Edie is in her 30s, lives alone, works as a waitress and is pregnant. Hers is an unremarkable life, except for the horrific secret she keeps buried in her past. Edie has all but erased that moment by cutting off contact with her mother, moving far from her sleepy hometown and, most importantly, not speaking with Heather—her best friend who was also involved—for 17 years. But when Edie suffers from severe postpartum depression, she becomes physically incapable of caring for the baby. When Heather unexpectedly appears at Edie’s side, offering to move in and help with little Maya, Edie knows that for the sake of her daughter, she cannot refuse. As she emerges from the haze of her depression, her fears return. What does Heather want, and why has she returned after all this time?
A teenage Heather narrates passages that take place before the incident, while Edie recounts chapters occurring in the present. As the narrative voices alternate, the reader’s loyalty to Edie waxes and wanes. Present-day Edie has lost some of her spark; she is more reserved than her teenage self, but is kind and intelligent. Her fear of Heather is absolute and visceral, and author Camilla Way adeptly transfers this paranoia to the page and the reader. But high school-aged Heather is also a sympathetic character. Awkward and anxious, her devotion to beautiful, confident Edie is understandable. Heather’s strangeness and unpopularity are skillfully written as pathetic yet relatable.
Way proves to be an expert at setting narrative traps, providing enough information for readers to make inferences and assumptions, but stealthily holding back the key elements as long as possible. While much psychological suspense has focused on spousal relationships, Watching Edie thoughtfully explores female friendships and betrayal. A compelling voice in suspense fiction, Way keeps readers guessing throughout this smart, taut psychological thriller.