"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

Canadian Publication Date: 16 February 2016

Jean Taylor’s husband died last week and while it is expected she would be mourning, she is actually quite relieved.  Because for years, she kept quiet about her husband- from her family, friends, the media, and the police.  But she doesn’t have to keep quiet anymore.

Years ago, Jean’s husband Glen was accused in the disappearance of a young girl but the police were never actually able to prove that it was him.  Jean remained the perfect wife and insisted to the police that her husband couldn’t have committed the crime.  Throughout all of the accusations and harassment, she stood by Glen.  

But now that Glen is gone, she can tell the truth.  It’s what everyone has been waiting to hear, and the police and the media are ready to listen.  But if Jean has been covering up for so long, will it be easy for her to finally tell the truth?

The Widow is a stunning debut psychological thriller by former journalist Fiona Barton.  Poised to be the mystery of the year, it is already being compared to Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

The premise of this book had me hooked right from the beginning as I often wonder when I hear stories like this in the news just how much the families of the accused actually knew.  And that is what inspired Barton to write this novel.  I think it is such a unique perspective for a book and it worked really well.

The entire story was well-rounded and well thought out. In addition to Jean’s story, there is her husband Glen, the police detective investigating the murder, and the reporter who is trying to get Jean’s story.  It is definitely a mystery novel, but there is more to it thanks to Jean’s story.  I had such a hard time figuring her out - does she know more than we think or was she really just a naive young woman who couldn’t see her husband for what he was?

Now, this story isn’t completely what I expect when I hear the term “thriller” as I expect lots of twists, turns, and jaw dropping moments.  I didn’t even find it very suspenseful, nor was I shocked by the ending.  However, it is a fascinating read.  How I feel is, that it is a crime novel that focuses more on the relationships and personalities than on the crime.  And for people who don’t read much crime or mystery books like I do, it’s a great place to jump into the genre.  That is what I felt like The Girl on the Train was and that is why I compare the two books to each other.

I’m telling everyone I know to watch out for this book because I do think that this will be one of the books that everyone is talking about in 2016.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. The opinions expressed above are my own.


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