The Widow by Fiona Barton book review

Read our review of author Fiona Barton's debut novel

What is The Widow about?

When Jean Taylor’s husband was accused of abducting a little girl, she stood by him through all the publicity and harassment. But now he’s dead and Jean has the chance to tell her side of the story. But can journalist Kate Waters convince her to tell the truth?

What Goodtoknow says…

If you love Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkin’s hit novel The Girl on the Train, you’ll love Fiona Barton’s debut. It’s a dark look at the inner workings of the relationships between killers and their families. The story focuses on Jean Taylor, a timid woman who stood by her husband throughout his trial for child abduction.

But after Glen dies, Jean is seemingly free of any loyalty towards her husband. It becomes a game of cat and mouse between journalist Kate and Jean, as the story flits between the two women’s thoughts chapter by chapter. Kate knows there’s more to the story, but it’s a case of teasing it out of this fragile woman. Jean herself is indecisive and deluded – years spent with a domineering husband have taken their toll on her and she’s lost for what to do or say without him.

For police investigator Bob Sparkes, the case becomes personal when he fails to find the missing girl, Bella Elliot. He’s determined that Glen Taylor is the perpetrator, but he can’t pin him down and the trail has gone cold since his death.

This is Fiona Barton’s first novel. She spent years working as a journalist herself and so has used her own experiences analysing the woman she’s reported on in her characterisation of Jean. Can this woman really be innocent of all knowledge towards her husband’s actions? Does she know more than she lets on? It’s gritty, emotional and oh so believable – a great read.

Rating: 7/10 Publisher: Penguin Publish Date: 14th January 2016


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