Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow by Fiona Barton

New American Library an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Release Date: February 16, 2016

My Review (4 Stars: Liked It A Lot!)

In her debut novel, The Widow, the author, Fiona Barton, skillfully presents a detective story.

The case is that a two year old child goes missing from her front lawn.
Among the main characters are Bob Sparks (a detective),  Glen Taylor (a suspect who is linked to child pornography),  Jean Taylor (the suspect’s widow), and Kate Waters (a reporter ).  The case was not solved before the suspect died.  DI Sparks just can’t let go of this.  The main suspect is dead and the little girl has not been found.

I enjoyed the setting, which I believe is in the UK.  I think the characterizations might be slightly different than if set in America.  A small example might be that often characters have tea.  Here in America, I think it might be coffee.  John O’Connell in “The Best Recent Thrillers – Reviews Roundup“, from The Guardian might phrase this notion better.

“My one reservation is Jean’s odd voice, which feels too 1950s-prim – an upper-middle-class person’s slightly dated idea of how lower-middle-class people speak. But then, Glen and Jean are nothing if not strange, so perhaps that extends to their domestic idiolect.” – John O’Connell (“The Best Recent Thrillers – Reviews Roundup“, The Guardian)

However, I felt, the author’s writing style was very engaging.

The interesting and different slant on this story is that the focus is on the suspect’s widow.  Her life was complicated by her husband.  After her husband dies, her life is complicated by the investigators and the reporters.  The reporter, Kate Waters is successful with her  approach toward getting interviews.

This novel has been compared to Gone Girl.  While the widow is introspective as the wife was in Gone Girl, the novel did not have that sudden, surprising, gripping, twist that I was anticipating.

First Paragraph


The Widow


I can hear the sound of her crunching up the path.  Heavy-footed in high heels.  She’s almost at the door, hesitating and smoothing her hair out of her face.  Nice outfit: jacket with big buttons, decent dress underneath, and glasses perched on her head.  Not a Jehovah’s Witness or from the Labour party.  Must be a reporter, but not the usual.  She’s my second one today — fourth this week, and it’s only Wednesday.  I bet she says, “I’m sorry to bother you at such a difficult time.”  They all say that and put on that stupid face.  Like they care.

What Others Are Saying

“Barton allows readers to understand Jean Taylor, her marriage and her reaction as events unfolded. We saw the subtle manipulation, the cracks that began to appear and began to understand Jean’s psyche. It was a brilliant case study.” – Kimberly @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

“The Widow was an intriguing story that had very little of mystery about it, except for the details of how it all went down. 4.5 stars.” – Laurel-Rain Snow @ Curl Up & Read

Click To Purchase From Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection: 

I received this book, via NetGalley, free from the publisher, New American Library an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, as part of a blog tour.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  1. Well, I was not the biggest fan of GONE GIRL and I’m heartily sick of books being compared to it. Thankfully, this book doesn’t have the word ‘girl’ in the title. LOL

    I am planning on reading this one at some point before long. Certainly a lot of interest in it these days.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts….and for the link to my review.

    Great quotes…and I am sure we are all sick of every book being compared to Gone Girl! That comparison does no justice to the unique stories that have come since that one.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, which was definitely one to ponder.

  3. Enjoyed your review Pat and like how you have included what a couple of other top bloggers have said about it. It does sound fascinating, so not twist at the end though! Yeah comparing books just often does justice to neither.

  4. Really great review – glad to see you enjoyed because I’d like to read it at some point. I’m getting tired of the Gone Girl/TGOTT comparisons. I didn’t care for either books, and I’ve read books that I felt were far more superior!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

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