Book Review – The Widow

by Fiona Barton (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9780593076217

Fiona Barton is an award-winning former journalist who reported on crime and trials.

Jean Taylor is The Widow. Before she is widowed her husband, Glen, is accused of crimes of degeneracy and evil. Jean’s comfortable, ordinary existence with her apparent Prince Charming is shattered. The couple are hounded by police and paparazzi and it seems all they have is each other.

When Glen dies, not yet vindicated, Jean is free to tell her story on her own terms. No longer must she necessarily be stoic, silent, and supportive. Rather, Jean can indulge her own neuroses in her efforts to reconcile conflicting roles of doting wife, grieving widow, and would-be mother.

This story is dark and disturbing and utterly compelling. Jean is as pitiable and pathetic as she is manipulative and vulnerable. Her character emerges most strongly through her dialogue – with Glen, the police, the victim’s mother, and Jean’s internal dialogue. In fact the first-person perspective of each character in each chapter lends depth and perspective to them all.

This book is enthralling, not because it’s a ‘whodunit’, but because it is a fascinating revelation of the depths of depravity to which humanity can sink. I highly recommend it.

Deborah Minors

Posted on: 5th June 2016