I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to feel. Is this normal? He’s an adult. He’s twice my age. There’s no way … No. There’s no way. But, OH GOD. I wish there was.
Dear diary, I think I’m in love with my English teacher. . .
ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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…
MY THOUGHTS: This was such a good read, a great read. Lisa Jewell always manages to suck me in, plays with my mind, has me suspecting everyone but the right one, and she has done it again with Watching You, which turned into something very different from what I was expecting.
There is a wonderful cast of characters – Tom Fitzwilliam, the man everyone loves, except for one or two crazy ladies. . . His wife Nicola who never quite fits in, anywhere. . . their son Freddie, in training to be a spy and who chronicles the movements of all the neighbours; Josephine who feels that perhaps she wasn’t quite ready for the marriage she made to Alfie and who develops a crush on Tom; her brother Jack, eminently successful surgeon and expecting his first child with wife Rebecca, and with whom Joey and Alfie live. Then there’s Tom’s pupils, Beth who also has a huge crush on Tom, and her best friend Jenna who may just be showing signs of the paranoia that afflicts her mum. What a wonderful melting pot!
If there was ever a case to be built for the adage ‘until you have seen it with your own eyes, don’t believe it’, it is here. Jewell has, as always, written a superb page turner that kept me hooked from beginning to end.
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.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Atria Books via Netgalley for providing me with a digital extract ARC of Watching You by Lisa Jewell. I was so engaged in the story I acquired the audiobook version narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, published by Random House Audiobooks, which I listened to via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2604601353