The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow by Fiona Barton
Pub. Date: February 16, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, NAL!)
Summary: 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…

A few weeks ago we had a huge snowstorm (which Bay loved…and completely tired her out yay) and I settled in for a wild ride with this book. Fluffy romances are the perfect go-to during lazy summer afternoons, but when the world outside my windows is blanketed in white, there’s nothing I love more than sinking into my big comfy chair with a cozy blanket and hot tea and losing myself in a good old-fashioned mystery. I will admit the comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train initially put me off (haven’t read GG though I enjoyed the movie but I hated The Girl on the Train.) I’m typically a person who shies away from bold comparisons like that, but here, the hype is SO deserved.

Told through multiple voices, The Widow explores the secrets kept behind closed doors. Two plots weave this story together and the moment their threads finally meet…wow. Jean (the window, here) had spent her marriage keeping quiet, obediently following her husband’s orders. A tragic accident instantly killed her husband and now everyone wants to know her side of the story. See, her husband wasn’t a great guy. Or even a likable one. A few years prior a little girl was taken from her yard and eventually fingers began pointing his way. Add in some child pornography and, well, poor Jean was caught in the middle. Years later (the story’s present day) the girl still has not been found and her mother refuses to give up her quest for justice.

Like I said, The Widow has a small group of narrators: the widow, the reporter, the mother, the detective. I absolutely loved the way the chapters were broken down and with each page the story slowly unfolds and – no lie – multiple times I gasped. This is exactly the kind of psychological thriller I love: a twisty ride where you’re not sure who to believe (and, quite frankly, not even sure what’s going on in some cases!)

These are the reviews where I’m at a complete loss for what to say: on the one hand I loved this book so. much. that I finished it in a single sitting and want nothing more than to shout its praises from the highest mountain. Yet I don’t want to say too much or the wrong thing – The Widow is a blindingly fast-paced roller coaster of a novel that left me breathless. I’m absolutely floored that this is a debut. I highly, highly recommend this one and, to be quite honest, the comparisons to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train don’t do it justice.


5 thoughts on “The Widow by Fiona Barton

  1. I really enjoyed this book too. I agree that the comparisons are doing the book a disservice, especially since such comparisons are old and tired and no longer believable. The whole story is rather chilling, isn’t it?

  2. […] THE WIDOW BY FIONA BARTON is an intense debut that I devoured in a single afternoon. I hate that it’s being compared to The Girl on the Train (which I hated) and Gone Girl (which EVERY book is similar to these days) but here, the hype is so, so deserved. There are two stories that weave together seamlessly and I legit GASPED multiple times throughout this book. Told through the eyes of THE WIDOW, THE DETECTIVE, THE REPORTER, and THE MOTHER, we slowly piece together what happened the day a little girl was plucked from her yard. SO GOOD. […]

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