Fiona Barton

The Widow

"a well-thought out plot and a very engaging read..."


Jean Taylor is now the widow of Glen Taylor, recently killed in a bus accident. Glen has been hounded by the police in recent years by both the police and the press after being accused of the abduction of two year old Bella. Jean was his long suffering wife, forever supportive and completely downtrodden.

The Widow centres around Jean Taylor, whose husband was accused of a terrible crime. They've been haunted ever since by the weight of condemnation but now he's dead and she's preparing to tell her story. For the reporter who has secured the exclusive interview, this is the scoop of a lifetime. For the detective who has lived a half-life since he failed to get justice for the crime, it is a chance to get at the truth that has eluded and obsessed him for so long.

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The narratives in 'The Widow' span several years, flitting back and forth to when Bella went missing, to the time after Glen's death. The story is written from the perspective of the wife, then and now, the detective leading the investigation, and the reporter keen to get her story for the paper she works for. 'The Widow' paints a picture of the lives of those affected when accused of a crime, whether guilty or not, and how they are also tried and convicted by the public. Barton examines the way the press and public can destroy lives. It was hard to feel much empathy or sympathy for Jean as at times she was irritating and weak and I was finding myself wanting to tell her to grow a backbone and stop dithering! Her dead husband, Glen is also not a particularly nice character, so there is an element of 'did he, didn't he' throughout the book. Neither the press, the police or the suspects are portrayed in a particularly good light. I was expecting a slightly different ending, or if the author went with the ending she chose, to have thrown in a twist, but I was slightly disappointed that Barton played a little safe in my opinion. The story is extremely well-written. 'The Widow' is a well-thought out plot and a very engaging read, just slightly weakened with its lack of unpredictability.

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