Told from different points of view, “The Widow” is a debut thriller that will stand the test of time and hold it’s own with the best of them. The contemporary British setting, with the advanced technology and social media, make it a pertinent novel which will resonate with the reader.
The story centers around Bella Elliot, a sweet blond-haired girl with an eye-patch and glasses because she has a ‘lazy eye’. One day while playing in her front garden in Hampshire – she disappears. There one minute, gone the next.
The Widow, Jean Taylor
Jean, or Jeannie as her husband liked to call her, is in her late thirties. She married young and had a job at a hairdressing salon. As the years passed, Jean longed for a child. After myriad tests it was determined that her husband was infertile. She wanted to adopt, but her husband forbade that notion. She feels bereft and begins to daydream about children – even going so far as to make a scrapbook of pictures of children she has clipped from magazines and advertisements. Dominated by her controlling husband, Jeannie no longer works and has no friends. They are ‘private’ people.
Questions: Does Jeannie know the extent of her husband’s filthy perversions? Does she have any knowledge of his suspected abduction of Bella? Has her childlessness warped her thinking? Can SHE be trusted?
The widow’s husband: Glen Taylor
A controlling, perverted and intelligent man who is thwarted in his career aspirations and feels demeaned by his present occupation and the fact that he is infertile. His clean-cut physical appearance hides a nasty personality. He is addicted to child porn and spends hours pouring over it on the Internet…
Accused of the abduction (and murder?) of Bella he maintains his innocence while his devoted wife supports him. Their lives are no longer private. They are thrust into the spotlight and are plagued by police questioning and harassment by the press. They are shunned by their acquaintances.
After he is literally hit by a bus, is the case closed? Or, does ‘The Widow’ know more than she is telling?
The copper: Bob Sparkes
The detective is obsessed with Bella’s case to the point where he endangers his own health. When the case against Glen Taylor goes ‘pear-shaped’, he is unwilling or unable to let it go. He sticks with it until the bitter end…
The journalist: Kate Waters
Married to a physician, Kate is an ambitious and talented investigative reporter who prides herself on ‘connecting’ with her interviewees. With her experience and a bit of cunning, Kate obtains what all the other reporters covet. An exclusive interview with “The Widow”.
The mother: Dawn Elliot
A young, single mum, who loves her baby Bella, but misses the freedom she had before her daughter’s birth. Naively, she was seduced by a married man who ‘doesn’t want to know’ now that she has given birth to his child. Naively, she over-shared her personal information on Facebook.
It seems that there has been a plethora of thrillers written lately that have an abducted or missing child in their plot. “The Widow” stands out from the rest due to its superior writing, various points of view, fast pacing, and the reader’s underlying unease while reading it. A novel of obsession, denial, and most of all… a novel of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. A gripping though disturbing read!
Thanks to Penguin Random House via Edelweiss for providing me with a digital ARC of this novel in exchange for my unbiased review.
Fiona Barton trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. Born in Cambridge, England, she currently lives in southwest France.
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Sounds fabulous. It’s always exciting to read a good debut novel. Thanks fir sharing:)
A very thoughtful analysis of this book. Based on it, I have put it on my to read list.
This is coming up soon in my own TBR, so I’m delighted it got your seal of approval! Great review! 🙂
They have it; it’s expensive, but….
Sure hope you enjoy it. I’d feel bad if you bought it and didn’t like it…
We seem to like the same books and after reading two wonderful comments in addition to your review, well, that means I have to have it.
This is one of my favourite books of the year – it was an incredible look at one of those women who ‘stand by their man’
I have to have this now. I am going to see if Barnes and Noble carry it. I am so impressed by these comments.
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Nice review. I loved this book and love to see what other people thought! Congrats on the Good Reads 1%!!!
Wonderful review, and this sounds like a book I need to get ( or at least a book I want to read). I love the setting, the title and the premise, and I also love the way you describe the main characters.
Development of characters pull me into a novel. Thanks so much.
This sounds like an excellent read! I love the way you set up the characters in your review…like a line-up of usual suspects. I am laid up with a broken foot right now and could use a good thriller! Thanks for the recommendation :o)
I love the way you break down each of the characters in the story–a really interesting way to review a book!