Watching Youby Lisa Jewell Published 26 12 2018
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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…
"Watching You" Reviews
I'm between 4-4.5 STARS
My love affair with the Lisa Jewell novel goes back years, and I actually have my UK blogger friends to thank for it. Before her books really took off in the US, I received copious recommendations from Facebook groups stating that Jewell's novels had become a staple in their reading repertoire, so I hastily headed over to Book Depository and searched through her blessed backlist. I believe my first of her books was The Girls in the Garden, but I've also enjoyed I Found You, And Then She Was Gone, The Third Wife, etc... Well, you get the picture. To say that this latest book was my most anticipated 2018 release would be an understatement; I would say I'm relieved that it delivered, but there was never a doubt in my mind that I would enjoy Watching You
In typical Jewell fashion, this book begins with a bang, and questions are immediately arisen in the readers mind. A large cast of seemingly unrelated characters doing seemingly unimportant things follows, but as expected, these individuals are drawn into a sinister web of lies, trauma, and murder. The chapters alternate between various POVs (mainly Joey, Freddie, and Jenna), interspersed with police transcripts of varying interviews for the murder described in the prologue. While the first 2/3 of the book is a slow burn, it is far from boring or dull; the tension slowly ramps up to the point where I had sparks coming from my finger tips turning the pages so fast in the final countdown (err. 100 pages that is). The letter written just prior to the epilogue was a truly wonderful touch; it answered many questions I had throughout and added an emotional touch that gave credibility to a certain character's actions.
As always, Lisa Jewell has provided a satisfying character study into the darker side of human nature. There are lots of twists and turns, and some that are easier to spot than others, but it is such a satisfying read. Can I humbly recommend this as a post-Christmas/holiday purchase for my North American friends? It comes out on December 26th and would be THE best use of those gift cards that you know you'll be receiving. <3
*Thank you Atria Books for providing a review copy.
4 You Have No Idea What's REALLY Going On Behind Closed Doors Stars!
Welcome to Melville Heights - an idyllic, family based, wealthy neighborhood that is the kind of place everyone wishes they could live. Except for the fact that nothing is as it seems. Behind the picturesque closed doors of these painted beauty houses lies dark, ugly and sinister secrets. The kind of secrets that inevitably make it to the light of day through MURDER!
The book opens with a murder scene. We know someone was killed - now we have to figure out who and why. Jewell is skilled at diverting our attention and making us question everyone. As we begin to meet the inhabitants of this community we realize the killer could literally be anyone. There is so much going on here and nothing is quite what it seems from the outside looking in.
Each home and family has so much going on beyond it's surface. There were many themes touched on within this book - obsession, attraction, abuse, trust, infidelity, marriage and parenting. Jewell is certainly a master craftsman at spinning her tale into an intricately layered web. While there were some things that I was able to figure out, there were others that left me absolutely gobsmacked!
I loved how perspective played such a huge part in the storyline. Everyone seemed to be watching everyone else for one reason or another. Characters see things from their own vantage points, take things out of context and make assumptions based on their own beliefs. At times these collide with another character's view and sometimes things seem to perfectly align - causing us as reader's to form and reform our own beliefs as we read. I changed my mind so many times while reading, it felt like reader whiplash!
This is only my second Lisa Jewell book and each one has been an amazing reading experience. I can say with certainty that I will be reading more from her and I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with in the future.
Thank you Lisa Jewell, Atria Books & NetGalley for the opportunity to review an arc of this book
Watching You is a multi-genre character-driven mystery that plays on perspective.
The story opens with a murder in the exclusive enclave in Melville, Bristol. The reader only knows that someone has been killed and a red boot tassle has been found at the scene of the crime.
Tom Fitzwilliam is considered to be a superstar in the world of education. Brought in to fix a school on the brink of failure, Tom has charmed both the locals and the students. Women throw themselves at him and men want to be him. In spite of those who admire Tom, there are those who see right through his polished veneer. They wonder if he is too close to his students? They wonder if he cheats on his wife? His own son questions whether or not his father is a good man.
Alternating POVs make up the narrative:Joey, a married woman infatuated with Tom, Jenna, a student at Tom’s school, and Freddie, Tom’s son. Police interviews with various witnesses and suspects are also woven in, as well as brief POV’s from the head detective. I didn’t love the characters--Joey was a bit whiny and Freddie was an oddball. I did like Jenna's character. While I don’t always enjoy multiple POV’s, in this case, they serve a purpose as they both cast doubt and exonerate Tom.
Watching You is really about perspective. What one character might see, another does not. The narratives people build from watching one another lead to discovering truths but also to great inaccuracies.
What I liked about Watching You was that with every narrative shift, my perspective on Tom changed. I made up my mind about him early on, which made this even more interesting to read once the truth was revealed. I did find the pacing a bit slow in the beginning and the narrative to be a bit disconnected, but everything came together eventually. As always, Lisa Jewell changes her style from book to book so I am never really sure what to expect, which is one of the things I enjoy about reading her novels. I figured out one of the twists, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Overall, I enjoyed watching these characters watch each other!
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review.
Watching You by Lisa Jewell is a 2018 Atria Books publication.
Remember to pull your shades and lock your doors- you never know who might be watching!
Lisa Jewell’s latest thriller examines the secrets and obsessions of a seemingly idyllic neighborhood. Melville Heights, an upscale neighborhood, home to professionals like doctors and lawyers, might be one of the last places you’d expect a brutal murder to occur.
However, while the neighborhood’s exterior is charming and enviable, if you pay close attention, you will see another side to Melville Heights. You may notice some residents have strange habits, some behave badly, are masking dark obsessions, or hiding painful secrets, and some … like to watch…
After Joey’s mother dies, she has a knee-jerk reaction, quickly tying the knot with an affable, but not overly ambitious man. Joey and her new husband move in with her overachieving, but sweet, brother and his pregnant wife, who happen to live in Melville Heights, in one of the ‘painted houses’ she was always so fascinated by.
Joey soon develops a crush on her neighbor, the headmaster of the local school, named Tom Fitzwilliam. Tom appears to be happily married, with a teenaged son, named Freddie. The community heaps high praise on Tom and the great job he is doing as headmaster. However, Freddie, unbeknownst to his parents, and most everyone else, is an accomplished little neighborhood spy. His observations reveal a host of little intricate insights into the lives of his neighbors- and about his own father. But he may not be the only one keeping an eye on things. The question is whether or not these ‘watchers’ are drawing the right conclusions based on what they have witnessed.
It seems that no two Lisa Jewell novels are exactly the same, but that’s a good thing, in my opinion. This one was not exactly what I was expecting after " Then She Was Gone".
The atmosphere in here is dark, but mildly quirky, as well. It’s creepy, and some of the implications about the characters made me squirm a little. While the cast is moderately large, the author did a great job of minimizing the chore of keeping up with all of them individually. Jewell, adeptly withholds key information from readers, keeping them completely in the dark, until just the right moment.
Then Jewell lowers the hammer….
Boom! Very clever!
Looking back on it now, I can see the trap, but as I was reading the book, I blindly stepped right into it. So, the author managed to pull one over on me, which endears me to her all the more.
I’m glad to see Lisa Jewell exercising her writing prowess, as her novels always surprise me. Smart move on her part, too, since it keeps readers on their toes and will hopefully prevent preconceived notions or expectations regarding format, formula or style. But no matter what, her books always manage to draw me in. I can’t wait to see what she pulls out of the hat next!!
Melville Heights, Bristol, England, is a prestigious row of pretty, vividly painted houses that stand proudly overlooking Melville. However, behind the attractive facade someone is watching and waiting, and what develops will stun its inhabitants to the core!
Tom Fitzwilliam lives in Melville Heights, he is the headmaster of the local academy - a charming and popular member of the community, especially with the ladies! But if I’ve painted a picture of perfection, well of course that’s not the way it will go, because behind those very expensive twitching curtains, lies a darkness and someone will end up paying with their life.
This is a deliciously dark and tangled tale of burdensome and consuming lies, lust, and deeply hidden truths.
The characters (and there were many) whilst not always sympathetic, are well fleshed out and believable. The twists in the plot are convincing, in some cases well disguised and surprising. Highly recommended.
*Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for my copy of Watching You, I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange *
Entrancing, irresistible and compelling!
WATCHING YOU by LISA JEWELL is a clever, unputdownable, and suspenseful psychological thriller novel that immediately drew me in and had me totally engrossed and interested right from the very first page.
The opening scene had me so intrigued in finding out who was murdered and why that I was racing through those pages as fast as I possibly could. We the readers aren’t privy to any of that information and that is definitely the strong point of this novel. The process is a slow-burn as we get to know all the characters and their motives. Plenty of questions started swirling around in my mind and where some of those questions are answered the motive behind those actions aren’t revealed to us until the end.
LISA JEWELL delivers an intriguing, character-driven, well-written and plotted story here with interesting and engaging characters that was told in multiple points of view along with police transcripts intertwined into the storyline. The police transcripts were a favorite and such an effective way for us to get a firsthand look into the investigation and pick up on some of those clues.
I absolutely loved that this book created so many questions and the subtle clues are perfectly interspersed in the storyline but piecing them all together was definitely making my head spin. So I decided that I was just going to read and let the story do the job for me. And, I am so glad that I did because what transpires in the end was absolutely stunning and so totally worth it!
Publishing Date: December 26, 2018
Cover: Eye-catching, intriguing, and effective! Absolutely love everything about this cover and such a fantastic representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, suspenseful, and an absolutely perfect representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging, absorbing, captivating, and skilled.
Plot: Suspenseful, fascinating, engrossing, fast-paced, held my attention fully and extremely entertaining.
Ending: A twist ending that wrapped up everything perfectly! Loved it!
Overall: An irresistible, intense, surprising, suspenseful, and fabulous read! Would highly recommend!
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books, and Lisa Jewell for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog: