Monday, October 9, 2017

The Widow - Fiona Barton

The Widow
Title: The Widow
Author: Fiona Barton
Publication Date: 2/16/2016
Pages: 324
Genre: Thriller / Fiction
How I Found It: I can't remember. A list of thrillers, maybe?
Date Completed: 9/25/17

Summary: A man dies after getting run down by a bus. His widow is left wondering how much of his story to tell. A little girl disappeared years before. How much of that story belongs to the widow as well?

What I Thought: I always get to Halloween and find myself in the mood to read something scary. In general, thrillers are not my favorite genre. However, the spooky occasion puts me in the mood. Most years, though, I totally forget about that feeling until about October 29. This year, I'm starting early. I am hoping to read several thrillers in late September and early October so I can be posting about them right around the haunted holiday.

I started off with The Widow, which got a lot of marketing time in the book world when it was released last year. I can't totally remember what made me end up putting it on my TBR list, but it landed there somehow. So, as I ended September, this seemed like as good a first pick as any to put me in the thriller mindset.

What I really want to find is another book that just scares my pants off the way Marisha Pessl's Night Film did for me a few years back. I couldn't sleep for days. It was wonderfully terrifying. I am not usually a scary book/movie person, but every once in a while, it's fun. That's what I'm looking for this year. 

This wasn't it.

This book was fine. Certainly not the "next Gone Girl" as some marketing billed it, but it was not bad by any means. It reminded me more of The Girl on the Train, though still something unique from that book as well.

Barton tells the story from several different perspectives. It all centers around the disappearance of a young child from her front garden. What the reader gets is a patchwork look at the subsequent five years or so. The big mystery of the book is who took the child and what happened to her, although Barton never really seems to be hiding that information. The reader seems to be meant to question more whether or not the widow had anything to do with it. 

This was an interesting read, but I didn't really find it suspenseful. I appreciated the emotional journey of the characters. Jean, the widow, is hard to figure out and that is what makes the book interesting. The further you read, the less you come to trust her; her mental state is clearly not as stable as you think in the start. I do wish Barton would have spent some more time explaining the emotional/psychological choices Jean made. She alludes to some possibility of mental illness of some kind, but we never really get that question answered. 

If you're looking for a scary Halloween read, this isn't the right pick. But, if you're looking for a book about the emotional complexities of marriage and secret keeping therein, you may really enjoy this one. It's a fast read, so if you're on the fence, may as well pick it up. I finished it in one weekend and you probably will, too.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No
If You Liked This, Try: Daughter / Gone Girl The Girl on the Train

A Reduced Review: This thriller kept me reading, but it was more of an emotional journey than a psychological thrill.

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