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The Widow by Fiona Barton Review

Title: The Widow

Author: Fiona Barton

First published January 14, 2016

324 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781101990261 (ISBN10: 1101990260)

Rating: 3.5


As the wife of a suspected criminal, Jean Taylor had to put on a facade to protect herself and her husband. But now that he’s gone, she’s ready to reveal the secrets she’s been keeping for years.

Living with a man like him was never easy, but Jean always stood by him, even when it meant enduring endless harassment and judgement from society. But now, Jean has a chance to tell her side of the story.

She can finally reveal the truth behind her husband’s actions and the secrets that haunted their marriage. Everyone wants to know what really happened, and Jean is ready to share her tale.

But as she begins to speak, the question remains: can she be trusted?

About the Author

Over the years, my career has taken many unexpected paths. I’ve worked as a journalist for various publications, including the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, and The Mail on Sunday.

During my time at The Mail on Sunday, I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards. However, I eventually felt a calling to volunteer in Sri Lanka, and since then, I’ve been training and working with journalists who face threats in their home countries.

Throughout my career, I’ve always had a story brewing in my mind. It all started when I was covering notorious crimes and trials as a national newspaper journalist.

I became curious about what the wives of the accused knew about their husbands’ actions – or what they allowed themselves to know.

Eventually, I left my journalism career to pursue writing full-time. I turned my fascination with the idea of a missing child into a novel, which is narrated by four characters: the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the investigation, the journalist covering the case, and the mother of the victim.

To my surprise and delight, this book – The Widow – is now available in the UK and will soon be released worldwide.

However, the characters in my first novel have fallen silent, and I feel a need to tell another story. These days, my husband and I live a peaceful life in southwest France.

I spend my mornings writing in bed, with the only distraction being our rooster, Sparky, crowing outside.

Editoral Review

Fiona Barton’s debut novel, The Widow, is a gripping psychological thriller that explores the inner workings of a marriage and the devastating fallout from a tragedy. Barton is a seasoned journalist, and her experience shines through in her meticulous research and attention to detail.

Published in January 2016, The Widow is a contemporary example of a genre that has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. The novel’s plot revolves around the disappearance of a young girl named Bella, whose body is never found.

The prime suspect is her neighbor, Glen Taylor, whose wife, Jean, is convinced of his innocence. The narrative oscillates between past and present, and multiple narrators provide insights into the characters’ motivations and secrets.

The novel is set in England, and Barton deftly captures the nuances of the country’s social hierarchy and media landscape. The Widow’s strengths lie in its complex characters and subtle commentary on gender roles and power dynamics.

Barton resists the temptation to portray Jean as a victim or Glen as a monster; instead, she portrays them as flawed and multifaceted individuals whose actions are shaped by their upbringing and societal pressures. The novel also raises questions about the media’s responsibility in shaping public opinion and exploiting tragedy for profit.

However, the novel’s pacing can be slow at times, and some readers may find the multiple narrators and flashbacks confusing. Additionally, the conclusion may not satisfy all readers, as it leaves some questions unanswered.

Despite these limitations, The Widow is a compelling read that will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. Barton’s writing is crisp and engaging, and her characters are vividly realized.

The novel’s themes of grief, betrayal, and redemption are universal, and its exploration of the dark underbelly of suburban life is both timely and relevant. Overall, I recommend The Widow to anyone looking for a well-written and thought-provoking thriller.

It is a promising debut that showcases Barton’s talent as a writer and journalist. I give it a rating of four out of five stars.