Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Book Review: WATCHING EDIE by Camilla Way

Watching Edie

 Watching Edie
Author: Camilla Way
Publisher: Harper Collins
Read: August 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads):

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…

My thoughts:

At thirty-three, Edie realises that her life has not turned out how she had dreamed it would. Living on her own in a dingy little apartment that has little going for it except a lovely view over the city, she counts down the days to the birth of her baby. In fact, being pregnant is the only good thing in Edie’s life, even though the father is a married man who doesn’t even know about the child. But being a new single mother is more difficult than Edie has expected, and she finds herself totally overcome by fatigue and post-natal depression, worried she won’t be able to care for her baby daughter any more. Estranged from her family there is no one to turn to, until one day Heather turns up on her doorstep. Heather, who used to be her best friend in high school, until a traumatic event ripped them apart, making Edie never want to see her again. Tired, lonely and depressed, Edie invites Heather to move into her home. Soon Heather is firmly entrenched in her life, running the household and looking after the baby. But is Heather really to be trusted? Or will the events of the past repeat themselves?

Watching Edie is the story of a dysfunctional friendship between two women, and it was interesting to see how the author slowly let the story unfold through both friends’ eyes – with Edie recounting the present and Heather telling the story of their past. Not knowing what the event in their past actually was, but realising it was something bad enough to destroy a friendship and two families, the reader will fear for Edie as Heather moves into Edie’s flat and slowly takes control of her life.

To be honest, I didn’t like either woman very much. I know that unlikeable characters are all the rage these days, but often this only manages to spoil the reading experience, as there is no one to connect with emotionally or care for. Whilst Edie initially seemed like someone to connect with, she never really acquired any depth as a main protagonist. This made it difficult to understand her somewhat strange decisions at times, and diluted some of the sense of mystery and suspense as things start going wrong in her life. Heather, on the other hand, is portrayed as a social misfit and somewhat unlikeable character from the start, which made her interesting and a bit creepy but also not someone you could easily bond with. I especially disliked Connor, who was the stereotypical bad-boy and never even pretended otherwise or tried to hide his true character – a bit of subtlety may have worked better here and add an aspect of psychological suspense.

What I did like was the constant undercurrent of danger and menace underlying the story.  In my opinion this could have been exploited a bit more, especially in some of the domestic scenes involving Edie, Heather and the baby as well as later in the book, as Edie starts to mistrust Heather’s intentions. It was this escalating sense of danger which kept me interested and reading on. The strange dynamic of the women’s friendship is well portrayed and rings true, leading the reader to expect the worst from their sudden reunion. I also liked that the author tried to add something different and unexpected to the story and overturn preformed misconceptions with the twist at the end – however, the events were too obviously added to shock and repel and again subtlety may have worked better for me here.

All in all an enjoyable and quick read, but one I felt did not quite live up to its full potential.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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