Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

Title: The Widow
Author: Fiona Barton
Published: January 14th 2016 by Transworld
Amazon | Amazon UK

Blurb: We've all seen him: the man - the monster - staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. 

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

First of all I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: There has been quite a hype surrounding this title even way before its publication day. I've heart many people referring to it as the new The Girl on the Train, destined to be the thriller of the year. That's a lot to live up to but I honestly think this book deserves it. Maybe it is on a fast paced story with lots of twits but it certainly delivers tension and controversial topics.

What I think makes this book quite unique is its different points of view. Not only do we follow the story from the widow's point of view but also from a journalist determined to get the story of the decade, from the police detective obsessed with the case and also the mother of the missing girl. They all give us a complete and varied insightful of what is going on. Also, the story is not told chronologically but jumps between past and present, which made the story even more intriguing as I wanted to know all at once.

But let's focus on the widow. Jean Taylor seems to be quite a bland woman, she has never lived alone so has never found her independence. She went from her parents' place to her and her husband's place and from that moment she never thought of contradicting anything her husband said. Why would she? He was well mannered, clever and with a good job and big dreams. But as we learned more about Jean and Glen's years together, we soon realised both Jean and Glen had their own secrets and Glen's "nonsense" (as Jean referred to it) was actually quite shocking. So when Glen disappeared from the equation, I really had no idea which way Jean was going to go. She was not a strong woman, she didn't need nor wanted money... so what moved her? She definitely was not one of those characters you root for but it was really interesting reading about her.

Also very interesting was reading about the police investigation surrounding the little girl's disappearance and what brought them to Glen so many months later. I could actually feel the frustration emanating from these chapters. They tried all imaginable but somehow they couldn't prove anything. No wonder this case totally consumed the detective. 

As I said, all point of views added something to the story to make it intricate and intriguing. At the very end I kind of saw what was coming (more or less) but it didn't stop me from enjoying the whole novel. I can totally see why this book is going to be such a best-seller, it makes you part of its world and makes you think (a lot), but above all, it gives you a privileged point of view in this dark and horrific tale, the one from the widow who wasn't supposed to know. 


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