Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review ~ The Child by Fiona Barton

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

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 is told from the point of views of four different women:  Emma, Kate, Angela and Jude.  With that many characters, I was afraid I was not going to keep not only the details straight but the characters themselves, so I started taking notes on each character – just to keep all the women separate and keep myself sane.  This was all for naught however, because the author did a fabulous job with the writing and the character development so it was an easy job at keeping everything straight.

The story starts off with the skeletal remains of a baby that are discovered buried on a building site.  As the story unfolds, the reader gets inside the minds of four women:

Angela’s daughter was taken from a maternity hospital never to be seen again, so she is certain that the baby is hers. 

Emma has been hiding a terrible secret for most of her life, and now that the baby has been found, she fears that she will be locked up forever.

Jude is Emma’s mother and the relationship between the two has been turbulent for years.  When Emma was just fifteen years old, Jude kicked her out of the house because she believed that Emma was interfering with the relationship between Jude and her boyfriend Will.

Kate is the investigative reporter that is working the story on the discovery and as she dives deeper into the details, she finds herself in a story full of lies, deceit and horrors she could have never imagined and could quite possibly be ‘The Story’ that makes her career.

But who is the ‘Building Site Baby’?  That is the question that haunts three of these women and that my dear reader is a journey you get to take in order to find out.  Trust me….it’s a fantastic and captivating journey that kept me up into the wee hours of the morning to find out and it was worth every minute of lost sleep.

I figured out who ‘the child’ was long before the story drew to an end, but the investigative journey was so fascinating and the story was beyond thrilling, I couldn’t even think of putting the book down.  The way that Ms. Barton formulated her plot was simply brilliant and telling the story in the different POV’s really worked in bringing everything together.

The Child grabbed my attention right from the beginning and continued as I attempted to put all the puzzle pieces together of this gripping and thrilling story.  If you love psychological suspense stories then you need to check this one out.  I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend it!

4 1/2 stars

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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