Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Widow - Fiona Barton

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.

What did I think?

This must be one of the most highly anticipated books of 2016 and I'm really grateful to Ben Willis from Transworld for sending me an early review copy.  The hype is totally correct; once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down - if I hadn't needed to sleep I would definitely have read it in one sitting!

I loved the layout of the book with each chapter being told from the perspective of the widow, the reporter, the detective, the mother or the husband.  It gave a brilliant investigative feel to the story and I felt like I was sitting on the jury myself.

I felt so sorry for Jean, she doesn't even realise that she is an abused wife.  Glen has taken all her self esteem and made sure that her whole world revolves around him.  Only he hasn't quite managed to take all of her dreams...she has a secret dream that she has hidden from him but that in turn becomes a piece of evidence in the case against Glen.

Whilst there are no massive shocks or surprises, this book had me clamouring for more as each chapter ended.  I felt like I was gathering evidence and trying to prove a cast-iron case against Glen.  The psychological effect Glen's mental abuse had on Jean was fascinating and made me wonder how many women like Jean are out there.  Some of her actions were quite shocking and completely unexpected, but it's almost like she had to keep her emotions bottled up with Glen and now she's free she's like a stick of unexploded dynamite.

I definitely recommend reading this book; it is written with such precision that it is not surprising to learn that Fiona Barton is an award winning reporter.  I feel like she stripped the case down to its bare bones and we were all present for the autopsy.  I think that is the magic of this book - the story is told from every single aspect so that no stone is left unturned as we uncover the truth about what really happened to little Bella and the effect that this devastating event had on all concerned.

I received this book from the publisher, Transworld, in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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