Book Review: The Widow (Fiona Barton)

the-widow

 


 

Jean’s husband was accused of committing a kidnapping (and murder) of a two year old child. Jean’s husband is now dead. What does Jean know?  What will she share?  Does a marriage mean keeping secrets and standing by while the unthinkable happens?

The Widow, a debut psychological thriller by Fiona Barton, explores the bizarre relationship between husband and wife. We meet Jean, a suburban housewife and Glen, her pathological husband.  Throughout the novel, we see Glen accused of kidnapping and murder, his trial, his acquittal and the repercussions of the event.

This book had been buzzing around the blogosphere for quite a while before I finally picked it up.   It was marketed as a book that fans of Gone Girl would enjoy. This is always my first mistake.  Gone Girl has been out for years; I should know better, and yet, I am still hooked by that claim.

It really did have a lot of similar traits to Gone Girl; we have an unreliable narrator, a twisting, wrap around plot about a marriage gone wrong and a husband that we don’t know if we can trust. Unfortunately, I just didn’t find this book as captivating as Gone Girl.

Barton weaves a phenomenal tale, don’t get me wrong, but I had a really hard time with the way it was written.   Each chapter goes back and forth in time-sometimes years, sometimes months, sometimes days.  I found myself having to tear myself away from the plot to back pedal and cross reference dates. The plot was already jumbled enough with the multiple narrators and the unreliable characters; I felt like the dates added some extra confusion that I did not have the patience for.

With that being said, I did enjoy the character development for Jean, the widow. Her motives are constantly changing and her POV cannot be trusted.   The book truly plays on whether she was an accomplice or a victim.

For me, the ending was a bit of a letdown. Barton weaves together a story so complex, builds it up and then leaves me with an ending that is considerably cliché.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Sure.  It was worth the read but it definitely is not Gone Girl.

 


 

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