Title: Watching You
Author: Lisa Jewell
You’re back home after four years working abroad with a brand new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now, you’re living with your big brother, camped out in his spare bedroom. And then – quite unexpectedly – you meet the man next door.
He’s the head teacher of the local high school. He’s twice your age. And he’s devastatingly attractive. Soon you find you’re watching him. All the time. But what you don’t know is that someone is watching you. Or that what has started as an innocent crush is quickly turning into an obsession as dark as it is deadly.
Watching You managed to be, for me anyway, many things at once – it had an air of mystery to it, but it also felt like it was very much about the relationships of certain characters, and why they felt the way they did.
There are some surprising and/ or important (albeit uncomfortable at times) themes included in this novel – from paedophilia and affairs to mental health and parent-child relationships. I felt that the plot itself was a really good read, although I can see what other reviewers mean when they feel that there’s too many characters. At times I admit I did get a bit confused as to who was who and how they related to other people. However, each character has their own interesting backstory and I really enjoyed reading about them all. What I probably enjoyed most about this novel, though, and what set it apart from other similar reads, is that it really surprised me in terms of who I as the reader – and also the characters in the book – was completely wrong about. You get so used to feeling suspicious of everyone in mystery/ suspense novels, but in Watching You, some people were actually a surprise – in a good way!
I’m going to leave this review here as I don’t want to spoil the story, but I definitely felt that this had less of a mystery ‘whodunnit’ feel to it than some of Lisa Jewell’s other novels – and, surprisingly (as someone who loves that element of mystery), I didn’t mind at all! I enjoyed watching the development of the characters and the bit of mystery was an added bonus! It perhaps wasn’t as much of a gripping, stay-up-all-night-reading-just-one-more-chapter book as some of her other reads, but I’d definitely still recommend it.