*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *
Title: The Widow
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore. There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…
I’d recently read Girl on the Train so I was pretty excited to give another crime thriller a try. It’s not my normal genre, so I’m always a bit apprehensive trying something new. I was pleasantly surprised with Barton’s novel. This is the story of a missing toddler. No one knows what’s happened to little Bella. She disappears one day and suddenly Jean Taylor wakes up to her husband wrapped up in the middle of a child abduction case. Her life, although far from perfect, is turned upside down and her husband, Glen, is at the centre of this horrendous crime.
This story combines the perspectives of the many people wrapped up in the case–the widow, the mother, the reporter, the detective, the accused–so perhaps The Widow is not the most encompassing title. What I really enjoyed were the various perspectives this story presents. It creates intensity because we don’t know whose story to believe. Each character presents their own perception of the crime, constructed or confused. Each narrator is unreliable because we cannot know if they’re telling the truth, concocting a lie, or they have no clue as to what actually happened. I believe that by presenting the story in this way, Barton creates a realistic tense and befuddled atmosphere.
The Widow is a thrilling and often devastating story. It’s one that you just can’t put down because you have to know the end. Perhaps I’ll keep up with this trend of reading thrillers.