Book Review: The Widow

The Widow 1

The Widow 2

Plot: When a child goes missing, Jean Taylor’s life is turned upside down when her husband, Glen, is accused. But Glen reassures her that everything is going to be alright and Jean sticks by him. That is what a faithful wife should do, isn’t it?

A few years later, with the case unresolved and Glen killed in an accident, Jean is pressured to talk to the media. She reluctantly gives in: there’s nothing more to say for her husband was innocent. It’s her ticket to a normal life. After all, surely she would know if her husband was a killer?

The Widow 3Quote: `But I think I always knew there was something going on in there. That’s when I started calling it his nonsense. Meant I could talk about it out loud. He didn’t like it being called that, but he couldn’t really say anything, could he?`


Opinion: This book has been compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. If you have been following my reviews, you’ll know I didn’t enjoy either. It made me apprehensive to read this book. Thankfully, the comparisons didn’t do it any justice at all. The Widow is the first crime thriller of this type that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

The plot is told across different time periods and from different perspectives, slowly piecing together what happened when Bella went missing. The weaving of the narrations is masterful, for you are never able to see the big picture, even when looking back at events from the latest dates. It kept me gripped the whole way through and I was unable to figure out any of the twists and conclusions along the way. That was refreshing – for having read the other books, I was already on my guard for twists. Still, they took me by surprise.

The narrators are likeable. From detective Bob to journalist Kate, even to “the widow” Jean. Jean is portrayed as weak and vulnerable throughout, but the reader can still empathise with the characters. Bob and Kate are stronger, helping to drive the narration forward at a steady pace without the emotional attachment that Jean has – they keep the plot moving while Jean fills in the blanks.

Barton’s writing style is gripping throughout. The split narration is effective in keeping the reader gripped and she knows just how much detail to give away to act as a hook.  All three characters are developed enough you want the best outcome for them and the book – for me – was a real page turner. It’s been a while since a book has drawn me in that effectively.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Widow and would recommend it to anyone who likes a mystery/thriller. While it does have some of the same traits as Gone Girl, I would not compare the two books. I do not feel it does this book justice and was nearly enough to turn me away from it. Thankfully, I didn’t let it stop me and was hooked from beginning to end.

Amazon | Waterstones


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