Title: The Widow
Author(s): Fiona Barton
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Original Release Date: February 16th 2016
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Author of The Child, Fiona Barton’s debut took the world by storm in an unexpected fashion. Its popularity grew exponentially, but the real question lies in its quality. Is it any good? It is a bit odd to have read her latest book before her first novel as a writer, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I was able to enjoy this one and appreciate her ability to write a fantastic suspense story.
In The Widow, Jean Taylor is a woman who recently lost her husband in a freak bus accident. Having been in a relationship where every move she made was dictated by her “lovely” husband, the truth had always been suffocated and kept a secret. But with her significant other now gone, her story unravels into one of the biggest cases to have caught the attention of the media for years.
Fiona Barton utilizes several different point of views: The Widow, The Husband, The Journalist, The Detective and The Mother. While the widow is told in first-person, every other character gets treated with a third-person voice. On top of having five alternating perspectives, Fiona Barton also visits past and present times. It might sometimes be slightly confusing if you don’t follow the time stamps, but you’ll quickly grasp the sequence of events after a couple of sentences.
The story kicks things off innocently by describing Jean and her life as the perfectly structured relationship. Fiona Barton brilliantly exposes Jean’s situation as the story progresses, but readers only start to understand the scale of the events when the detective’s missing child investigation is explored. As you flip through the pages at an uncontrollable pace, every character’s storyline intertwines and unveils the complexity of lies that certain characters choose to tell and choose to believe.
Similar to her last novel, her second book in her career so far, Fiona Barton utilizes her expertise as a journalist to flesh out her story. In The Widow, readers will observe without any difficulty the intricacies of journalism through Fiona Barton’s recurrent character, Kate Waters. Often belittled, her job is put under a different light that helps us better understand the particular social skills that requires for it. While it can still be seen as manipulation with some journalists who hunt down stories like predators and act only out of personal gains, Kate Waters’ character portrays her job as a highly empathetic day-to-day lifestyle.
In all honesty, the story’s direction was extremely obvious. I did not feel like the intention of the author was to smack readers across the face with the plot twist of a lifetime. The Widow seemed like a suspense novel that focused heavily on its characters and their development. It is her meticulous peeling of layers that merits praise in her debut novel. The story had me hooked thanks to Fiona Barton’s fantastic writing style as well as her ability to create dangerously complex characters whose motivations are sketchy. The pacing does waver at times, especially in regards to the detective’s story as his angle of the story sometimes seemed dull, but a touch of realism in regards to cops would probably do just that.
The Widow delivers a captivating suspense story with characters who will make readers react with hate, even if the ending can be foreseen very early in the story. Having read both of her novels now, I am certain that Fiona Barton will continue to write up fantastic stories for fans of crime novels, especially those who enjoy a touch of realistic journalism incorporated in their adventures.
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about The Widow?
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Till next time,