The Wife Upstairs
By Rachel Hawkins. (St. Martin's Press, 304 pages, $27.99.)
Get ready for a lightning-fast read with familiar characters in an altogether unfamiliar setting.
This suspenseful homage to Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre" is a modern retelling of the classic gothic novel. Yes, we have a Jane. We have a Mr. Rochester. And it is set in a gated community that you will recognize from the old English manor of the same name.
Rachel Hawkins has taken great liberties in modernizing this tale of a tragic love triangle, but even if you aren't familiar with the original story, it's believable and irritatingly possible even in modern times. The author issues a warning: This nightmare could still happen.
The brooding Edward Rochester has been replaced by a self-confident Eddie who owns a McMansion where our Jane is a dog walker for the rich. Instead of their meeting in a dank woods and Edward's horse throwing him, this Eddie is driving a muscle car and narrowly avoids hitting her as he speeds out of his driveway.
That's where this retelling starts. With all of its nods to the original work, it's a good nail-biter today and worth sticking with until the end.