name is Helen Burns. She tried to get her foster parents to take her foster sister, Jane Bell, to the hospital but they didn't and she died from pneumonia shortly after. So, when her foster father suffered a heart attack, Jane (aka Helen) refused to help him and let him die. She then assumed the identity of Jane Bell and escaped Phoenix.


How Does the Book The Wife Upstairs End?

After finding Bea's book in Eddie's jacket, Jane discovers the panic room and frees Bea. Shortly after when Eddie returns home, Jane knocks him unconscious by hitting him on the head and the women lock him in the panic room. As they plan what to do next, Eddie sets a fire in the panic room that spreads and burns the house down. Jane survives the fire and because Eddie is presumed dead by police, she inherits Eddie and Bea's fortune, sells the company, and moves to North Carolina. Jane does not believe Bea and Eddie died in the fire though; she believes they escaped and are together somewhere.


5 Books Like The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

If you're looking for another book like The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, then the good news is you have options. Literally - there are hundreds of domestic psychological thrillers out there to choose from. Of those, here are five that I've hand-selected that remind me of The Wife Upstairs in some way or another.


Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

1. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

If you thought the Eddie-Bea-Jane love triangle was complicated, just wait until you read Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. This book is on a whole other level. It's about a couple who take a trip to the remote Scottish Highlands hoping to save their marriage. But when they arrive strange things begin to happen, a mysterious neighbor appears, and the secrets that the couple has been hiding threaten to come out.


Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

2. Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

I read The Wife Upstairs and Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier back-to-back and as I did, I couldn't stop thinking about how similar the two felt. While the murders and twists are quite different, it was the female leads that had the most in common as both were ex-foster children living under assumed identities and trying to hide the dark secrets of their pasts. So, if you found that angle in The Wife Upstairs interesting, then I strongly suggest checking out Things We Do in the Dark.


The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

3. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

With a wealthy couple with marriage problems, a nosy neighbor with a pair of binoculars, and a spooky lake setting, I personally think that The House Across the Lake has the potential to be another intriguing domestic psychological thriller like The Wife Upstairs. However, the GoodReads reviews are mixed. Some readers liked how fast-paced it was and found it incredibly hard to put down, while others are tired of the "traumatized alcoholic female spying on a glamorous couple across the way" trope. Personally, I'm not tired of it and think it's worth a shot!


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

4. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

If you enjoyed the love-triangle element in The Wife Upstairs, then The Wife Between Us sounds like an incredibly promising next read. Just read this description and tell me you aren't totally intrigued: "You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing."


Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

5. Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

Even though Claire Douglas' psychological thriller, Just Like the Other Girls, isn't about a married couple, it felt similar to The Wife Upstairs in other ways. It's about a young woman who takes a job caring for a difficult and wealthy elderly woman. However, once she moves in, she discovers that the two women who held the job before her went missing under suspicious circumstances. What happened to them? Is she safe? Could she be next? All of this reminded me of Jane's situation when she moved into Eddie's house.

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