Watching Youby Lisa Jewell Published 26 Dec 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.
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.
I always feel like somebody's watching me...
A picturesque street in a nice neighborhood in England. Painted pastel houses with cozy surroundings. Behind closed doors, someone is watching...
Tom Fitzwilliam, the headmaster at a local school is a husband, a father, and a rather flirty guy who knows he has a way with the women.
Joey Mullen and her husband Alfie, have just moved in with her brother so they can get their lives sorted. Joey is going through a bit of a crisis in her marriage, when she meets Tom and is suddenly and unexpectedly obsessed with him. Timing is everything, if it hadn't been him, maybe it would have been someone else?
When someone is found murdered, everyone has an opinion about who is responsible and past secrets are starting to come to light.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the recorded police interviews that are dispersed throughout the book, giving clues to who is suspected and where the investigation is focusing. I kept trying to figure out Tom and figure out if he was misunderstood or just another cagey predator.
I was able to figure out the first twist, but that was due to the clever hints that Jewell laid out in the previous chapters. This was an intriguing character driven mystery that had me diagnosing all the characters at every turn.
The last twist comes in the last paragraph and was quite a stunner!
Thanks to NG for my copy to read/review. Review will post to my blog on Monday 11/19/18
4 Super Creepy Stars.
Lisa Jewell’s latest novel gives a different meaning to the phrase “neighborhood watch association.” In the case of “Watching You” the motive however, is obsession.
It’s unhealthy, it’s unwelcome and yes, it’s salacious and I couldn’t get enough.
Joey and her husband Alfie are newlyweds who recently moved in with her brother Jack and his wife Rebecca. Joey has developed an unnatural interest in their neighbor, Tom Fitzsimmons, the Headmaster at School. Tom & his wife Nicola’s teenage son, Freddie, takes photos of all the neighbors and the girls in school which he keeps for “informational purposes.” Jenna’s best friend Bess, has a mad crush on Tom. Jenna’s mum is fixated on Tom too.. but she has her reasons - and is convinced that he’s up to something. Could it be? Tom’s past sure seems a bit shady, but then he might just be a regular bloak, trying to eek out an existence, in a town full of people just like him.
Everyone in the village sure appears to be infatuated with Tom! What is it about this guy? Sounds like a guy I need to meet! Baah! (JK!)
Of course, I think we all know that obsession never turns out well! Not in psychological thrillers and certainly not real life. Lisa Jewell’s latest suspense “Watching You” made my stomach churn and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It was a super fast read that had me totally engrossed from the first to the very last page even though I guessed the ending. A must-read for mystery / suspense fans!
This was a fabulous buddy read with Kaceey! We’ve now read several Lisa Jewell novels together and I can’t wait for our next one.
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on NetGalley, Goodreads and Twitter on 11.10.18.
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.
Really enjoyed this one and will definitely be checking out the author's other novels in the near future. The title, Watching You, is spot on not only because it is a theme within the book but also because the story goes back and forth between multiple characters, and as the reader you almost feel like you have your own pair of spyglasses as you watch everything unfold.
In the Melville Heights neighborhood it seems like just about everyone has a secret. From the beginning you find out that someone has been murdered although their identity is not revealed right away to the reader. The story will go back and forth between some of the people who live in the neighborhood as you see what led up to the murder as well as the present time in which police are interviewing potential suspects and witnesses. I think it was 4 characters the story regularly followed which I found fairly easy to manage without feeling confused.
This is a mystery in which you probably will figure out some pieces of the puzzle but there is a few surprises along the way. I honestly didn't see it as a negative that you could kinda see the direction this story was going early on. This was still a page turner and I really enjoyed these characters and their messy lives. Would definitely recommend as long as you don't go in with the expectation everything about the story is meant to be one shocking twist after another.
Thank you to BookishFirst and the publisher for sending me an advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.