Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Published: December 26, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Genres: thriller, suspense, domestic fiction
Rating: 3 stars
Recommend to fans of: weird creepy unspoken about vibes in a whole community
Foodie Vibes: tea and crumpets – a proper snack for a proper community neighborhood
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…
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.
Watching You is a unique book. Not quite what I expected. I thought I would be reading a mix of suspense, psychological thriller and domestic fiction. While it has some of those aspects, it tends to be more random pondering of the neighbors about other neighbors with a bit of suspense thrown in.
I spent a good portion of the book wondering what was the point of the story. Eventually the different plot lines came together to create a fairly good conclusion. The people of the community are all a bit odd. They give an authentic feel to the story while keeping the underlying uncertainty to the book. I didn’t relate completely with one specific character, but a little piece of each one. And I think other readers will also find someone to connect with.
The one thing I didn’t get was why was everyone so obsessed with Tom Fitzwilliams? He didn’t seem to be that great of a guy to me.
Overall, a unique book written about ordinary people. Less suspense and more strange pondering about the neighbors. But somehow the author makes it all come together to make it work.
How many of your neighbors are you friends with? Or even friendly towards?
Come say hi!
Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)