October 29, 2017

Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

Review:  The Child by Fiona Barton

The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense 

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it's a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn--house by house--into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women--and torn between what she can and cannot tell...

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The Child by Fiona Barton
Published by: Penguin Random House  on June 27, 2017


This title was provided to us by the Publisher/Author. We were in no way compensated for our review(s).



I was about partway through The Child by author Fiona Barton when I realized that the novel was a sequel to The Widow. Upon realizing this, I did set the book down for a moment, semi-anxious because I’ve been meaning to pick up The Widow but just never had a chance. Then I realized that The Child hadn’t spoiled anything about its predecessor’s plot, and The Widow was just as mysterious to me as the identity of the murdered infant who propelled The Child’s plot forward. That being said, I read The Child as though it were a standalone, and I’ll admit that I fell in love with it right away.

              The Child is one of those novels that is unnerving in its entirety. Not even once did I fully understand just what thoughts were ticking through the cast of character’s heads, and the story was constantly shrouded in mystery and questions. Just when I thought that I was beginning to have an idea of what was going on, of why a certain character behaved the way she did, of where the story was going, Barton would pull the rug out from under my feet and leave me reeling.

              I was thoroughly intrigued by the novel, and just like our protagonist, Kate, I too wanted to know who the unearthed baby was. The novel does deal with many dark and depressing themes, such as child abduction, murder, and sexual assault. However, I didn’t find the novel to be one that weighed me down and left me loathing its conclusion. Quite the opposite, I found The Child to be a breath of fresh air when it comes to murder mystery, and thought it was a unique story told in an original way.

              The novel did jump from point-of-view to point-of-view, but I enjoyed getting to live in the headspace of different characters throughout the story. No two characters were written alike, and I have to say that they were all well-rounded and believable. The psyche of certain characters were twisted and raw, and despite how horrible some characters were, I couldn’t help but like them. Personally, my favorite character was Jude, who was so unpredictable and left me guessing at what would happen next.

              The Child is a novel that’s difficult to talk about without giving anything away. But I will say that it was an impressive read, and it has me even more excited to get reading The Widow. If you’re a reader who has read Barton’s work before, then this novel will certainly be a treat.

              Additionally, I would recommend The Child to any readers who are looking for a serious, realistic, gritty mystery novel. Any readers who are looking for a novel that leaves you constantly on the edge of your seat should also give it a try. Lastly, any readers who are fans of novels that are well thought out and written expertly should also give it a shot.


About Fiona Barton

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist - senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.
But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.
The worm of this book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.
It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.
Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow is available now in the UK, and around the world in the coming months.
However, the sudden silence of my characters feels like a reproach and I am currently working on a second book.
My husband and I are living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Sparky, crowing.


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1 Comment

  1. Natalie Aguirre

    Thanks for the review. I enjoyed The Widow, so I was curious what you thought of this one. Glad you liked it. I just reserved it at the library.


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