Published December 26th 2018 by Atria Books
I had been reading so many 4 and 5 star ratings for “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell that I was getting worried. I find that if my expectations are so high, that I am often disappointed. I need not to have worried. Lisa Jewell penned a very good psychological thriller that I had a hard time putting down. She develops her characters slowly, dropping tidbits about their lives so you get to know them as if you have met them. In this story, the area called Melville Heights is home to the various people who populate this story. From students and their families, neighbours who are a bit off and the headmaster, Tom, and his family there is quite a group of them and several of them are watching one another. Why are they watching? They have their reasons. At the centre of the story is Tom Fitzwilliam, the hot shot teacher who’s come to town to clean up a troubled school. As he works on making the school good again, he is making the ladies swoon. For some reason his charm, wit and fairly run-of-the-mill dad looks appeal to everyone, making the females weak in the knees and the males wishing they were him. Everyone that is, except Jenna Tripp and her mother who know Tom Fitzwilliam is up to no good. Jenna’s best friend Bess however, is another story and obsession is putting her feelings towards Mr. Fitzwilliam lightly.
I enjoyed this character driven psychological thriller. It was a quick, fun and fast-paced story. The story starts with a bang, a murder scene and then we weave through the lives of the characters until we find out who the murderer is. I enjoyed this plot, and loved how all of these characters in the neighborhood are linked together with invisible, twisty, threads. It’s a slow build with just the exact amount of mystery to keep you turning the pages. I thought I had it all figured out based on the clever hints and clues dropped throughout the book and I was partially correct, but oh that final twist, I did not see that coming. Unfortunately, I have one niggle and that is the epilogue. It ties up all the loose ends in a “nice” way that I just didn’t think was necessary. It felt very rushed to me. If it wasn’t for that, this would have been a 5 star read for me. Every Lisa Jewell book I read, cements her higher on my list of favourite authors. The publisher, Atria Books, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read upon my request. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.
About the Book (From Goodreads): 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…
About the Author: Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.
She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.
She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.
She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.