Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Child by Fiona Barton

Author: Fiona Burton
Publisher: Berkley
Date of publication: June 2017

In a working class neighborhood of London, construction workers make a grisly discovery: the long-buried remains of a baby.  When a newspaper mention reveals the find, most readers barely give it a glance. But for two women, its threat to unearth hidden stories is impossible to ignore. For veteran reporter, Kate Waters (introduced in The Widow), it sparks the question “Who would bury a baby?” and starts a hunt for the truth about the nameless child. The story unfolds via the women’s alternating perspectives to eventually reveal: Who is Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

My thoughts:

I read The Widow last year, I really enjoyed it.   I was looking forward to reading The Child.  I'll admit, I didn't love this one as much.   It didn't suck me right away. But, I am glad I stuck with it because I did ultimately enjoy the story.  The beginning is a bit slow and doesn't really pick up until the 35% mark, so keep that in mind.  I think the story probably could have been a little shorter and it still would have made for a gripping read.

This is definitely a hard book to discuss without spoilers.  So, read the synopsis to get a gist of the story. The story is told through flashbacks and in the present through the eyes of several characters.  In the beginning, it was pretty unclear how they all fit together.  I did manage to figure it out before it was revealed.  There were still a couple of surprises, so I wasn't too disappointed. 

The book can be read as a stand alone.  Even though a couple of the characters from The Widow are in this one, it is completely unrelated. I did feel like I got to know Kate a bit better here. She was a good investigative reporter, but I felt she pushed the boundaries too many time in order to get the story out first. I was conflicted because while she could be sensitive  toward those involved, she could easily drop that when she was hot on the trail of her story's bottom line. I was horrified at her glee once the baby was initially identified.  But then this is probably my own bias toward reporters coming through.

I do recommend this one. This was an enjoyable mystery and second book by this author.  I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Press Release/Author Bio:
Photo credit: Jenny Lewis
This summer FIONA BARTON is back with a second novel that proves lightning can strike twice.

Barton’s 2016 debut, The Widow, was an instant global bestseller, captivating readers around the world and setting the publishing industry abuzz.

The highly-anticipated release of THE CHILD (Berkley Hardcover; June 27, 2017) reaffirms Barton’s growing reputation as a writer of rich, character-driven suspense novels. Like Tana French, Louise Penny, and Megan Abbott, Barton’s stories do more than thrill: they explore the complexities of a changing world.

The Widow delved into the secrets that exist within a marriage and the reporter’s role as voyeur.  Here Barton continues to mine those themes. THE CHILD tackles the 24/7 news cycle, and lays bare the intricacies of a different but equally fascinating relationship—mother and child.

Says Barton: “The emotions, responsibilities—and the pain—of motherhood are unique to each of us with children. Ask any woman and she will have her own story to tell.”

In fact, it was the allure of a hidden story that propelled Barton to her long-time career in news. A journalist and British Press Awards “Reporter of the Year,” she has worked at the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, and brings that experience to bear in her novels.

In THE CHILD she details how Kate’s lengthy investigation into Building Site Baby’s death represents a perilous breach of the newsroom’s new culture of 24/7 online news. Says Barton: “The danger for Kate is that she risks becoming one of the dinosaurs—sidelined because she is unable and unwilling to be part of the revolution. And I feel for her.”

Visit Fiona Barton online at and on Twitter @figbarton. Join the conversation using #TheChild.

No comments: