Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Widow by Fiona Barton

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The Widow by Fiona Barton
Genre: Crime Thriller, Mystery & Suspense, General Fiction, Adult

Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers/Bantam Press (Jan, 2016)
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Pages: 320

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER. "The ultimate psychological thriller". (Lisa Gardner). We've all seen him: the man - the monster - staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime. But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs - the wife who stands by him? Jean Taylor's life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she'd ever wanted: her Prince Charming. Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil. But now Glen is dead and she's alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms. Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows. Du Maurier's REBECCA meets WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and GONE GIRL in this intimate tale of a terrible crime. "My book of the year so far". (C. L. Taylor, author of THE LIE).

My Thoughts:
The Widow the debut offering from Fiona Barton is an 'easy-read' crime suspense thriller about the abduction of a little girl from her own front garden. Set in Hampshire, (United Kingdom) it also visits other locations such as Southampton, Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport during the course of the book. Originating from the Portsmouth area myself, I found it intriguing to read a novel set in and around places I know pretty well.

The sole narrative written in the first person is that of the widow, which sets her apart from the other characters giving her focus and a sense of alienation from everyone else.  The rest of the narratives are all in the third person and include that of, the detective, the reporter, the mother and the husband. They have their own space in the form of short individual chapters so there's no confusion of who's speaking or losing your place.

Told through these narratives in a shifting of time, back and forwards The Widow commences with the death of 'the husband' and during the course of the book the truth tantalisingly seeps out, but not without several nice twists and turns along the way. The tension held throughout and I didn't feel cheated by a 'meh' ending which I feared it might have, and even when the fate of the little girl is divulged I eagerly continued turning the pages as fast as I could to get the conclusion.

I am not sure if I was supposed to find any of the characters likeable or feel sympathetic toward them, but for me only 'the detective' had any real sense of humanity or likeable traits, but what I did do was find myself questioning the whole media and police detection processes and how the general public view victims and suspects and apportioning blame and guilt. The Widow certainly made me feel a little uncomfortable about certain areas of our lives, especially our relationships via social media.

I had only intended to do a quick skim of the pages for recommendation purposes at our bookstore but I couldn't stop reading it.  A pleasant surprise after hearing that it would be 'another', 'the next' 'The Girl on the Train' or 'Gone Girl', which it isn't. It's different apart from its simplicity of its narrative style. However it may well be the next 'The Girl on The Train' in terms of success, I have no doubt.

It is important to mention, due to the subject matter, that there are no graphic scenes of violence or abuse and safe for readers who are uncomfortable with such descriptions. The Widow is an entertaining thought provoking, compelling read which I highly recommended.

Disclaimer: A complementary copy of The Widow by Fiona Barton was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest unbiased review.

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