The Widow by Fiona Barton

thewidowcoverTitle: The Widow
Series: No
Author(s): Fiona Barton
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Format: Paperback
Original Release Date: February 16th 2016
Pages: 324
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
ISBN13: 9780143197607


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.

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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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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

You can order your own copy now!

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Amazon (USA) – Amazon (Canada)Chapters IndigoBook Depository

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆

Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about The Widow?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,

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39 comments

    • I was going through a lot of fantasy/sci-fi stuff before Good Daughter, so plugging that one into my schedule was a nice quick break. Then I thought I might as well finish the other thriller I had lined up before going back into my fantasy/sci-fi binge. I believe the next books I’ll be reviewing are all going to be fantasy novels now.

      I usually swap around the genres I read just to keep things different and fun, but ever since I’ve read some really good fantasy/sci-fi stories, I can’t seem to stop craving for them now. 😀 I’ll have to find a new rotation to consider for 2018 now though. Too many books I want to read that I haven’t picked up in 2017.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, finding a good rotation can be hard!
        Do you have a plan for 2018 yet? I’ve pretty much got my stuff all mapped out. Main adds were the complete Shakespeare and a lot of Dickens. Have a bunch of books in my tbr and about 100 still on my kindle, so I’m good for the whole year 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep. Your rotations have always made me jelly too. 😀 I think it’s cause I’m factoring in my reading speed (or the amount of time per day that I have to read books). Kills a lot of the opportunities to cycle through more books and genre hahah

          So far I plan on going through them Tolkien’s (Hobbit and Lord of the Ring trilogy), finally dive into the Malazan universe, complete your good friend’s Rothfuss’ books (and maybe join the rage club as I wait for the final book), get a couple more Agatha Christie books read (hope you still got that plan of yours to revisit/visit those) and get a bit deeper into the Darktower series by Stephen King (only read the 1st one and have been meaning to continue it forever… I think the movie’s failure in the box office and to the eyes of critics killed my desire to continue). Pretty sure I have a lot of other books I want to get through, like checking out some of the Dickens I have lying around, but man… having plans for my TBR can be soooo counterproductive at times too hahah

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, if you’re a mood reader being too structured can destroy your reading mojo. I used to be a mood reader, so it’s not like I always read the way I do.

            Glad to hear you’ve got some ideas to keep you going between new releases. Anything in particular you’re looking forward too? Or is that an upcoming post?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yep. There’s always comics to break the routine for me. I have plenty of those waiting for me that I can grab and read or even re-read. ❤

              Don't know about an upcoming post. Would be nice to publish something that highlights all the books we hope to read in 2018, although those posts can lead to disappointments too… 😛 I am however looking forward to The Eye of the World. Snatched a second-hand copy the other day and can't wait to see how it is. 😉 Did you decide on your next "Don Quixote" by the way? 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yeah, setting up expectations can go real well or it can go REAL BAD, real quick.

                Glad to hear that about Eye of the World. I enjoyed that book the most out of the whole series.

                My experience with DQ made me realize that I need to take a year between doing a project like that. It really got tedious near the end 🙂 Probably pick something for ’19….

                Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Stephanie! The multiple perspective definitely gave this book a nice edge. Helped shift out vision of everything and see how everything unravels for the finale. You totally have to give The Child a shot. If you liked The Widow, I believe The Child will be even more enjoyable! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, James. I sort of went with The Child before The Widow cause I failed to read The Widow upon its release. I did enjoy The Child more and they’re both stand-alone stories (there’s just one character who appears in both stories but there’s nothing connected between both books). I’d recommend checking out The Child first, but since she only has 2 books published so far, you could always just go in the order they were published and see how she evolves as a writer that way. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, sir. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • YAY! Thank you so much Dani!!! Yep.. Nowadays readers who pick up thrillers often really hope to be shocked and caught off guard by the twists. I think The Widow can be considered as a suspense novel and nothing more. It’s how you get to the ending that is just super well-done, so if anyone picks this up, at least they’re going to be able to somewhat enjoy how the author portrays and develops her characters. 😀 Thank you again, Dani!!! ❤

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    • Same here, Resh! It’s not my go-to genre, but a couple of them here and then is definitely nice for my reading habits. Glad to hear your interest in it too! It kept the suspense for a pretty long time. Towards the end it even ALMOST had me doubt the “obvious” direction it was going just cause the author didn’t reveal everything quickly hahah

      On another note, it’s been a while I haven’t seen you post anything! Hope you’ve been reading some good books in the past weeks. 🙂

      Like

  • I haven’t heard of this author before reading this post (but coming from me that is not saying much lol 😂). Seriously though, this really sounds like a very intriguing book. I always love it when besides a good storyline there are characters that I can connect to. This book looks like it’s doing both things right. And with such an amazing review to bsck it, I can’t help but add this one to me to read list. Great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahah! It’s no easy task to keep up with all the new authors out there. 😀 Fiona Barton only has two books so far and The Widow seemed to have caught the idea of a lot of people on release. Good marketing, I’m guessing. 😀 This book is definitely all about the characters and how their personalities and motivations are unraveled as you read. Don’t know if you’ll connect with them, but you’ll surely hate a couple of them for sure! 😛 Thank you so much for reading, Michel. Always a pleasure to hear your thoughts on my posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is how The Snow Child was! You knew what was going to happen pretty early on but it’s the way it was written… you get sucked into the story and no matter what your mind tells you you don’t want it to be that way. I think this kind of story is a lost art because readers want twists and can’t see excellent foreshadowing… 😉 Great Review Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Got me even more super psyched about The Snow Child now hahah I totally understand. Especially when a story kicks things off with how the book ends. It’s quite the challenge to write what happens before that and keep the readers curiosity piqued. Foreshadowing is a hugeee skill if you ask me hahah The Widow doesn’t exactly start off by telling us who did what, but you understand pretty early what happens and how everything occurs. It’s how it all amounts to the ending that is really fascinating. Just great character development really. 😀 Thanks for reading, Dani. Always super glad to hear from you. 🙂

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  • Great review for this book Lashaan. It sounds like it was incredibly well written as well because that is a lot of perspectives to read a story from, and for me I feel like the fact that part of it was written in first person and the rest third person would have just pulled me out of the story a little. It’s a shame it was obvious where the story was going, when it comes to thrillers I prefer books where I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m glad to see you enjoyed this book as well. 🙂
    Again great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Beth! That is indeed so true. I remember one of the thriller Trang has read by that author of Girl on the Train, her latest one, where it had like…. 11 POVs… 5 wasn’t so bad since some of the characters were prioritized. The first person and third person is a bit odd, but everything is told through the widow’s perspective so it’s pretty interesting. Yep. People definitely read thrillers nowadays for the insane twists. I’d consider this one more like a suspense novel where you could even assume that the author didn’t mind if you knew how it would end since its the development that she wanted to focus on. Thanks again for reading. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right, and wow 11 POVs seems really extreme. I’ve read stories where having more than two or three hasn’t worked so I can’t imagine reading a book with 11!
        I guess in the end as long as you enjoyed the book that’s the main thing right? Whether thriller or suspense this one sounds like a really well written story.
        That’s all right. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • Well it’s a shame it was a bit obvious- but otherwise this sounds like a really intriguing, captivating story. It’s good to know to read it as more of “suspense” novel than an outright thriller. Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. Exactly! 😛 It’s rare that people pick up “suspense” novels nowadays with thrillers being all the rave for the past couple of years, but The Widow was a nice change. Thank you! 😀

      Like

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