The Widow by Fiona Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Du Maurier's REBECCA meets WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and GONE GIRL in this intimate tale of a terrible crime.
When this book began being mentioned on Twitter and being compared to a lot of the other great thrillers this year, I was delighted when I was offered the chance to review this. Going away gave me the perfect opportunity to read and get stuck into this. I read the blurb, which seemed really interesting and got started straight away.
This book is told through the perspective of about 4 people - the fourth towards the end. The Widow Jean is an interesting character, my feelings for her continuously changed throughout the book. There were times I felt for her and others I thought she was just weird and now even after finishing the book I still don't now how I feel about her. She comes across as a sad woman who you pity, she seems to be so devoted to her husband that she is a pushover and will do anything for him.
This book centres around a child being snatched from her front garden, the mother not watching her and her father absent. With Glen, Jean's husband in the area delivering on that day and his van being spotted he is a prime suspect for it. Jean and Glen, who don't have children as Glen was unable to, doesn't stop Jean wishing for one.
Throughout the book there are many surprising and shocking factors which were not predictable, which happen. It is a clever book, which has left me still thinking about it days after. To begin with I found it a little slow, however it was clear after getting into it this was necessary to build the background to the story. Saying that it was slow, it didn't stop me devouring the story in two sittings, the pace picked up half way though and the next thing I knew was I had finished it. At one point I was wondering if we were going to get an ending as I couldn't see how it was going to end.
I don't want to say too much in risk of spoiling this book for you, this is one that you must make sure you get your hands on in the new year. I thought it was not your typical thriller, it was more crime based but didn't make it any less enjoyable. I also really loved the way the story was told. I think this is a new take on thrillers and if you enjoyed other big blockbuster books this year, you will want to read this one.
The only reason I have given this 4* instead of 5 is because for me it was a little slow to begin with and I initially found it tricky to get into, after the fist couple of chapters though I was hooked.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.