Southampton/London – The Widow – Fiona Barton


Why a booktrail?

2010: You know those women who stand beside their husbands who have been accused of terrible crimes? What do the wives really think and know?


Told in three separate voices – the reporter, the detective and the widow of course following the death of the widow’s husband, accused of abducting a two year old girl. When the husband dies, the woman who has stood by his side all this time gets to talk and say her piece. The story starts as the reporter comes to the widow’s door and flashbacks show why and what events have led to this point. What did Jean really know of Glen and his past? What really does go on behind closed doors?

Place and setting

Screen shot 2016-01-13 at 22.53.00
*Greenwich London Where Jean worked as a hairdresser when she meets Glen *Premier inn South London where Sparkes and co eat breakfast before calling on the widow *Southampton Westland Bella goes missing from here *Southhampton police station where the police enquiry is centered from. Bob Sparkes is from the Hampshire police force

Bella a two year old girl has been abducted from her garden  in Southampton and the main suspect is Glen Taylor who works as a delivery driver. When the police arrive to question him, the secrets start spilling out and Glen Taylor’s character is revealed in flashbacks and drip by drip revelation.

Four years after the little girl has gone missing, Glen dies and this is when Jean says that she will speak and tell her side of the story. A lot has happened since this time. The setting here is behind closed doors and into the darkest recesses of the human mind.

One terrible crime unsettling in the nature of it and the suspect that Glen is one part of a much bigger criminal activity involving children. Chilling and unsettling. How would it feel to be married to someone suspected of this? Jean needs to start talking and stop acting the quiet, meek little woman in the dark.

What happens when the cameras of the world stop watching and life attempts to carry on…


What secrets are hidden inside a marriage. When one is suspected of a crime, can the other person really not know what was going on? Fiona starts the novel by stating that she has worked as a journalist and mentions the range of people she has interviewed from victims to suspect and that it’s not always the people in the spotlight that leave the biggest impression. She says we have all seen the widow on the television and wondered what she knew and that this is her story. It was quite a story and although I felt really uncomfortable reading the sections about child abuse and those who commit it, the bits where you got to see the relationship between the media and the people involved was interesting.

I really didn’t know how to feel about Jean though as she changed quite considerably throughout the story. The whole novel centered around what she did and didn’t know and so the end was for me a bit…i’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about this and I’m still not sure several days after having read it.

But that is the sign of a book that gets you in some way – an unreliable narrator and getting inside a trial by media. This for me was the most interesting part of the novel and the fact that Fiona was such an expert on it really gave it added depth.

Susan booktrailer

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