I kept waiting for the " electrifying psychological thriller" this book claimed to be. I'm still waiting to be "thrilled". Didn't happen.
It was a psychological mystery about a whiny wife married to a domineering husband, who led her life only to please him. That is until a little girl disappears and she discovers her husband is a child cyber porn addict, suspected of the kidnapping.
The book alternates with past and present, and is told in various voices during the investigation of the crime.
This book, especially the ending was dark and disturbing and I was left with a bad taste.
One of the worst nightmares for a parent is to have a child abducted. This is such a story. It is told by the point of view of five different people.
THE MOTHER: Dawn, a young single mother, leaves her 2-year-old daughter alone outside "for just a minute".
THE POLICEMAN: Bob, who takes this case more seriously than any other case ever has. He's like a bull-dog, he will not turn loose, even when the big bosses tell him to. He will stay with the case until the very end.
THE HUSBAND/THE SUSPECT: Glen is the prime suspect. But there is no tangible proof. Glen is married, he is manipulative, he's a liar, but is he a pedophile?
THE WIDOW: Jean... Glen's wife, his widow now that Glen is dead. Married at a young age, childless, Glen is her whole life. He says JUMP, she JUMPS.
THE REPORTER: Kate, who knows there is much more to the widow's story. All she wants is the truth ... and an award winning expose.
The story actually starts with Glen's death. Not even a really spectacular death .. he loses his footing, falling into the path of a bus.
The story is played out in turn by the main characters, each remembering the time starting with an abduction and ending with Glen's death. Or is it really ended?
Fantastic story line. It kept me riveted, furiously trying to read faster to get to the end, yet dreading the time it would be finished.
It is so hard to believe that this was a debut novel. It's a dark and depressing look at a marriage that only works because Jean can keep secrets. But now that he's dead, maybe the truth will out.
The characters are wonderfully written, so believable. The ending was a surprise, and yet I can't imagine it ending any other way. Magnificent psychological thriller.
Many thank to the author / Berkley Publishing Group - NAL / NetGalley who furnished a digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Although the story was not as suspenseful as the overwrought blurbs lead me to believe, I still enjoyed this book. It was in fact more character study than thriller, a book in which the understated (and yes, sometimes flat) narration lends an even more disturbing quality to events. Jean, the widow of the title, comes under the closest scrutiny, as the reader follows her spiral from naive 17 year old to a widow who knows more, perhaps, than she's telling. Supporting characters--journalist Kate, distraught mother Dawn, and especially DI Sparkes--are all nicely done.
A problem for me here, and in many books of this type that I've read lately, was the confusing and ever-shifting timeline. Back and forth, here and there--what's wrong with just telling a straightforward linear story for once?
But as a whole, I liked this novel's deceptive simplicity, and would read more from Barton.
A weak 3 stars--I kept waiting for the 'thrill' or the 'shock' or something but it never came, however, I stuck it out to the end and I know a lot people will like it but for me it was kind of blah
As much as I tried to enjoy this book-which overall is a decent thriller-I just couldn't bring myself to read it in a rush. It disturbed me on many levels. Maybe it is because I have young children, maybe it is because Ms. Barton paints such a grim view of the whole crime-but I just couldn't enjoy it. I read it and finished it for my book club, but could only read it during the day. At night I would just sit and ponder the disappearance of little Bella and how scary the world can be-yes I know this is fiction, but things happen in real life too.
I am glad that I didn't see all the Gone Girl and Girl on a Train hype before I decided to read this book. If I had, I wouldn't have read it. Gone Girl may be flavor of the month, but it left a very bad taste in my mouth, hence my reluctance to fall for any hype linking a new book to it. Fortunately The Widow is not Gone Girl, so if that's been making you nervous, you can relax.
This is the story of Jean Taylor, a woman who has tried her best for a very long time to be a perfect wife for Glen Taylor, a man who is less than perfect himself. As a matter of fact, readers slowly learn that Glen Taylor is one of the lower forms of pond scum. Orbiting around Jean like twin asteroids are Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes, the police officer who desperately wants to bring closure to a victim's family, and journalist Kate Stone, a woman with a knack for prying headline-grabbing stories from reluctant people. Just what does Jean know? What really happened? Is she going to tell Sparkes and Stone what they want to hear? These are questions that follow the reader throughout the book.
Jean Taylor's voice is a compelling one, and she gains sympathy very early on. This story is a gradual-- often mesmerizing-- unraveling of events, and the author often held me right in the palm of her hand. Barton made only one misstep: there is one important fact that Jean Taylor is withholding, and Barton telegraphs it too early. This takes away some of the power of the ending, but even so, this debut novel has me wanting to get my hands on the author's next book!
The Widow by Fiona Barton is a book whose publicity does it a disservice. It does not have the intensity of Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train as the publicity suggests. It does have the unreliable narrator and the dynamics of a marriage like the other two. However, the characters are less engaging, and the plot more straightforward. It is a quick, entertaining read, just not the suspenseful thriller I was expecting.
Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/02/the-widow.html
Reviewed for the Penguin First to Read program
It was a good read. Kept you wondering up until the end.
This is such a gripping read! I HAD to know what happened even though it kept me tense and filled me with dread. It is told mostly from the perspectives of The Widow, The Detective and The Reporter. It is well done, but it is also tragic and heart breaking.
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...
But that woman's husband died last week. And Jean doesn't have to be her anymore.
There's a lot Jean hasn't said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.
Now there's no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.
The truth--that's all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything...
This was a debut novel by Fiona Barton. I enjoyed Barton's writing very much but I don't agree that this book was as intense as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. However, the characters were well-developed but it really wasn't a mystery or thriller as the kidnapper/murderer was exposed in the very beginning. It does have a surprise ending which I did not anticipate. The subject matter of a child abduction is not one of my favorites but this book did give some insight into the thought pattern and behavior of the perpetrator which I found very revealing and made for an interesting read. I would recommend this book to those who like to read books that focus on certain behaviors by predators.
The Widow by Fiona Barton is supposed to be a suspense/mystery novel but it does not succeed. The book starts out in June of 2010. Jean Taylor's husband was hit by a bus. Jean is sorry to lose her husband, but the scandal before his death was overwhelming. Glen Taylor was accused of kidnapping and killing a little girl (Bella Elliott). The police (especially Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes) could not prove that Glen committed the crime and now they may never find the out the truth. Kate Waters is a reporter with the Daily Post. She wants to get Jean's story for their newspaper. Kate gets through the door and convinces Jean to sell her story to the Daily Post. We get to find out what Jean actually knew about Glen's activities (the book then goes back to 2006). Did Glen kidnap and murder Bella Elliott? Can Jean lead the police to the body to give closure to Bella's mother, Dawn?
The Widow is a slow moving book. It reminded me of oxen pulling a covered wagon across the open prairie (a long, slow journey). The writing itself is okay, but I found it lacking. The book is very dull with no action and a lousy ending. The first 17% of the book is just about Jean and her life with Glen. There is no action or mention of Glen's crimes. The book goes back and forth from the present to the past. We get to see how Glen and Jean met, their life, etc. We also find out about Bella and her mother, Dawn. The police investigation into the crime. There is no suspense (not a page-turner). The book does not hold your attention. I give The Widow 1.5 out of 5 stars. The basic concept (the crime) is interesting, but the writer did not do a good job developing it.
I received a complimentary copy of The Widow from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.