The Child by Fiona Barton – book review

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Fiona Barton taught me a lesson with The Child.  Last summer I read The Widow and didn’t really like it, despite all the hype surrounding the book.  I almost didn’t read The Child because I thought it would be a repeat performance of a let-down story.  Wow, was I wrong!

This story is almost like unraveling a gift box that is encased in holiday ribbon.  Without scissors, by the way.  You might somehow manage to pull one ribbon strand, but it just stretches far enough to get tangled with another.  A third ribbon is so tightly bound that you think it will never come loose!  Like the package, this story came apart in tiny ribbon shreds that were all bundled in a heap by the end of the last chapter.

In my opinion, The Child is incorrectly touted as a thriller.  There’s no immediate danger to any of the characters, apart from psychological peril.  Instead, we’re drawn deeper into a dark world of guilt, shame, and uncertainty.  Many touchy issues are brought up in this book including sexual assault, loss of children, miscarriage, and more.   Though I may have suspected the final outcome, it wasn’t clear until the very last few chapters.  Barton neatly tied those ribbons so tightly that closing the book felt like giving up on unwrapping a gift.  You just can’t leave a gift behind!  I absolutely adored The Child and its ending.  Fiona Barton, I won’t doubt you again.

 

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