Published: 6th April 2017
Started reading: March 20
Finished reading: March 25
Trigger warnings: Sexual content, rape, child death, drug use
Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.
Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…
But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most.
So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…
If you are looking for a light and cheerful read, then do not pick up this book! The plot is tragic throughout as it follows two troubled characters whose lives have been deeply affected by past events. It is a well-written and engaging story, and though it did not overwhelm me with excellence, it certainly held my interest.
Almost the whole book acts as a build-up towards the revelation at the end, where you find out the truth about the incident that came to define both characters’ lives. Every now and then it takes some interesting turns, and the writing was effective in making me believe some things, when in fact the opposite was true.
This is without question a character-driven story, and the reason why it is called Watching Edie. The chapters of the book alternate between the present day, narrated by Edie herself, and the past storyline told from the perspective of Heather, from when they were teenagers. Some chapters ended with cliffhangers, which made me compelled to read on.
The two storylines complimented each other well and carried a lot of intrigue about what would happen next, and how the plot would ultimately develop. The present day was slightly slower-paced and more atmospheric, although both are equally menacing.
Neither of the main characters were very likeable, but they were both extremely fascinating to read about. Heather is highly complex, and despite her obsession with Edie and some of the clearly flawed aspects of her personality, it was hard not to occasionally sympathise with her.
As for Edie, I was often questioning her actions, and it is clear to see from the beginning of the story just how much previous events had damaged her. Whereas in the past she was dynamic and outgoing, in the present day she is a misfit, lonely and unable to move on. The book always keeps you guessing at what led to such a drastic change.
The ending, where the book finally unravels after a lot of foreshadowing, is quite shocking and unsettling. It is here where the themes of obsession and betrayal are truly emphasised, and where most of the tension arrives. I would have liked to have felt more tension earlier on, even if a hint of threat was often present.
There were other things I liked, such as the supporting characters (especially Monica) and the sharp, descriptive writing style. On the negative side, I thought that some of the themes could have been explored in a bit more depth. It seemed like a couple of important issues were glossed over without much explanation.
Overall, this is a well-balanced and impressive thriller. The characters are vividly drawn, the writing is detailed while retaining a relatively fast pace, and the two storylines are both told engagingly as they build towards the sad and tragic conclusion.
The daughter of a writer and poet, Camilla Way studied Modern English and French Literature at Glamorgan University, and is now an editor for the men’s style magazine Bliss. This was her first thriller, and it was followed in 2018 by The Lies We Told.
Having lived in Bristol and Bath, she currently resides close to her birthplace in South-East London.
A powerful character-driven story with a very melancholy feel. It was a pretty good read.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5