I’ve come back to the field of psychological thriller and I must say this return has been over the top with The widow. A book that engages from the first page and, I guess, has as strongest and most differential point the new point of view in which it places the reader: the alleged kidnapper’s family.
It is true that it shows some common points to every thriller (if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be one of them): the narration with the disappearance, in this case, of a little girl; the alleged guilty of whom we don’t know whether he really is or not up until the end of the story; an investigation with numerous difficulties; and some more surprises during the course and the end of the plot.
However, as I advanced in my introduction, The widow also introduces a whole new focus from which we are not used to thinking about: how do the alleged guilty’s relatives live these situations ? In this case the story is mainly focused in the widow. Yes, just starting the book we discover the alleged guilty has died (keep calm, this is not any spoiler).
Jean Taylor is a naive woman who married too young with the promising Glenn Taylor and whose life has always been revolving around him; submissive and obedient, she hasn’t need to think by herself until the moment when her husband dies, and it’s then when we start to know a fearful personality, but aiming to feel free at the same time.
Glenn Taylor is an ambitious and certainly mysterious man who has always influenced and pressed his wife. It is not explicitly said in the book, but he seems to be an abuser occasionally; when he blames Jean because of his addictions until her assuming, or with his shifting mood. In this sense, Fiona Barton has created a complex personality with great mastery.
Regarding the style of the book, it shows temporary jumps among the story that, however, place us perfectly in the proper moment and allow us to discover further details of what is going on. Additionally, the plot is shown from the perspective of three main characters: Bob Sparkes, policeman in charge of the investigation; Kate Waters, journalist; and the own Jean. And in any case, Barton presents amazing documenting and research skills, narrating their personalities and professions in an exquisite and concrete way. How an investigation is restarted or how an article is written are two facts that, if not known, can be fallen in shallowness or cliches when told. But this is not the case.
The conclusion of the story doesn’t present great surprises os unexpected twists regarding what the plot is uncovering, but does in the way we get there. Tensely and with a last scene that -because of the way we can imagine it- puts the hair on tip.
If you like this kind of literature, I encourage you to find out this fiction that won’t let you take off, from beginning to end. Happy reading to all of you and, please, don’t stop telling me what do you think about it!
The best. The novel approach which provides to the thriller genre, regarding the character point of view.
The worst. It doesn’t shows great surprises in the end, but the own development shapes a very interesting story.
Where to read. During a travel, it is quickly read and the trip towards our destination will be much shorter.
Booktherapy. This book will develop our empathy ability, for locating us in new point of views and in the way third parties live the same experiences.
Overview (Source Amazon)
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…