The Widow by Fiona Barton

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The Widow by Fiona Barton

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sophie Diamond
Reviewed by Sophie Diamond
Summary: What a book! Not for the fainthearted, but once you've picked it up, I dare you to put it down. Best book I've read this year.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Corgi
ISBN: 978-0552172363

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The Richard and Judy Book Club Autumn 2016

Newly widowed Jean Taylor is being interviewed by top investigative reporter Kate Waters. Jean sees that she's not like the other reporters; Kate's not battering down Jean's door, she's nice, patient, she feels like a friend. But Jean isn't completely fooled, Kate wants to know about her husband, about the terrible crime he was accused of, how Jean feels about him now and the most dangerous question of all… what Jean knows.

This book is incredible. I enjoyed it far more than I Let You Go and just as much as The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, but it is the same murder/mystery/marriage/thriller ilk. The story is told in the wrong order, with each chapter a different time and following a different strand, you alternate between following the down-trodden widow, Jean, the investigative reporter, Kate, and the long-suffering detective, Bob Sparkes. Each character has their own agenda and their own role to play in the story. They are wonderful characters, well thought out, sympathetic and real.

The relationships between the characters are just as big a part of the story as the mystery itself. Jean and Glen's marriage made me feel uncomfortable, the dynamic between them is tense and full of the unsaid. Kate and Bob are natural enemies but instead, Barton has chosen to make them allies, they're both dedicated in the pursuit of the truth and justice and are willing to help each other out to get there. The widow, the reporter and the detective are three points around which this story gradually unfolds.

This story isn't for the faint of heart, it's about one of the most monstrous crimes humans commit. It's upsetting, disturbing and intense, but Barton doesn't go into gory detail and for that I was grateful. It was more about the ripple effect of the crime, than the crime itself. In my opinion this was a brilliant thing to do because it makes the story chilling, without giving you vivid nightmares.

My favourite thing about The Widow and the part which makes it really stand out for me is that there were characters you like! Yes they're flawed but I defy you not to cheer for Kate and Bob, they represent what is good, and you really need that in a book where something so awful has happened.

I can't say too much more; the less you know, the better the book will be. Pick it up and put your detective hat on!

Thank you to the author, publisher and the Bookbag for my review copy.

If you like the sound of this, you'll enjoy I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.

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Buy The Widow by Fiona Barton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Widow by Fiona Barton at


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