It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting —the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn't tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.
Born and raised in West Germany in the 1950s, Monika Jephcott Thomas saw first-hand the brutal aftermath of WWII, for families and for German society. Her father returned from a Soviet prisoner of war camp - where only 400 out of 8,000 soldiers survived - when she was four years old; he was a stranger to her compared to the war hero her young imagination had designed. Themes of resilience and sacrifice pervade The Watcher and Jephcott Thomas hopes they will serve as a reminder to readers at a time of growing international instability.
A stunning and emotional portrayal of family life after the devastation of the Second World War, The Watcher is both a stand alone novel and a sequel to Monika Jephcott Thomas’ debut novel, Fifteen Words, which was published in 2016, and is the perfect accompaniment this winter for historical and commercial fiction readers.