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The Wife in the Attic  By  cover art

The Wife in the Attic

By: Rose Lerner
Narrated by: Elsa Lepecki Bean
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Publisher's Summary

This daring Gothic thriller reinvents one of literature’s most twisted love triangles. Tensely romantic and deliciously suspenseful, The Wife in the Attic is perfect for fans of Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Goldengrove’s towers and twisted chimneys rose at the very edge of the peaceful Weald, a stone’s throw from the poisonous marshes and merciless waters of Rye Bay. Young Tabby Palethorp had been running wild there, ever since her mother grew too ill to leave her room.

I was the perfect choice to give Tabby a good English education: thoroughly respectable and far too plain to tempt her lonely father, Sir Kit, to indiscretion.

I knew better than to trust my new employer with the truth about my past. But knowing better couldn’t stop me from yearning for impossible things: to be Tabby’s mother, Sir Kit’s companion, Goldengrove’s new mistress.

All that belonged to poor Lady Palethorp. Most of all, I burned to finally catch a glimpse of her.

Surely she could tell me who cut the strings on my guitar, why all the doors inside the house were locked after dark, and whose footsteps I heard in the night....

With devious sophistication, Rose Lerner weaves a haunting tale full of secrets and sharp edges. Will the governess’ loyalties ultimately lie with the master of the house - or with the wife in the attic?

©2020 Susan Roth (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC.
  • Original Recording Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

"It gave me nightmares…a furious, tender, aching, incisive masterpiece of a book."

Olivia Waite, author of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics
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About the Creator

Rose Lerner discovered historical romance when she was 12 and took her first stab at writing one a few years later. Her prose has improved since then, but her fascination with all things Regency hasn’t changed. When she's not writing and researching, you can find her reading, watching, cooking, doodling, rambling, and daydreaming in Philadelphia. Her critically acclaimed Lively St. Lemeston series has been featured in NPR’s Book Concierge and Publishers Weekly’s annual Best Books list.
Photo Credit: Joshua Huston

About the Performer

Elsa Lepecki Bean is a Brazilian/American actor based in NYC. She received her BFA in Theatre from New York University with a double major in Drama and Performance Studies. She has a long-standing love of audiobooks and as a child could only fall asleep by listening to Sir Ian McKellen narrate The Odyssey. Her work on stage has been recognized both nationally and internationally, and she holds the Performance Studies Emerging Scholar Award from Tisch School of the Arts.
Photo Credit: Rashidah De Vore

Featured Article: What Is Gothic Fiction? A Genre Explainer


Some of the most popular and enduring novels and short stories are works of Gothic fiction, including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. These creepy, creaky literary classics have the power to transport listeners to foggy moors and crumbling estates, where wolves howl in the night and shadows lurk in the hallways. But Gothic fiction is more than just cobwebs and candelabras.

Enjoy the trailer for The Wife in the Attic!

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What listeners say about The Wife in the Attic

Average Customer Ratings
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    2 out of 5 stars
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MEH

I listened because the reviews, all three of them, raved about the book comparing it to literature that I loved. All I can say is I am very happy this one was included in my Audible Plus package and did not cost me money or credit!!

This book was entirely TOO long and repetitive this story could have been told in a quarter of the time. The characters were one dimensional, unbelievable and boring. The plot was unbelievable and unrealistic (even for the time period). The narrator was mediocre at best, I increased the speed to make her more interesting AND decrease the listening time but was still very annoyed by the time I decided to stop listening.

Save your time listen to something else!!!!

SPOILER - Can someone please explain to me how it is considered wrong to have an affair with your married male employer but jump without even hardly a moment's hesitation into bed with your married female employer, his WIFE???? I found the message this sent to be particularly disturbing because adultery is adultery and wrong is wrong; trying to make one relationship inappropriate and the other acceptable is something I just couldn't abide.

141 people found this helpful

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R rated

Too much R- rated screens in it. will not read author again because of it.

58 people found this helpful

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Started out good and then got ridiculous

I hate when authors build a character as a moral person but then have the character do an about face and completely horrify you. The main character spent chapters and chapters as a virtuous woman and then all of a sudden she is having oral sex with a married woman who hasn’t bathed in years. And then goes even further and....so disappointing. No character was even slightly likable. The narrator was good and the way people spoke seemed accurate.

54 people found this helpful

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You get what you pay for...

Glad this was free but after listening to only half the book, I want to be paid for the time it took to listen that far. I had high hopes that were enough to keep me slogging through listening to an obviously American voice trying to sound British. Over and over, night after night we build up from a creaking floorboard to whispers to a full on fight that does nothing to satisfy the need for the story to progress at a faster pace. I have never listened to any audiobook and wished so fervently that it was hardcover so I could throw it across the room. So glad I finally stopped this nonsense gothic drama. My advice: you won’t regret not listening.

38 people found this helpful

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highly recommended. a page-turner that surpasses genre.

First of all, this is an engaging, excellently written story by an author I hope we will hear from frequently. It deserves the term PAGE-TURNER. It can be read without reference to the following comments (BUT NO SPOILERS).

The novel weaves together and echos several literary genres - the comedy of manners, romance, Shakespearean, and other historically literary and philosophical traditions of the times. It reflects and reflects upon the historical importance of religious sensibilities informing and misinforming the moral perceptions of the times. Still, unfortunately, relevant in 2021.

Historical prejudice against Jewish persons and communities, sexuality, the pervasive power of men, and relative powerless women are woven throughout. Yet, these observations are never heavy-handed. They flow seamlessly from the characters and story.

35 people found this helpful

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A waste of time.

The only thing good about this book was the narrator. I kept hoping that somebody would have morals, but there’s not one single character to like. Please don’t waste your time.

34 people found this helpful

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So. Good.

What an amazing gothic. It uses all of the traditional tropes, while subverting them at the same time. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read.

The subtexts create a haunting resonance- the quotes from Shakespeare, the reference to medieval anti-Semitic tropes, the terrible wounds of the Inquisition (barely 2 generations ago for these characters,) the quotes from scripture... all of these come together to suggest, to foreshadow and anticipate.

The narrator is superb.

I didn’t know how much I needed a Jewish lesbian gothic. Turns out, a lot.

29 people found this helpful

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Shoes Too BIG to Fill

I wish that there had NOT been a reference and comparison mentioned to the classic JANE EYRE....If the characters were at all as admirable and likable as those in JANE EYRE, I could of loved this book as well....but they are not.
I saw where the Author tried very hard to induce a fondness, or at least a sympathy for the characters but they were all simply one dimensional and flat. The main heroine is actually honest with us readers about being vain, but where that honesty should of brought me closer to a fondness for her, it didn't do it for me. The characters seem to think that they are ahead of their time and are independent thinkers. Yet the contradictions and judgments expressed by all the characters became too numerous and too overwhelming for me, so I only made it thru the 12th chapter. The book is waaaaaaay to long for me to spend my time with characters I don't respect.
The Author's style of writing is of obvious talent. The narrator as well did a commendable reading. Perhaps because JANE EYRE is one of my most favorite of beloved stories that I have re-read and re-listened to more times than I can count on one hand, that any thing not up to it's excellence, would be disappointing for me. And perhaps if any readers out there that has NOT read JANE EYRE yet, then this story may have a better chance at grabbing your attention. But for me....It's not even close.

23 people found this helpful

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What I did not read in the reviews!

I was not going to read this book based on the reviews, but I had it downloaded and so I thought why not start it! This is a good book, and I think the negative reviews I read do not do the book justice! What stands out about this book is the performance. It was one of the best produced audiobooks I have listened to (I listen to a lot). All the voice suit the characters so well. The performance aside the book itself has great message in it. It deals with pain, fear and getting on with life and does a brilliant job of showing the impact of past generational trauma. I think all the characters are well developed. I appreciate a book that flows sequentially as it is easy to follow. I would say it is a cross between literary fiction crossed with a historical romance. As a straight white female I tend to seek out romance stories between men and women. The central characters are lesbians which is not revealed until you are more than halfway into the story. As this is not a central theme in the story I really enjoyed the book. In fact one of my criticisms might be that the story does not ever address how taboo this would have been in that time period, however because it is such a small part of the story, it seems plausible the characters did not have to deal with the impact this might have been for them through the duration of this part of the story.

18 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected

Definitely not what I expected from a period thriller. Well written story and excellent performance.

16 people found this helpful

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  • christine oliver
  • 02-19-21

Wife in the attic

Very poor story content wouldn’t recommend the book. Narrated by Elsa Lepecki Bean excellent. Would listen to her again. Please find her a better book to read.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-20-21

Terrible

This book I bought because they suggested if you like Jane eyre .... I thought it would make a change to read/ listen to something modern - this is truly dreadful!

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 09-03-21

Dreadful American reading

Why oh why have an American read an English part set in England. Not only does the American accent distract, the inability of the reader to pronounce the letter T in words is both confusing and distracting enough to give up listening. Not a bad story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-21

Horible evil.

I liked the many classical and poetry references. The dept this book went in the struggle between Jewish and Christian religions was amazing. I enjoyed listening to a great mystery. Until the wokeslap turning it in the man hating lesbian stereotype.

Tabby was older than 5 (stil kinder garden) to young for Catchism.

I suspect the writer to be an apostate and this book is another example of our declining culture. Where instead the virtues of the past are being uphold as an example for us to strive by. In the past is scolded for not being privileged enough to be woke. In Victorian times miss Olivers conduct would get her catch a desiese and die.

This book is making gays and jews look evil, I'd rather read something that makes me love them.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Sadie
  • 10-12-22

Struggled to listen to this book

I am giving this book 2 stars because I have been struggling to listen to it and I found it difficult to concentrate on.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Melanie Dando
  • 08-12-22

Narrator's "English" accent very distracting

The American narrator valiantly trying (and failing) to do an English accent was quite off-putting.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TinaH
  • 03-04-22

subtle ending for a lengthy book

I can't slate this book. it did commit me to its ending.

it was hard knowing it was so long. what could possibly happen. turns out not a great deal.

the story teller.. I think was the wrong choice for the book. not sure if the occasional northern accent was to help the character or she couldn't stick with the accent chosen for the part. some words were awfully put in place.

the ending.. alright. she got what she wanted. what did she want.?? you'll have to waste hours of your own time to find out.

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  • Jordan
  • 09-23-21

Unexpected but good 👍

I gave 5 stars.. I don't really like period dramas but its surprisingly good xxx

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Shona Thompson
  • 06-19-21

A dull story

I found this story very dull, hoping there would be some sort of intrigue at the end - I was sadly disappointed.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 06-16-21

Enjoyable mash up of Jane Eyre and book of Judith

A bit slow at the beginning but worth sticking with. A sympathetic main character anchors the gothic story

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • julee latimer
  • 11-16-21

An odd tale

I found this strange, over-long and oddly narrated. There was an attempt at different voices which was completely unbelievable especially the 5 year old girl . Overall it was quite irritating with characters that had little depth. As for the weird ending sung rather than spoken, was very glad when it finished.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-21-22

Unusual narration, ok story

I think the narrator might be American and struggling with many english/Irish/northern accents. Like the other reviewers I did find this an odd story, pretty bland at times but then quite surprising as well. Not an awful book, I did enjoy it at times.

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  • donna f.
  • 05-11-22

bizarre

seriously I tried,got to chapter 13 and just couldn't listen to any more 😪