A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, February 25, 2019

Watching You by Lisa Jewell- Feature and Review


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…



Watching YouWatching You by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels, including The Girls in the Garden, The House We Grew Up In, and The Third Wife. To find out more, visit Facebook.com/LisaJewellOfficial, or follow her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK

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