Monday, 1 August 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way


Review of Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Watching Edie by Camilla Way (HarperCollins) was published on Thursday 28th July and I meant to post this review before that, but I'm afraid I got pretty busy (cough, publishing my own book, cough), so I've only now just got round to it. I wanted to crack on with this review though as Watching Edie was one of the most gripping but also unsettling thrillers I've ever read.

It's a tale of friendship gone sour and the mistakes of youth catching up with you.

Publisher's Blurb:


Edie is the friend that Heather has always craved. But one night, it goes terrifyingly wrong. And what started as an innocent friendship ends in two lives being destroyed.

Sixteen years later, Edie is still rebuilding her life. But Heather isn't ready to let her forget so easily. It's no coincidence that she shows up when Edie needs her most.

Edie or Heather?
Heather or Edie?

Someone has to pay for what happened, but who will it be?"

So far, so Single White Female, that's what I was thinking a few pages into the book. An awkward girl becoming dangerously obsessed with her prettier, more confident friend. And when Heather appears just as Edie is struggling with post-natal depression, to take control of not just Edie's daughter but her life, it seemed pretty clear that the plot was following a tried and tested route. I was enjoying reading it but was settled in for a predictable ending.

But then Camilla Way pulled the rug out from under my feet.

That's the magic of this book; you think you know what's happening and what the characters are like, then something is revealed and you're looking at the story from a whole different angle. Then, just as you think you've got the hang of it, something changes again and once more you don't know what the truth is or who to trust.

Alexandra Burt, author of Little Girl Gone, described the ending of Watching Edie as, "as twisty as it is inevitable" and I think this is an excellent description. It's a shock and certainly not what I was expecting at the beginning, but once you find out it seems the only thing that makes sense and has a horrid inevitability to it.

The characters really intrigued me in this book, especially Edie and Heather. Like the plot, they seem at first predictable and fairly two dimensional, but as the story continues they both develop deeper and more complex personalities.

I didn't particularly like either character, and sometimes it's hard to carry on reading a book where you don't connect. But with this story I could actually feel a lot of what they felt, but I didn't necessarily agree with how they handled it or their inner thought process. In the end they're real characters, with flaws and secrets.

I enjoyed Way's descriptions, which in places were a mixture of the beautiful and the mundane and often ugly reality.

"A damp autumn breeze trails its fingers through the long grass and the sky's as thick and grey as spat-out chewing gum."

She also writes insightfully about anxiety and depression; especially the post-natal depression that Edie experiences. She also captures the shock of recovery, and the terror that it won't last.

"And how frightened I am that this small reprieve is only temporary; that whatever it was is waiting to claim me again, and that there's nothing I'll be able to do to stop it."

Despite an unsettling feel throughout the whole book, or rather because of it, I read this very quickly, in one night actually. I haven't been that swept up in a book for a long time and that was a joy, but it didn't leave me with a joyous feeling. Watching Edie deals with the darker aspects of human nature and society, and it left the book equivalent of an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

My Review: 4 Stars

I was kindly given an advance copy to review by the publisher via NetGalley.

Review of Watching Edie by Camilla Way

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