The Widow

The Widow

by Fiona Barton

Overview: 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…

Debbie Weiss (06/13/16): There is not much more that I can add to that which has already been said about this book by Judy, Faith and Gail. I, too, enjoyed this mystery. To me, it did have the same feel as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, so if you enjoyed those books, you will certainly enjoy this one as well. Who kidnapped the little girl and why did they do it. Glen, Jean's husband, has been the major suspect all along, but now he is dead. Will the mystery ever be solved? Will Jean reveal more information now that Glen is dead? A fun read.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton (05/21/16): The author's prologue hit home with me. Like her, I've always wondered about the spouse/family behind the criminal...how much did they know? How could they not know? This story was even more compelling with the crime being pedophilia and murder and the couple being childless. With every marriage, every family, every relationship being unique, one would assume the story of the family behind the criminal would also be different. But The Widow brings out many of the issues any family would face -- trying to believe your loved one, but having doubts; facing your own guilt in the criminal act, even if you were only guilty of not seeing it and not being able to prevent it; handling life under the police/court and media spotlight; facing your neighbors, friends and family in light of criminal charges against the person you love; having to face reality and wishing it would all just stop and go away. An interesting and well written page turner, The Widow keeps the reader engaged until the last page.
Rating: ****

Faith Bowers (05/05/16): This murder mystery is a first novel by Fiona Barton. She draws you in with each chapter written in the first person by a different character. The widow, the reporter and the detective are the primary characters telling the story of the husband's alleged crimes. As a widow, she learns to become her own person.

Jeanie married at 19 to an older successful banker who enjoyed being in control and that is how Jeannie lived her adult life until the nonsense her husband enjoyed became a part of her life as well. You are sure of his guilt throughout the book but you only know as much as the wife knows. The personal growth of Jeanne throughout her widowhood of losing her husband before and after he dies is what I enjoyed the most of this book.
Rating: ****

Gail Reid (03/11/16): I like to take an occasional break from literary fiction and enjoy a plunge into a mystery or thriller. When a friend recommended The Widow, which was being compared in the press to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I was all in.

Jean Taylor is a very recent widow due to the death of her husband Glen, run over by a London bus. The press can't wait to interview Jean because she is the "stand by your man" wife of a suspected pedophile kidnapper who was brought to trial but not convicted.

The book is told from multiple points of view: the wife Jean; the police detective Bob, dedicated to finding the missing 3-year-old Bella; and the reporter Kate whose reporting on the unsolved case in the tabloids has mesmerized London readers.

I don't think The Widow brings to mind either Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train but that does not stop author Fiona Barton's debut novel from being a first rate mystery. It's a compelling story and there are twists and turns in the narrative to keep it moving swiftly. The suspense is definitely there; and the writing is facile, peppered with those wonderful British expressions. It is also an insightful character analysis -- the behind-the-scenes look at a marriage and the mental manipulation at the hands of a psychopath.
Rating: ****

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