Review: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell
Publication date: December 26, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Adult
Format: Audio (10 hrs 50 min)
Source: OverDrive



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…

M Y   T H O U G H T S

I seriously love Lisa Jewell’s brand of mystery/thriller. Maybe because they are less thriller and more domestic drama/character study with a mystery woven into the mix. And Jewell manages to combine all of those elements so well.

Watching You starts with a crime scene – a murder. Only we don’t know who was murdered, or who did it, or why. I love a thriller that starts with a murder and then takes the reader back and allows the events to slowly unfold. You know what’s coming and it adds this feeling of being on the edge of your seat with the tension mounting chapter after chapter.  

There’s a wide and varied cast of characters that we follow in Melville Heights. Among them:
Tom: The charismatic headmaster at the local school.
Nicola: Tom’s much younger wife.
Freddie: Tom’s teenage son who watches everyone from his bedroom window.
Joey: A disillusioned 20-something, newly married and living with her older brother.
Alfie: Joey’s husband.
Jack: a successful surgeon and Joey’s brother.
Rebecca: Jack’s pregnant wife.
Jenna: A student at Tom’s school.

Told from multiple points of view, each character brings pieces of information that moves the story forward. Just as I started to make assumptions and form theories more information would come to light, forcing my perspective to shift again and again. By the second half of the book my feelings about some characters had completely reversed. Police interviews interspersed throughout the book provide even more information and give clues about where the investigation is heading.

In Melville, there are eyes everywhere. Always watching. But things are not always how they seem – and people are not always who they appear to be. And you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Or who is capable of murder. With hidden threads that formed unseen connections, the narrative was paced perfectly and delivered twists and turns that made for a totally addictive read. 

4.5/5 STARS


  1. This does sound like a good read but I know I'd flip straight to the end to find out who died and who did it, lol. I have no patience for reading things like this but I really wish I did. My mother however inhales mysteries/thrillers so I'll be passing this one on to her. :)

    1. Nooo! No cheating, Nicci! LOL That takes away all the fun. :)

  2. Great review, Tanya! This one was wild, wasn't it? It was my first time reading a novel from Jewell and I'm excited to try some of her others now.

    1. Yes! I was so sure I knew where it was going and then... plot twist! :)

  3. i love that she weaves mystery into a family drama type of plot. I really need to give her books a shot

    1. I love the way Jewell's mysteries are more character-based. I hope you'll enjoy it if you give it a try!

  4. I've been curious about this one, so I'm happy to see that you enjoyed it! It's always a good feeling when you find an additive book you don't want to put down -- ahh! Fun! I really like it when a mystery grips you until the very last page. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I do think I'll start with this one!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    1. I've been reading Lisa Jewell for almost 20 years - way back when she was one of the first authors writing "chick lit." Her writing has morphed over the years into family dramas and mysteries and they're always so compelling!

  5. I'm so glad to hear you loved this one! I really want to read it - hopefully soon.


    1. I hope you get to it soon, Lauren. I think you'd enjoy it!