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The Widow

by Fiona Barton

The Widow by Fiona Barton X
The Widow by Fiona Barton
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  • Published Feb 2016
    336 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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There are currently 24 member reviews
for The Widow
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  • Barbara E. (Rockville, MD)
    The Widow
    What a fabulous book! This is a real page-turner about the recently widowed spouse of a suspected child kidnapper/murderer. Did he do it? What did the wife know and when? Who is Jean Taylor? These questions permeate this work. Jean Taylor's story begins in the present and is narrated throughout in the first person. She takes us back through the past 4 years in her life and her marriage. The stories of the other players in the narrative, the detective who investigates the case of Bella Elliot and the reporter who scores the exclusive interview with the widow, are told in the third person. It is an effective literary device, making Jean's story very personal and intimate. The ending is not terribly surprising but it delivers quite an emotional punch nonetheless. I highly recommend this book. I found it hard to put down once I started reading it. The writing and narrative are effective and compelling.
  • Susan H. (Chappaqua, NY)
    not an easy read!
    Reading about children in difficult situations is very difficult for me ... that said the mystery is well written if you can deal with the subject matter.
  • Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)
    Intriguing and different
    I did really like this book. I thought the writing was very good and set the tempo and definitely built the mystery. I was engaged the whole time. I thought the ending was fabulous...definitely unexpected. A throughly enjoyable book!
  • Robert S. (Henderson, NV)
    The Voices of Tragedy
    Is it possible to bring a fresh approach to yet another story about the abduction of a young child and the search for the guilty? Fiona Barton provides a resounding "Yes" to that question in "The Widow". This thoughtful novel, which revolves around the horrific crime, is really an exploration of relationships. At the center is the relationship between the alleged perpetrator, Glen, and his wife, Jean who is the widow in the book's title. Page by page Jean's love and respect for her husband turns to suspicion, resentment and finally hatred. The author also examines relationships between Jean and the reporter, Jean and the detective and the detective and reporter. What a tangled web. Each of the relationships evolves until reaching some form of resolution in which the characters achieve a sense of peace from the affliction of the offense.

    Of its many strengths the novel's greatest attribute is its compelling structure. Chapter by chapter the author alternates narrator and time. At various points the story is delivered by the widow, detective and reporter each with his own agenda, emotion and voice and each with his own perspective of the crime that binds them. To this technique the author adds a non-linear narrative with the effect that the primary story line and its context are creatively intertwined. The novel begins close to the end of the story's timeline, four years following the crime and shortly after Glen's death. In the pages that follow the story shifts back and forth from the period of the crime, the days and months thereafter and the period of Glen's passing.

    The author skillfully employs these techniques, the use of multiple voices and movements in time, to layer the story so that as the book unfolds the past constantly informs the future and the future gives depth to the past. The author protects against confusion from this somewhat disjointed flow by introducing each chapter identifying the narrator and time frame for the pages that follow.

    The prose creates a puzzle with each chapter being a piece. As each chapter concludes another piece is added to the puzzle, and the picture becomes clearer. But not until the last piece is added, being the large center piece, is the picture fully realized.

    "The Widow" is engaging stimulating literary fiction of a high order. The characters are complete and well drawn, each with his own backstory that explains motivation, behavior and attitude. The plot has texture and suspense. The prose is interesting and thoughtful. All in all "The Widow" is a very good read. Highly recommended.
  • Carol S. (Vienna, VA)
    Somewhere between Good and Average
    The Widow, by Fiona Barton, raises a question that is sure to make the reader uncomfortable: how well do you really know the person with whom you live? Is your spouse really the ideal husband, or is he a twisted soul fighting to maintain a veneer of the socially accepted? That question alone will keep the reader engaged in the book.

    Jean's husband was accused of the unspeakable crime with the disappearance of a little two year old girl. Evidence based on the presence of his blue delivery van in the area is all, at first that ties him to the crime. Jean can't even entertain the thought that he may be involved.

    But....when her husband dies, Jean changes from the biggest advocate and protector to something else. It turns out that Jean has been hiding secrets as well. She has developed a spooking interest in little children herself. And she finds an affiliation with the police charged with finding the little girl.

    In the end, one ponders the cause and effect of the actions that the couple takes, individually and collectively.

    This psychological thriller is well written. I don't think that the plot was as intricate, or as nuanced, as the Girl on the Train. The subject is intriguing and worthy of thought.
  • Colleen L. (Casco, ME)
    Fast Paced Thriller
    Fiona Barton has written a fast paced thriller that will keep you entertained till the very end. The author does an excellent job segmenting each chapter into a different character's viewpoint. The reader is given clues & led to the eventual conclusion. I love mysteries where you are unable to predict what happens, however, so I gave the book a '4' because I had figured out both 'secrets' at the end. What I loved about the book is that it piqued my interest from the first page and held my attention till the very last. All in all, a very satisfying and enjoyable read.
  • Phyllis R. (Rochester Hills, MI)
    Compelling,but NOT a psychological thriller
    I cannot agree with Lisa Gardner that "this is the ultimate psychological thriller!" However, I can agree it is a dark, intimate tale of a terrible crime." It is a fast, easy read told from the POV of The Reporter, The Widow, and The Detective in alternating chapters.

    The setting is in Hampshire somewhere in Great Britain and uses many English terms, such as blokes, Gents, and tea. Recommended for a quick enjoyable winter afternoon.

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