Recent Read: The Widow

Funny story for you readers.

I hadn’t read a thriller in a while, which is a real unusual thing for me. I was meandering through my local library–browsing with no real intention of borrowing anything.

Then, I saw Fiona Barton’s The Widow sitting on the shelf.


From Goodreads page

I’d heard good things and it had gotten rave reviews as a Gone Girl-esque book. So, I borrowed it.

Fiona Barton’s debut novel focuses on four main characters: Jean (the widow), Kate (a reporter), Bob Sparkes (the investigator looking into a missing child case) and Dawn (the mother of the missing child).

The story picks up about a week after Jean’s husband dies in a freak accident. Reporters have been seeking an interview with her, wanting to tell her story.

Kate finally weasels her way into an exclusive, but is Jean really ready to tell the whole story?

Barton’s plot uses two timelines simultaneously. She alternates between the conflict going on in Jean’s mind and the interview with Kate in the present, but also the investigation into the case of Bella Elliott, who was snatched from the garden outside her home several years ago.

Jean’s husband, Glen, was a key suspect in that case and was ultimately charged with her kidnapping before being acquitted because of questionable police tactics.

Glen had maintained his innocence, but Jean had her doubts. She begins to finally express those and as we see inside her head, there’s much more to the story.

As far as intrigue, Barton does a good job of keeping the reader engaged. A former reporter, Barton makes sure to have things set in a realistic manner. It reads as a crime reporter would want it to (I should know since I’m one as well.)

However, the plot was a bit predictable. I had guessed what had gone on (at least most of it) pretty early on. That didn’t stop me from reading, though.

Also, Barton’s writing style is a little bland. The writing was a bit dry and boring in parts and it made it difficult to follow.

Overall, I would give this book 3 stars out of 5. It was an interesting read and had some high points, but it wasn’t the exhilarating thrill ride similar books in the genre have been.


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