Review of The Widow – Fiona Barton

Posted: August 28, 2019 in Review, thriller

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.

The Widow

Fiona Barton


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

Jean Taylor has had two years in the spotlight after her husband Glen had been accused of being involved in the disappearance of three year old Bella Elliot. Her mother Dawn had been inside doing household chores when Bella ran outside, following her cat into the small front garden. When Dawn went to call her a few minutes later, there was no trace.  Now Glen is dead after being hit by a bus and public interest in the case has returned.

When Dawn rang 999 to report Bella’s disappearance to the police, Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes headed up the investigation. The Police rapidly came to the conclusion that this is no simple abduction.  Glen Taylor became a Person of Interest to the investigation when a neighbour of Dawn’s remembered down a blue van similar to Taylor’s van in the area at about the time of Bella’s disappearance.  As the investigation continues into Glen and Jean Taylor’s background, discrepancies appear. Their computer is seized by the Police so that forensics can do a search of the hard drive.

Kate Waters, a reporter for the Daily Post, wants to tell Jean’s side of the story.  Jean finds herself targeted by reporters who want to know everything she’s been holding back all these years.  She eventually gives in to the pressure of the press and sells her story to Kate.

Told from the perspective of these three characters, the story shifts back and forth in time – from the crime in 2006 to glen’s death in 2010.  I found it easy to keep track of whose point of view it was, even with the time shift, as each chapter was labelled by perspective: The Detective, The Reporter, The Husband, and The Widow, and what date it was.

I found this a well written page turner that was hard to put down as I had to find out the whom and why regarding Bella Elliot’s disappearance and possible death. The book had a good plot and flowed along at a steady pace, holding my interest right up until the ending which was a bit of a surprise ut very clever and it wrapped the story up neatly.

I recommend this book to any fan of psychological suspense novels.

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