Heather was an overweight, friendless 16-year old, an academic achiever with strict parents who had moved to the good side of a rather grim English town. Heather struggled to fit in, hiding a secret from her past that she could barely bring herself to think about, never mind talk about, and is shunned by her classmates. So when new arrival Edie, one of the cool girls and a budding artist, is happy to be her friend she’s surprised and becomes besotted with her.
But Edie, who lives with her sick, disinterested mother and hasn’t seen her father for years, has fallen for bad boy Connor. It’s not long before Edie is in all kinds of trouble, with drugs, alcohol and her increasingly abusive relationship with Connor. Heather tries to help Edie by hatching an escape plan but this only leads to a terrible event that destroys their lives.
More than a decade later and neither of the girls have seen each other since they both left town following the event, and still their lives are broken. Now in her thirties, Edie is pregnant but she’s not in touch with the father and she can’t cope. She soon spirals into a nightmare of postnatal depression when out of nowhere Heather is back in her life. At first Heather’s help is welcome but as Edie seems to be getting her life together and putting their past behind her, it seems that Heather can never forget.
Watching Edie is a chilling story of two friends with a shared and shameful past that has each of them in their clutches and won’t let go. Each chapter is entitled ‘before’ and ‘after’, with Heather narrating the ‘before’ chapters and Edie the ‘after’ chapters. They’re superbly blended together so that the reader is always engaged in both stories.
Way carefully withholds information from the reader via her two characters’ narrations, revealing only that something terribly sinister happened one night at the end of their youth and teasing the story out so that we’re on the edge of our seats, wanting to find out what the girls are escaping from and what is to become of them. It reveals how wrongly judgmental we can be of others before we know them and how trust and mistrust can be so wrongly applied.
Camilla Way was born in south-east London. Her father was the poet and author Peter Way. After attending Woolwich College she studied Modern English and French Literature at the University of Glamorgan. Formerly an editor on the men’s style magazine Arena, Camilla Way is now a freelance writer and novelist, once again living in south-east London. Watching Edie is her second novel.