Fiona Barton: The Child

Relevant posts: The Widow

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I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers, it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it’s the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The child’s story will be told.


The Child is Fiona Barton’s second novel, another psychological thriller that sees the return of journalist Kate Waters who pops up within The Widow. In this novel, Kate comes across a small piece in the newspaper about a baby found buried underneath a building site. Using her journalistic instincts, Kate believes that there might be something more to this story and sets out to pursue the truth of who this baby really is. Little does she know how deep the investigation will go, and the lies and secrets that will be uncovered because of her digging.

I wasn’t initially aware that Fiona had another novel coming out but, when the publishers from Penguin Random House emailed me about their upcoming release having read my review of The Widow, I couldn’t turn it down. The Child is definitely a step up from The Widow and sees Fiona weave a tale that is more intricate, deep, dark, and – in some places – twisted. There is a lot going on within this novel and it throws a lot of questions at you. I felt that The Child was a far stronger novel than The Widow and it is clear to see in the progression of this investigation and how secure the plot of this novel is. There were no loose threads and everything connected perfectly.

In The Child we focus primarily on three main characters: Kate Waters, Emma Massingham, and Angelia Irving. All three characters are, in some way, connected to the buried baby at the building site. Fiona presents the novel through each characters perspective, sometimes retelling the same event through two people in order to understand the emotions and actions of the people involved. Kate is ready for her next big scoop having lost momentum from disclosing the story seen in The Widow. She is a workaholic who knows how to push peoples buttons to get what she wants and get the answers that she needs. Emma is an anxious woman who is a bit unsure of herself. As the novel progresses we begin to understand that this stems from her childhood and the terrible upbringing that she had. When news breaks out about the baby, she becomes flustered, anxious, and concerned for herself and the secrets she keeps. Angela is a woman wracked by grief following the disappearance of her baby from the maternity ward when she first gave birth. Ever since she has not given up hope that her long lost child is out there somewhere and just wants to know the truth – whether she is alive or dead. She is a paranoid and anxious woman who sees the worst in what she is told and finds it hard to look on the bright side.

The Child is a brilliantly written psychological thriller that really shows how Fiona Barton’s writing has progressed and her ability to build upon narrative strands has grown. It was an absorbing and gripping novel that had some dark moments and really highlights how easily it is to hide something directly under someone else’s nose. The novel progresses nicely with no deviation from the endgame and each character develops from the events that take place, growing stronger, determined, and more sure of themselves. Fiona Barton is fast becoming an auto-buy author and I cannot wait to see what dark, twisted story she will throw at us next.

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