Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
As I have mentioned several times throughout this month, my current absolute favourite genre has been Mystery/Thrillers. I was approved for an eARC of “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell from Simon & Schuster Canada via NetGalley last month, and I thought this would be the perfect book to pick up as I was in the perfect mood for this interesting domestic/neighbourhood based mystery/thriller. For those of you who don’t know, Lisa Jewell is a highly acclaimed adult mystery/thriller author, and has put out fifteen other highly rated books before coming out with Watching You. Watching You by Lisa Jewell is being released in stores TODAY!
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…
The synopsis may seem a little confusing and hard to follow, but I promise once you start reading it, it is very easy to follow. Lisa Jewell does a great job of writing very descriptive details about her characters and their back stories, so it is easy to differentiate between who is who and how they are connected to the main storyline. Therefore, the plot is very character driven and is based all of the opinions and assumptions surrounding Tom Fitzwilliam and who he really is. I love reading domestic thrillers or thrillers where all the people involved live on the same street or very close to one another, which was exactly what this book entailed. The ebb and flow of the book and all of the minor events going on in each individual characters lives was written exceptionally well, especially since they are also somehow connected to Mr. Fitzwilliam and his mysterious story.
One of my favourite parts of this book is the mystery aspect. The beginning of the book opens with a detective finding/recording a piece of evidence from a crime scene. We don’t know what the crime scene is about – other than the fact that it is an apparent murder, we only know that she has found some sort of a red tassle that appears to have fallen off of a shoe. Slowly, readers learn more and more about the incident and who/what may have been involved. We don’t really find out the main piece of information until the end, which is also when the characters are finding out about it . I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, rather than telling us what exactly happened at the very beginning, and then telling the entire background of the story after the first chapter when we basically already know how the book is going to end. The best part was that the assumed muderer and victim were always changing throughout the story, as different characters had different motives/incidents, which could have resulted in them murdering different characters they communicated with throughout the story.
The twists in this book were unexpected, but made a lot of sense when starting to put the puzzle pieces together. A lot of big clues/foreshadowing was revealed throughout the book, but it wasn’t until the end when it started to fit together and make sense. There was no stone left unturned, and Lisa figured out how to make every single aspect of the crime scene/story relevant until the very end.
As I said before, the setting was absolutely perfect for this story. The fact that everybody is always watching one another could only have been accomplished by making the characters live very close to one another. I love neighbourhood stories as everyone is familiar with one another, but there are still so many things the neighbours don’t know about each other. It’s kind of like they are familiar strangers.
The only reason I didn’t give this book 5/5 stars was because for me it was quite a slow read. I tend to read ebooks/eARCs within a day or two, but this one took me about five days to get through. I found a lot of the description and dialogue unnecessary, as not all of the events in this novel helped to advance the plot, but rather made it seem a bit slower and dragged.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4/5 stars. I hope to pick up another Lisa Jewell book sometime in the near future!
Thanks again to Simon & Schuster Canada for the eARC!
Have you read a Lisa Jewell book or are interested in picking this one up? Let me know in the comments, I love chatting with all of you!
Good Night Book Owls!