The Child – Fiona Barton

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

My Review:  I did enjoy The Widow, Fiona Barton’s debut novel, which was published last year with quite a lot of hype but lots of mixed reviews.  When I was offered the chance to read her next book The Child which is being published at the end of the month, obviously I jumped at the chance.

If you enjoyed The Widow, then I personally think you will LOVE The Child.  If you didn’t particularly enjoy The Widow, then I still think you will enjoy The Child.  This book, in my opinion, is better, slicker, twistier and far more gripping.  The characters are likeable and more plausible, which is perhaps why The Widow had such mixed reviews.

The shocking discovery of a newborn baby’s skeleton in a building site sets off a chain of events which have a devastating affect on our 4 main narrators.  Once again, Kate Waters features as our female journalist who is determined to get to the bottom of the story.  The Child has some uncomfortable themes running throughout including mental illness, abuse and child abduction, but Fiona Barton manages to write about these subjects with empathy and compassion.   This is a gripping, heartbreaking and emotional read which has enough twists and turns and red herrings to keep the reader fully engaged and gripped.  I didn’t work out the “twist” until the reveal and that, in my opinion, makes this a great book.

About The Author:  My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist – senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.
But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.
The worm of this book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.
It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.
Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow is available now in the UK, and around the world in the coming months.
However, the sudden silence of my characters feels like a reproach and I am currently working on a second book.
My husband and I are living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Sparky, crowing.

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