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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