Where, oh where do I begin? I have to be honest, this is a hard review for me to write, but for a very good reason. I usually begin by setting the scene, dropping hints as to what happens, but it is hard to do this with ‘Watching Edie’ for reasons which would become apparent as you read the book.
On a very basic level, Edie is a young woman, living alone in a small flat in London, pregnant and overwhelmed by a very uncertain future. She had dreams of attending Art college when she was younger, but bad choices left those dreams in tatters, leading Edie to run from her life and head South for a new start.
Sixteen years later, when Edie feels she has hit rock bottom, her post-natal depression making it hard for her to bond with her new baby daughter Maya, Heather, a face from Edie’s past, arrives on her doorstep, keen to offer Edie her support and to reignite a friendship she thought she had lost years ago. Because something terrible happened when they were teenagers, the same something which caused Edie to flee all those years ago.
And that is all I will say as to explain more would be to give too much away. Watching Edie is a tense thriller, and from the very outset it is clear that Edie has a very big secret, that something disturbing happened. There is an unspoken tension between Edie and Heather which is never discussed, but which simmers away nicely, adding to developing sense of foreboding that something bad is going to happen.
Told in an alternating voice from the points of view of both Edie and Heather, Edie’s voice is set in the present, characterised by her decent into the post-natal depression, and her underlying mistrust of Heather’s reasons for turning back up in her life. Heather takes us on a journey to the past, to a point where she developed such a reliance upon her friendship with Edie, that is clearly obsessive, adding further menace to the present. It is hard to trust Heather, all hints throughout the story, whether from Heather herself, or from Edie, that she is not entirely ‘normal’, whatever that means. And as the tension and threat builds, her Heather’s slower, morose kind of persona adds a chilling dimension to the story.
The pace in this story is slow to build, the tension ratcheting up with each chapter, until you get to a very shocking, and for most people, unforeseen ending. You will not know who to trust, will find yourself questioning your instincts and, although it is clear that something terrible has happened, you will be left not knowing who the victim is until the very end. And it’s a shocker. Not gratuitous in the telling, but still as chillingly brutal in what is implied and the reality of what happened that fateful night at Wrexham Quarry.
Camilla Way has created a very compelling, suspenseful read. You will find yourself having to read on. It is a very effective, multi-faceted look into the very heart of obsession, how the heart and the mind can be clouded by love to a point where it can only bring pain.
A very thrilling, didn’t-see-it-coming 5 stars.
My thanks to Net Galley and publishers Harper Collins UK for the advance copy of ‘Watching Edie’ by Camilla Way in exchange for my review.
Watching Edie is available to order here: