Book Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

“You think you’re safe. But what if someone’s watching you?”

Published in 2018, Watching You by Lisa Jewell is set in Melville Heights, one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, 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 neighbour, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenage 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.

Rating:

Lisa Jewell’s books are usually some of my favourites, but very occasionally I find them rather average. And unfortunately, Watching You falls into the average category.

The story goes back and forth between multiple characters as you’re made to question who is innocent/a victim and who has a more sinister motive at play. I like the idea of not knowing who to trust, but I couldn’t engage with the characters very well due to constant switching of narratives and not knowing whose side to be on.

However, I definitely think that my choice to listen to this as an audiobook had something to do with my disinterest in the story, as it didn’t capture the creepy sense of being watched, which is what left me most underwhelmed. I think I will have to [physically] read it again one day to give it another shot.

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