Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Title: Watching You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published: December 2018, Atria Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

“Page one intrigued me. Page three hooked me. By page five, I was consumed. This compulsive, propulsive novel is both a seize-you-by-the-throat thriller and a genuinely moving family drama. Stellar.” — A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

The instant New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the “riveting thriller” (PopSugar) THEN SHE WAS GONE delivers another suspenseful page-turner about a shocking murder in a picturesque and well-to-do English town, perfect “for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive” (Library Journal).

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

My thoughts: I have become a big fan of Lisa Jewell, having read most of her newer books and I just can't get enough of her writing. Each subsequent book seems to be better than the previous book and believe me, they are all good!

This story is such a clever, addicting tale of obsession and the title is so spot on. Not only are all the characters watching each other, but you as the reader feel that you end up spying on what is going on in this small neighborhood. And believe me, once you start reading, you will be so hard-pressed to walk away - it's that addicting and a totally binge-worthy type of read!

Right from the beginning, we are aware that a murder has taken place, but we are not sure who has been murdered and why. The story then alternates from the investigation, where the police are interviewing different suspects, to the time leading up to the murder, told from a few different characters points of view - Joey Mullen, Freddie Fitzwilliam, Jenna Tripp, and DC Rose Pelham. I liked that it's only a few characters that we follow, as this kept the story from getting too confusing. Not that there aren't more characters in the book, but we get to know them from these four, and these four do a really good job of keeping you on your toes and not giving too much away. 

This story is filled with secrets and I loved that each person sees something and has their own interpretation of it. With the book starting off with a bang, it then slows down as we get to know the characters and it becomes more of a slow-burner, which I quite enjoyed. I found that it was almost as if there were a cast of seemingly unrelated characters and I just knew there had to be some type of connection to them somehow...and you follow them as you try to figure out how they are all connected. 

I also loved that these characters are not quite what they first appear to be. For instance, at first I was totally off-put by Freddie, but as we get to know him and find out what it is that makes him him, I instantly felt a new understanding of his character and him. Then I saw him in a whole new light. I think having that come out when it does, later on in the book, is pure wouldn't have had the same impact if we had that information right from the get-go. This is the type of clever writing that goes into the backstory of each and every character and makes such a difference in the overall structure and plot.

While I did end up having a hint as to who the murderer was at the end, it in no way distracted from my enjoyment of this book. I just happened to put the pieces together in time before the reveal...I got lucky! But, I still loved every page of this book, every nuance of the writing that Lisa Jewell gave us and I will be counting down the days until I get my hands on her next book!!!

About the author: Lisa Jewell is the internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone, as well as I Found You, The Girls in the Garden, and The House We Grew Up In. Her debut novel, Ralph’s Party, was an instant Sunday Times bestseller, and more recently, her books have become #1 bestsellers in Canada and the UK. In total, her novels have sold over 2 million copies across the English-speaking world. Her work has also been translated into sixteen languages. Lisa lives in London with her husband and their two daughters.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Instagram

Watching You  by Lisa Jewell 
  Atria Books  
December 26, 2018 
Hardcover ISBN: 9781501190070, $26.00
eBook: 9781501190094, $13.99

1 comment

  1. I finally read a Lisa Jewell book this year and absolutely loved it. This one especially appeals to me so I definitely need to add this to my TBR! Great review!


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