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…
Her first novel, Ralph's Party, was the best- selling debut novel of 1999. Since then she has written another twenty novels, most recently a number of dark psychological thrillers, including The Girls, Then She Was Gone, The Family Upstairs and The Night She Disappeared.
Lisa is a New York Times and Sunday Times number one bestselling author who has been published worldwide in over twenty-five languages. She lives in north London with her husband, two teenage daughters and the best dog in the world.
A clever play on perspective, taking things out of context and assumptions—something most of us are quick to make—collide in this compulsively readablewatchable storyline.
The central theme of being watched or being the watcher is what elevates this novel from what I consider typical suspense to something much creepier in feel. There’s a host of participants running rampant throughout, the mystery found in deciphering which of the watchers/watched are in fact driven by dark motives.
Is it the headmaster, Tom Fitzwilliam, a man that garners way too much attention?
Or maybe it’s his young newlywed neighbor, a woman with a crush who tends to put herself in precarious situations.
Is there some modicum of truth to the nonsense the crazy mother of one of Mr. Fitzwilliam’s students is constantly spewing outside of the painted houses of Melville Heights?
And what about Freddie, Mr. Fitzwilliam’s teenage son—is it possible he’s guilty of more than just watching all of his neighbors and chronicling their every move?
One thing I’ve come to expect from Lisa Jewell, an oddball cast; my thoughts and feelings for said characters typically running the gamut. This time, not so much. Instead, I wallowed in neutral territory where this nosey bunch was concerned—not particularly enamored or filled with disdain—finding them just interesting enough to keep me engaged.
Naturally, as the majority of suspense novels tend to, Watching You starts off with a dead body. A lifeless corpse strewn across a kitchen floor, accompanied by one piece of pivotal evidence lying in a pool of blood. Something not easily explained away by the owner, yet in hindsight, maybe too obvious?
For those readers that fancy themselves part-time literary sleuths, this is one sure to keep you guessing. Lisa Jewell—and just about the entire cast—put in quite a bit of work, the goal being to throw readers off the scent. Unfortunately, I figured things out earlier than I would have hoped to. Don't worry, the answer is not blatantly obvious and in no way did figuring things out hinder my experience. In fact, of the four Jewell novels I’ve read to-date, this is the one I struggled the most to set down for any length of time. Meaning, I had to force myself to put it aside to play pretend at being a functioning adult.
Oh, and did I mention the short chapters? Creepy vibe + murder plot + short chapters = reading frenzy.
*Thanks to Atria for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Watching You might just be my favorite Lisa Jewell!
We start out with a murder in the picturesque neighborhood of Melville Heights. But who was the victim? And who is the murderer? In this little town, everyone has secrets and snooping on your neighbors is practically the town's official pastime.
I find Lisa Jewell's writing to be riveting. Not everyone can take a story about—let's be honest—mostly unlikable, morally-deficient, creepy characters and turn it into something compelling, but she sure does. It grabbed me right from the start, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
One of the reasons I'm a big fan of Jewell is that she takes character-driven mysteries and brings it to another level. I can really sink my teeth into her characters. They feel fleshed-out and fully-formed, so you get invested and it's satisfying to follow along and see where it all ends up.
This story is told via a few different points of view. While I'm not normally a fan of too many different narrators, it works in this case. We get to see different perspectives from each of the characters, so we're always on our toes trying to figure what the truth really is.
There were a few twists and turns in this book, and some even managed to surprise me. But I don't want to talk that up. What surprises one reader doesn't always work for another. This book is worth it for the journey alone. But if it does manage to catch you off guard with a few of the twists, well that's just the icing on the cake.
Watching you is a fabulous title for this book. I grew up in a community where neighbors kept an eye out for others. They also knew your business and you knew theirs - at least you thought you did! So, what happens when a new family moves into your quiet, safe neighborhood? What is their story? What are they up to? Tom Fitzwilliam is an educator who frequently moves his family from town to town as his job involves coming into troubled schools and "fixing" them. His wife, Nicola, is a frequent runner and his son, Freddie, enjoys taking pictures of his neighbors and "watching" them from his room. When they move into the tight community of Melville Heights, Bristol, all eyes are on them!
Joey and her husband, Alfie, recently moved in with her brother, Jack and wife, Rebecca, who reside two doors down from the Fitzwilliam family. Joey quickly develops a crush on Tom Fitzwilliam. He has confidence and swagger which intrigues both men and women. Jenna, who lives in the neighborhood, is a student at Tom's school and she is not impressed with Tom Fitzwilliam at all. He is a little too friendly with her best friend, Bess, who also has a crush on Mr. Fitzwilliam. Complicating things for Jenna is the fact that her mother is also obsessed with Mr. Fitzwilliam.
So, what is Tom Fitzwilliam's story? Could the rumors about him be true? Is he the victim of vicious rumors? What is it about him that makes him so appealing to others?
This book starts strong and immediately drew me in. Someone has been murdered in the beginning and the reader does not know who or the motive behind the murder. I love when I get to put on my super sleuth hat and attempt to figure out what is going on in a book. Jewell did not disappoint. She provided interesting characters - some more likable than others and presents us with information and rumors which kept me guessing and turning the pages. This book is told through various POV's and through police transcripts. This really worked for me and I was determined to figure out just whodunit and why. I found this book to be well thought out and going back to the police transcripts - I found them to be a very nice touch. Adding them was very clever and I enjoyed the book even more due to them. I did figure out the ending, but it did not hamper my enjoyment of the book at all. There are a lot of characters in this book, but I found it was easy to keep track of them. Each has his/her own purpose in this book. I enjoyed how this book looked at obsession, attraction and how our personal thoughts/emotions/perceptions shape how we think, react, and the interpretations we make based upon what we see and hear.
I was captivated by the story and enjoyed how the plot unfolded at a nice pace. I found this book to be a fast read, with its revelations, twists, turns and aha moments.
Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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.
**Ms.Jewell has a new book coming out in October, The Family Upstairs!! ***
I’m very selective when it comes to phychological thrillers, I need to not only feel some kind of thrill or overall tenseness in order to like them but I also want them to be well written. I am now definitely a Lisa Jewell fan, I think I would read anything she wrote. This is the fourth book of hers that I have read and she never disappoints.
O.K. the cast of characters is quite large so you should set aside enough time that you can read a large part of the book at one time. I found if I tried to pick it up for 15 or 20 minutes here and there I started to forget who was doing what. So you definitely need to pay attention! I am excited to say that I did not guess the outcome of this novel, which makes me want to do a happy dance!
As described in the blurb, there is a set of estates called called Melville Heights and there is lots of watching going on between these houses. Tom Fitzwiiliam is the headmaster at the local school and just about everyone seems to love him. He is positive, sensitive, good natured, great with the kids and parents and even handsome, sound too good to be true? Maybe.
His wife Nicola spends a lot of time trying to keep in shape by running and going to the gym and wearing the right clothes etc. after all I told you her husband was handsome, ha! Their son Freddie is quite a very different sort of boy, he goes to a private school and likes to spend a lot of time on his computer and using his new high powered, extra special binoculars to spy on his neighbors, well at the beginning he claims he was just writing about what was happening in his neighborhood. How much does he know about the crime?
Two doors down live a well to do heart surgeon and his wife. He is a busy doctor who doesn’t spend a lot of time at home, his wife Rebecca doesn’t seem to mind, she spends most of her time working on the computer, her door is seldom open. We soon find out that she is pregnant and she doesn’t seem to be particularly happy about it.
Into their lives comes Tom’s sister, Joey and her new husband Alfie, you all are going to love Alfie. They have just come back from living abroad and are happy when Tom invites them to stay with them as long as they want, they sure do take advantage of that, in a big way!!
Jenna Tripp lives in the lower area of the Heights her mom has been known to think that there are spies everywhere and that they are watching her and Jenna and filming them. Her reasons are confusing, you will have to read for yourself.
OK that should be enough to interest you. This is the second book this month that I have read which starts at the end of the story and is then written in reverse order telling us the characters thoughts and actions leading up to the day of the crime. The other book is “A Spark of Light” by Jodi Picoult, I wonder if this is a new trend? So there is your last clue, you will know at the beginning that a crime has been committed and you are given some clues but the rest is for you to try and unravel.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written, character driven thriller. This novel will be published in December 2018.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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
I'm going to have to check out more of Lisa Jewell's books because I really enjoyed this one. The book starts with a murder and then we go back a few months to events leading up to the murder. There are so many people involved in this story but it all seems revolve around Tom Fitzwilliam, the 51 year old headmaster of the local school. Tom has a much younger wife Nicola and a 14 year old son Freddy. Add in the two couples living two doors down from the Fitzwilliams, two schoolgirls from Tom's school, and the crazy mom of one of the schoolgirls, and things become very soap opera-ish in an enjoyably creepy way.
I think the characters I liked the most were Freddy, Tom's son's, who chronicled the little village's happenings, with notes and pictures, and Jenna, one of the school girls who was determined to look out for her best friend, who she thought was falling prey to an older man. But really, I thought all the characters were well written, including that of Joey, a 27 year old wife who develops an obsession with Tom. There is a lot of obsessing and spying and creeping around that goes on with these characters and the story has us thinking one thing is going on when it'll turn out to be something completely different. Or in some cases, what we think went on did go on but with a few twists and turns along the way.
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 *
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!!
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.
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
Norma’s Stats: 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.
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
The setting takes place in Bristol, England in a rich neighborhood called Melville Heights. We learn early on in the story that someone was murdered. Secrets are kept in the past and end up haunting some of the characters. There are several creepy characters that are very unlikable but they aren't exactly what they seem to be and end up being likable characters in the end.
Everyone seems to be watching people, especially Jenna's Mom who is convinced that someone is stalking her. Her mental health has recently been deteriorating. Tom FitzWilliams is the headmaster at the school and is very well liked. Joey Mullen is his neighbor and is very infatuated with him and thinks it's a secret but Tom's teenage son, Freddie is one of the characters that watches people and finds out that Joey is behaving strangely around his father. One of Tom FitzWilliam's students, Jenna who lives in the same street that he lives on, thinks that he isn't what he seems to be since he has taken interest to her friend and classmate.
I was captivated into the story straight from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down. This was a very addicting thriller. Something happens and there is a murder and after that I had to find out what was going to happen next. You can tell right in the beginning that everyone has secrets. There are creepy unlikable characters, which I mentioned aren't who they seem to be at the end.
This was a very gripping fast paced read and it is so intense until the end when the secrets are revealed. I love this author. This is the second book that I read by Lisa Jewell and now I want to read all of her books.
This was a Traveling Sister Read and I loved reading their thoughts.
I want to thank Netgalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Okay ... I really, really enjoyed listening to this suspenseful drama. Great cast of characters, twisty-turny “gotcha” storyline, and never a dull moment.
BUT ... friends out there who have read this book, please HELP ME! What in the world did I miss at the very end?? I have re-listened to chapters trying to figure it out, and know it was a significant lightbulb moment, but I am just stymied and feel like a bit of a dunce.
Honestly though, it was a great, entertaining read told in multiple POV’s. Loved there were so many who were “watching!”
A creepy compulsive character driven thriller that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
This is my very first book by Lisa Jewell, I know, I know, shame on me! But before you start writing me hate male, LOL, this absolutely will not be my last! Miss Jewell won me over after the first chapter! Her exceptional character developMent made my heart sing! Add in a complicated twisty plot that sucked me in from the very first page and short chapters that kept me on my toes.... and all I can say is YES! YES! YES!
The book starts out with a dead body, somebody has been murdered... but who? And why? And by whom? The story is then told from multiple different perspectives leading up to the murder.... there is a lot of speculation about Tom Fitzwilliams the new head teacher... he appears to be a little too friendly with his students especially the female ones, and what happened 20 years ago? And why does he move around so much? What I thought was so brilliant about this story is we never get Tom’s perspective, but we get that of those around him, we learn about him and form our opinions of him through their eyes.... The three primary narrators in the story see Tom in very different ways... Joey the newlywed who has just moved in twohouses away from him is seriously infatuated almost borderline obsessed with him... Freddy, Tom’s son and a kind of lovable oddball is sometimes frightened and sometimes not by him... Jana the teenager down the street and a student at Tom’s school is very creeped out by him, convinced he is acting inappropriately towards her BFF.... we also get treated to the police transcripts of the investigation peppered in throughout the book, I thought this added an additional layer to the story.
Throughout the story there is a lot of watching going on... Freddie is watching the entire neighborhood... let me just add in my opinion here, getting your teenage son high power binoculars, probably not a great idea, just saying...We also had Jenna’s mother convinced crazy shenanigans are going on, watching Tom... Jenna is watching and watching out for her BFF... Joey is watching the comings and goings of Tom and his wife... and so on, made me wonder what is going on in my own neighborhood?
This book was really all about perception and assumption, my opinion of each and every character in this book change from beginning to end.... made you realize you never really get the entire picture.... a wonderful book about the darker side of what goes on behind closed doors...
Absolutely recommend to anyone who enjoys an addictive dark twisted story with fantastically developed characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing!
*** many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for my copy of this book ***
Lisa Jewell has done it again. She’s given us the perfect thriller guaranteed to keep you guessing right to the end!
Joey and her husband Alfie move in with her brother Jack and his wife Rebecca. It was intended to be temporary stay - just long enough for the newlyweds to get their feet under them.
Down the street is the new headmaster Tom Fitzwilliam, specifically brought in to rescue the local school from looming disaster. Tom is charismatic, charming, suave...well you get the picture! He makes all the ladies swoon. As well as some of the school girls too.
Tom’s son Freddie is a self-proclaimed spy. He patiently watches, snapping photos of everyone on his block, all from the comfort of his second floor window. And make no mistake…no one escapes his eye! So exactly what does he see from his perch? Is he canvasing the neighborhood watching, searching for something specific?
Paranoia is settling in as everyone on this block is keeping a wary eye on someone else. Maybe for good reason. Everyone also has something to hide. You feel the tension building and sense it’s all leading to a murder in this quaint neighborhood. But who is the murderer? More importantly, who’s the victim?
Lisa Jewell has the perfect recipe to add just enough intrigue and red herrings to keep you glued to the pages trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together! Another fantastic thriller by this author and I cannot wait to read her next!
A super thrilling buddy read with Susanne!☃️
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for an ARC to read and review
In a strange unintended coincidence the first book I finished in 2022 was also by Lisa Jewell, The Family Upstairs, and just like that book, this is a gem of a mystery thriller. Melville village and especially the grand externally painted houses of Melville Heights are full of watchers. The dorky 16 year old that photographs mostly girls and young women surreptitiously; his father the super headmaster who's watching everyone as he endeavours to be liked by all; his techie wife over watching her pregnancy; the newlywed watching the older man she fancies; her hubby watching her change; from the village the lone mother whose watching everyone and reporting to her online groups; her daughter who watches her best friend get infatuated with a teacher; me the reader watching all this happen and coalesce into a thrilling and captivating not only whodunnit, but also who's the victim, as the crime is declared in the first few pages but the victim not revealed. There's one certain thing about Melville, that is that someone is watching you!
Yet another engrossing and immersive mystery with more than enough mystery to keep me captivated throughout, and a nice group of believable and interesting characters with varying but reasonable levels self awareness, self denial and/or intrigue. I probably should mention some triggers for underage sexual conduct, grooming and domestic abuse referencing. A lot of 'bestselling' writers seem to have a factory churning out templated pointless reads without a soul; Lisa Jewel does the opposite she constructs stories and realities that reward the reader giving up their time to read her work, thank you Lisa for this 8 out of 12 Four Star read :)
Lisa Jewell’s Watching You starts out with an immediate hook – there’s a dead body laying on the floor and Detective Rose Pelham as she examines the crime scene to try to solve the mystery. Following this shocking first chapter, we fall right into the story, told mostly through one of three major POVs – Josephine “Joey” Mullen. Joey is speaking to her late mother at her grave, updating her on her life and the choices she’s made. As the younger sister of an esteemed elder brother, she has always felt wayward, lesser and essentially – like a hot mess comparatively.
At it’s heart, this book is much like the title – a story about interwoven lives and how in a neighborhood like Melville Heights, someone is always watching. Meet Tom Fitzwilliam: he’s a new hot shot teacher in town, cleaning up a troubled school and making the ladies swoon as he walks down the street. For some reason his charm, wit and fairly run-of-the-mill dad looks are making everyone – male and female alike weak at the knees. Everyone that is, except Jenna Tripps mother who knows 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.
“He’s not old,” Bess replied. ���He’s mature. Like wine. Like Cheese. I love him. I actually love him.”
As the story progressed, for me I was struck with a little bit of Big Little Lies vibes along with this feeling a bit like the mystery / thriller version of one of those cheesy movies with too many celebrities. The original of course being Love Actually, eventually followed by lesser movies such as Valentines Day and the like. While this didn’t feel like there were too many characters, this was certainly a character driven psychological thriller. There are quite a few story lines going on here and it was a bit difficult for me to grasp at first. While the overall development of each character was done really well, I found their individuality to fall just short for me at a few points throughout this read.
And then the word came to her, the elusive word she’d been chasing through her thoughts. The look that Mr. Fitzwilliam had given. It has been predatory.
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again – I’m a pretty garbage detective for the most part but I did see the ending to this one coming from about the halfway mark. While I don’t think it necessarily detracted from my overall enjoyment of this read (because I gobbled this baby up in almost one sitting) I do wish there had been a few more surprises for the reader. However, that being said – this is definitely on the psychological side of thrillers and the shock value tends to be in the progression of the story instead of the “a-ha” moment at the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed this quick, fun and fast-paced story. Jewell has an incredible story-telling skill and the ability to create really well rounded, character driven novels. This is only my second novel by her but I have a few more I’ve picked up in the past year that I’m excited to read. Her popularity is definitely earned!
I completed this as a Traveling Sisters read and it was a real joy to read and discuss with others!
Given the number of mysteries I read, I’m always amazed to discover a popular author whose works have previously escaped me. But while I own an audiobook of her’s, I had yet to read or listen to anything by Lisa Jewell. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find out how much I enjoyed her upcoming book.
Joey returns to Bristol after four years away in Spain. She’s recently married but already unsure of her decision. She and her husband have moved in with her brother and sister in law. She becomes obsessed with an attractive older man that lives two doors down.
There are so many moving parts to this book as it’s told from multiple viewpoints. It also incorporates police transcripts as a way to move the plot along. You’re really kept on your toes. Who has been murdered and why? And what a strange group of people. We’ve got stalkers and conspiracy nuts and that’s just the adults. Lots of teenage angst thrown in as well.
Who is Tom Fitzwilliams really? Women want him and men want to be like him, as they say. He reminds me of the story of the blind men and the elephant. Everyone knows pieces of him but no one knows the entire person. As each tries to learn more about him, the story picks up its pace. This book really kept me in its thrall. Great ending which I didn’t see coming at all.
My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.
Next stop.....Legoland.......where missing pieces are apparent and connections are complicated until the very end.
Bristol, England is home to Melville Heights housing upscale abodes of professional doctors, lawyers, and academics. One would not envision murder on the horizon here. But Lisa Jewell cracks the kitchen door open wide enough to reveal a body lying in a pool of blood. Not many Lego pieces to attach yet, except for a red suede tassel on the floor.....so out of place.
Prepare yourself for a bevy of characters pieced together while residing in close proximity to one another. Lisa Jewell refrains from giving too much back story on her residents as the story unfolds. Jewell does reveal a fascination that each individual has for observing and noticing the daily comings and goings of such residents. Some more transfixed than others. What exactly is the thread that will tie these people together in a complicated knot?
Joey and her husband, Alfie, are unexpected newly weds who have moved into the upper floor of Joey's brother's home. Jack welcomes them and his wife, Rebecca who is expecting, seems a bit aloof. Joey eventually has her eye on Tom Fitzwilliam, an academic problem-solver, who lives across the way with his wife and son, Freddie. Freddie is poised at his bedroom window observing every action. Jenna, teenager, is constantly reeling in her mother who is nervously obsessed by the fact that someone is watching them. As readers, we must sort through the watchers and the watchees.
If you've read Lisa Jewell before, you know that she doesn't make it easy. And if you've ever stepped on a Lego piece in the dark while barefoot........it's gonna get your attention. Yes, indeed!
4 smart and suspenseful stars! And happy pub day! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Even though I own most of her backlist, this is the first Lisa Jewell book I’ve read, and Watching You was an ideal first read from the author!
Melville Heights is a quaint neighborhood in Bristol, England. It consists of several colorfully-painted Victorian homes overlooking the city. Melville Heights reminded me of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco, and I immediately imagined that type of setting because it was described so well. Everyone in Melville Heights is carrying a burden…a secret that could rock worlds. But the best, creepiest part and how the book got its title? Everyone in Melville Heights is watching you and each other.
There is an extraordinary cast of well-developed characters, such as Joey Mullen who lives with her husband, brother and sister-in-law, and has recently lost her mother. There’s also the charming, walks-on-water, Tom Fitzwilliam, the head teacher who champions school turnarounds and manages to easily attract women and teenage girls, yes those whom he is teaching, with his “dad bod.” Freddie, Tom’s teenage son, is quirky and has eyes on the whole city from his parents’ attic.
As the book opens, a woman has been murdered in Melville Heights, but we don’t know who, why, or what happened? We hear from multiple characters as the timeline goes forward in time eventually landing on the fateful day of the murder in March, along with short narratives from the police interrogation interviews interspersed throughout. I loved that particular structure. It kept me guessing and led to a great handle on each of the characters.
Overall, Watching You is a super eerie, well-written, suspenseful read. The short chapters, well-developed, complex characters, and interesting setting boosted my investment, and I devoured this delicious book in twenty-four hours. I’ll definitely be making time for Jewell’s backlist now!
Thank you to Atria Books for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
What a terrific book! I certainly did not expect such a suspenseful and dramatic story. This is a book that all psychological suspense lovers need to pick up today for a great reading ride.
The storyline revolves around several main characters whose lives are all entwined in different ways which made the story rich with a subdued suspense peaking towards the end so I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation and I was rewarded with so many more tasty morsels than I could have imagined. The story begins with a murder and then heads back a few months to familiarize the reader with the characters and the lives they are leading. This was such a well-written book that I didn't want to put it down and couldn't wait to find out more about each and every well-developed character. There is family drama, a pregnancy, a few teenagers, mental instability, anger, obsession, jealousy, angst and many other fun attributes which made for great storytelling. This is a wonderful "Who Done It" book that grabs on to you and won't let go.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and only have good things to say about the wonderful and creative writing by Lisa Jewell. This story had me hooked from the prologue until the well-done ending. This book was a WoW! The author did something different with this book right from the beginning where I thought I had figured everything out and then I was hit with a shocker of an ending. A terrific unexpected twist. Well Done Lisa Jewell!
I have given a rating of 5 Impressive 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Stars!!
I highly recommend this suspenseful story to all readers who enjoy mystery, suspense or thrillers!
I want to thank Lisa Jewell, Netgally and Atria Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my unbiased and honest opinion!
They watch, they wait, they hide, they creep, and they keep looking They watch, they observe, they spy, they follow, and all the time they are hidden They watch, they stop and lurk in the dark, but no one knows why, and no one knows who their neighbours really are !!!
And in a small village of Melville, everyone appears to have a secret, everyone is watching someone, and most of the residents are linked in some way, they just don’t know it yet. They are all ‘Watchers’ but only one will resort to murder and only through time will we know how they are connected as Lisa Jewell builds the suspense gradually a layer at a time throughout the book.
Most of the action takes place in the village and the people living at No 14, the blue house, no 16, the yellow house and at Bellevue still visible to the heights. Yet buried somewhere in the dark tangled roots of the Lake District is the key that could unlock the strange darkness at the heart of many of the families. And for many of them they painfully learn that “If you're with the right people then you're generally in the right place.”
This is possibly my favourite Lisa Jewell book, and yes even ahead of ‘Then She Was Gone’ and ‘The Night She Disappeared’. The story took place in a small part of the village and yet it didn’t feel constrained, the story was largely character driven but the plot was amazing. The story weaved in and out of the different life stories of each character but still had purpose, flow and intent as the tension increased constantly. Lisa Jewell is gifted at building suspense and a superb psychological crime writer.
We also have some important themes and topics woven and integral to the story which were dealt with so sensitively such as Asperger's syndrome, the grooming of young girls by a predator who also happens to be the headmaster, suicide, and infidelity (amongst others).
A tense, secretive and twisty story that had me guessing until the end.
This is my third Lisa Jewell book and she continues to impress me. I love how addictive, fast paced and gripping her novels are. I just can’t seem to put them down once I start the first chapter. Her storylines are current, suspenseful and highly intriguing.
There are several characters in this book, all are well developed with perfectly timed introductions, leaving no room for confusion. The plot largely focuses on Josephine (Joey) Mullen who lives with her new husband in her brother and sister-in-laws’ house in a well-respected neighbourhood. They are trying to find steady jobs and get settled before finding a place of their own. We meet several of their neighbours, with chapters alternating between many of their perspectives. Each perspective brought a new layer of suspense and allure, each with a hint of secrecy that could possibly connect the intricate pieces of this puzzle together. The title says it all – “Watching You” – this applies to many scenarios throughout this fast paced and highly addictive novel.
This was a Traveling Sister read that was a hit for everyone! I recommend getting your hands on a copy of this title along with any others you can find by this author. I look forward to reading more from her. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit our blog at:
Lisa Jewell does it again!! She nailed it with this one and satisfied the anticipation we had here with Watching You! She has written another well-layered story in her traditional way of layering those clues and reveals at just the right time but this time with a little bit of a different twist here to that. She maintained creating that suspense she is a master at but left that final reveal right up to the end. Now there were some clues there and normally I pick up on Jewell’s clues but this time around I found they were hidden in the layers. When I read that reveal and what came after I was left jumping out of my chair yelling “Wow I didn’t see that coming”.
Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Lisa Jewell for a copy to read and review
This is the second book I've read by this author and I have to say I have become a huge fan of her!
4.5 watching stars!
A cozy picture perfect neighborhood with bright colors that makes anyone want to live on this street. Behind closed doors... someone is watching and is watching always.
Joey and her husband Alfie have recently moved in with her brother to help get their lives sorted. Joey I feel like is going through something as she stumbles across her neighbor Tom Fitzwilliam. Tom is the headmaster of the local school and lives with his wife and son Freddie. Joey becomes OBSESSED with Tom... watching his every move and somehow trying to come up ways to run into him.
Sadly, someone is found murdered in this cozy neighborhood. Who is to blame and why? Everyone is forming their own opinions and a darkness is hiding behind one of these homes. A darkness that NO ONE will expect.
This book was fantastic. It was so addicting and kept me intrigued the entire story. Sometimes if there are too many characters... I tend to get confused. But Lisa Jewell did a very nice job painting each character and how in the end the stories were brilliantly interwoven with each of the characters.
I spot the final twist and murderer but the author gives you small hints that are played out nicely. This only intrigued me more to find out if I was right! :)
AND... that final final twist in the last page was just epic! :)
I highly recommend this novel!
Huge thank you to Atria and Netgalley who provided an arc in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Publication date: 12/26/18 Published to GR: 11/18/18
I've been pushing myself to read for a bit over a year. This book actually made me want to read. It had nosey neighbors, a bad thing that happened,twists done actually right and some flawed ass characters that you can't look away from....so much juicy goodness.
That's all the review you getting from me on this one. I'm going to go bask in my book hangover.