Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

Review

In Fiona Barton’s highly anticipated The Child, deeply buried secrets are unearthed when the bones of a newborn are found in a building site. The story piques the curiosity of reporter Kate Waters (who we met in Barton’s bestseller The Widow). Who was this baby? And who could have buried her, and why?

What starts as a human interest story quickly morphs into more as Kate investigates. We meet Emma, who is rattled after reading Kate’s story in the paper and Angela—a former nurse who is convinced that it’s her baby who’s been found more than 40 years later.

Through multiple perspectives, we learn about Emma and Angela’s lives, about their pasts, and the secrets they’ve hung to tightly. We also meet Jude, Emma’s mom, whose rocky relationship with her daughter stems back to a boyfriend who pressured Jude to throw out a then 16-year-old Emma.

As Kate pulls a singular thread to get to the bottom of this mystery, a darker, more tangled story unravels, reaping emotional chaos to all those involved in the case.

Secrets gradually come to light with Barton’s subdued and skillful hand, reaching a culmination that is worth the wait (especially given the somewhat slow start to the novel). Barton’s character development is impressive—you’ll feel the fracturing emotions of these women viscerally, which helped to keep the tension taut.

Summer readers should tuck this one into their beach bag—you’ll love the highly satisfying payoff of this twisty, tragic and often heartbreaking thriller.

About The Child

The author of the stunning New York Times best seller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense.

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.

✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

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Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

Review

A single night dictates the lives of four people, whose lies deepen and tangle over time in this riveting, character-driven thriller.

Kit and Laura are in love—their relationship holds the promise of forever. In the summer of 1999, they visit Cornwall to experience a solar eclipse. Kit, an eclipse chaser, is excited for Laura to experience the beauty of it alongside him. The night takes a turn, however, when in the shadows, Laura interrupts a horrible crime between a man and a woman. He immediately denies wrongdoing, while the woman (Beth) remains in a state of silent shock.

That night, and the aftermath of it, sets into motion a series of transgressions unimagined. It’s a he said/she said battle in court, as Laura and Kit testify to what they saw.

But it’s far from over, especially as Beth shows up at their apartment, inserting herself into their lives. Before too long, things get awkward and incidents happen—incidents which force Kit and Laura to take new names and live completely off the grid… or else.

The story unravels from Kit and Laura’s perspectives, with chapters alternating between past and present, culminating in shocking truths you’ll never guess along the way.

The narrative is a riveting exploration of a relationship once filled with promise, but over time frayed by what happened in Cornwall, disintegrating with the stress of the very real things they’ve had to endure, and the dangerous lies they’ve all hidden.

While the story is deftly plotted with ratcheting suspense and tension, it’s the flawed characters and their interactions which stand front and center. Specifically, the lies they tell themselves to justify wrongdoings, the lengths to which they’ll go to conceal these lies, and the outcomes they must endure as a result of them.

Even now, days later, I can’t stop thinking about this book and I know I’ve found a new-to-me author to enthusiastically follow.

About He Said/She Said

In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder―did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

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✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

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Review: The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Review

A woman is shocked to discover her husband—who was supposed to be in Kansas for a business trip—has died, along with his mistress in Hawaii.

Talented writing duo Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke deliver their first thriller with The Good Widow. Fast paced and twisty, the novel explores the internal turmoil that roils with grief and betrayal.

Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales is left reeling with the news that her husband James is dead after his car tumbles off a cliff in Maui. Worse yet, his death uncovers an affair with a woman named Dylan, who died at his side. Caught in a tailspin of emotion, Jacks shuts down until she gets a surprise visit from Nick—Dylan’s equally devastated fiancé, who suggests they seek closure by retracing James and Dylan’s steps in Maui.

What they find are more surprises, more truths hidden from them both. For Jacks, it’s salt to the already raw wounds, and she begins to feel partly responsible for what’s happened. But it’s there, in paradise, that she faces her fears and confronts her anger at James’ deception. Yet as the pieces fall into place, new twists reveal nothing is really as it seems.

The quickly moving pace and twisty narrative hold your attention, but what’s especially interesting is the domestic drama which reveals its own fascinating secrets, specifically within a marriage and between illicit lovers.

This summer suspense debut will keep you on edge.

About The Good Widow

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

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✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

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Review: Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren

Review

Christina Lauren’s latest, Dating You, Hating You, hits all the right buttons with a story brimming with charm, sexiness and girl power.

This enemies-to-lovers office romance was a joy to read with its relatability, humor and pop-culture mentions. The chemistry between the equally quirky main characters was off-the-charts irresistible too. It all takes place in an office environment that proves the “boy’s club” is alive and well, making it regrettably relatable (at least for one who has also been called kiddo in the workplace — arg!).

Evie and Carter meet one night at a mutual friend’s Halloween party. As the only two single people there, and both donning Harry Potter costumes, they laugh the night away as sparks fly hot and bright for these two Hollywood agents. Better yet, a successful date night promises good things to come… until they discover their two rival agencies are merging and their jobs are suddenly at stake.

Evil, sexist boss extraordinaire Brad, alludes that there may only be one job available. Despite wanting to make it work, eventually the gloves come off.

The office turns into a battlefield where war is waged one meeting—one prank—at a time. We also see Evie work harder than anyone else to succeed in a workplace where she is constantly undermined for her genetic makeup.

Soon enough, it’s clear there’s more at play in their rapidly unraveling situation, and they must each make decisions that could impact a lot more than their day jobs.

Although Dating You, Hating You is a delicious escape, it’s also a smart and relatable romance written by a talented duo who consistently strike the right balance between humor, heart and sexiness. This one should be on everyone’s summer reading list!

About Dating You/Hating You

Everyone knows that all’s fair in love and war. But these two will learn that sabotage is a dish best served naked.

The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending, or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, hilarious story of romance in the modern world.

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✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

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