Tag Archives: Fiona Barton

The Widow, by Fiona Barton


There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now her husband is dead, and there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…



The WidowImagine someone asking you if you’d like to go to the zoo with them. You jump at the chance because you love the zoo. Rather than to take you the twenty minute drive directly to the zoo, they take the long way ’round. You get to see Mr. Brown’s three-legged dog, where the old meeting hall used to be, where your friend’s Aunt Ethel and Uncle Ted first lived when they moved from the old country, and the Giant that used to be Greg’s Grocery. At the end of the day the overall trip was good because you got to see the monkeys, and you never tire of watching monkeys and their antics, but you’re worn out from the extras. The day would have been perfect if they had just taken you to the zoo and left the rest of it out.

That’s how I felt about this book. Overall, it was a good story, but would have been a great story if not for the over-inflated middle. It started off strong, but at about the 25% mark it began to slow… and stayed slow until about the 75% mark.

Stephen King says, “If you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you might want to pick up The Widow. Engrossing. Suspenseful.

I love Stephen King. I think the man is a genius. But IMO, he embellished. Understandable if you’ve ever read 11/22/63. Like The Widow, that book was very good, but about 300 pages too long.

Another thing that took away from the read a bit for me, the head hopping. It didn’t happen often, but it did happen. An example: page 305 of the paperback, Kate was pleased…. that is fine as we are in Kate’s head. But without so much as a page break, we are now in Sparkes’s head when he suddenly felt out of his depth. Then again when he tried to regain his professional footing. It also happened at the end of the 12th chapter between The Detective and Michael Doonan. Each of the chapters were titled with a date, and the viewpoint character’s name. But in several instances, and quite out of nowhere, the author jumped into another character’s head without warning. If the entire book had been written that way, one could get used to it and find it easier to hang tight with the sudden shifts. But as the chapters were divided between characters, it was a jolt that slowed the story, especially in the mid section where it was moving at snail’s pace the way it was.

I enjoyed the writing style, and the overall story, but not the pace or the length. It simply felt that the author was trying to extend the story without having anything relevant to say during that portion of the book.

I understand this was a debut novel. I would expect her next book to be better than her first and would try another of her titles. 3.5* on Amazon.



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