Review of the Widow by Fiona Barton




For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

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 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…


When you put in the catch phrases like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train a book is going to immediately capture my attention. Of course this is what the publishers plan and want to happen. Tricky Tricky. So of course I just had to put in a request for The Widow.  The book begins after the death of Jean’s husband and takes off with the focus on Jean, the reporter, and the detective investigating the murder of little Bella with Jean’s husband being the main suspect.

For so many years Jean has stood beside her husband, protecting and supporting their shared secret. Jean herself is something of a suspicious character with her own strange reasons for how she acts and what she does. To me, Jean was something of a weak character even when she supposedly came into her own. This is where the whole comparison to Gone Girl falls flat. The characters in Gone Girl were potent and manipulating, where Jean and her lies and story weaving just fall a bit flat.

The story itself did hold my attention and left me guessing on what secrets Jean was holding on to when it came to her husband and his involvement with Bella’s death. I was hoping to have more detail granted to the side characters of the reporter, the detective, and some of the other suspects in Bella’s murder. To me those characters seemed far more promising for questionable manners and motives. That’s just me though.

All in all it wasn’t a bad read. Barton has a talent for writing but the meat of the story was hard to consistently sink your teeth into and want to hold on to. I wanted to know what happened but also I found myself in some parts not really caring at all. The ending was a good tie of loose ends but I still felt it was missing some answers to all the other questions I had about other characters in the story. Oh well. If anything it’s an interesting story when it comes to just what a wife will do for her husband, what a mother may or may not do for her child, and what the media will do to get a story. Until next time, happy reading folks!

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