Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review | The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow is Fiona Barton's debut thriller.

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.

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…

Why did I read The Widow?

I'm fascinated by the concept of women who are unknowingly married to monstrous men. How could they not know what their husbands are up to? Do they ignore the signs? Are their husbands that chillingly deceptive? Stephen King explored this concept in a story called The Good Marriage (Full Dark, No Stars) where the wife finds a box hidden in the garage while her husband is away. (Great story!) This concept is also explored in the BBC series Broadchurch. When I heard that The Widow is based around this concept as well, I knew I had to read it.

The Strengths

The Widow is what I classify as a "compulsive read". Gone Girl is a good example of what I mean. I wasn't really a fan of Gone Girl generally speaking, but I love books that make me read compulsively. I couldn't wait to get back to this book each time I had to put it down.

The Weaknesses

I expected to get to some shocks or twists, but the story basically unfolded without any profound revelations that I didn't see coming. That was OK. I don't have to have those crazy twists thrown in, but I was amped up and ready for them.

The unreliable narrator wasn't solid enough for me. There was a bit of being unreliable for the sake of being unreliable.

Would I recommend The Widow to others?

Yes. If you looking for a book that will keep you reading, The Widow fits that bill. It might be a good choice to break a reading slump.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. Even if I end up disliking the overall story in the end, I always give stars to a book that can make me compulsively read. I love when I can't put a book down.

  2. I should really pick this up. Did you see the movie of The Good Marriage that came out last year? It was actually done very well which is surprising because I am usually not pleased with book to movie adaptations.

  3. My girlfriend loved Gone Girl and she's big in to any book that falls under the thriller/suspense/horror categories. I just got her "Lucifer's Son" by Sergey Mavrodi, and she seems to like it. I'll have to look in to getting her The Widow when she's finished, I think she'd really like it as well.

  4. THE WIDOW is an emotionally powerful novel. None of the characters emerge from the ending in quite the same state as they entered, and I daresay any reader won’t either. I had quite a dramatic emotional reaction to the conclusion; I would guess that it was a painful book to write, but what a wondrous, bittersweet work it is to read.

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