Friday, July 14, 2017

There is no one in this world who won’t make a few mistakes: THE CHILD.

The ChildThe Child by Fiona Barton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As a worker tears apart an old house under construction in London, he makes an unsettling discovery: tiny bones. The police believe they belong to a baby who was buried years earlier. The story catches the eye of journalist Kate Waters, who immediately wants to determine the child's identity. Her research leads her to a missing child from several decades in the past: a stolen baby, who was never found. Kate finds herself drawn into the missing baby's case and the lives of several women: Angela, a mother who had her baby stolen many years ago; Emma, who once lived on the block where the baby's bones were found; and Jude, Emma's mother.

I really enjoyed Barton's previous novel, The Widow, and I have to say that THE CHILD did not disappoint. It's hard exactly to describe her books, but they have some sort of power over you, drawing you into their narrative and making it difficult to come back to reality until you've reached the end. Much like THE WIDOW, we're presented with a cast of disparate characters-not all of whom are particularly likeable. I hadn't realized, for some reason, that THE CHILD would feature Kate again--a journalist we previously met in Barton's earlier book. I found Kate a much more engaging protagonist this time around: she came across as more human and flawed.

Otherwise, the novel focuses on timid, depressed Emma and her difficult relationship with her mother, Jude, who kicked Emma out of the house at the sixteen. Each woman has a turn at the narration, as does Angela, who is still reeling from having her baby stolen from the hospital (and never found). Barton does a skillful job weaving their stories together. Everything unfolds in bits and pieces as the tale progresses in the eyes of each of our narrators. For me, it was extremely riveting: just as one shocking piece came out, another one would fall into place.

Barton also gives us an excellent look into the journalism business, with a focus on how Kate writes her stories, with a strong emphasis on real (face-to-face, non-Internet-based) research. We see firsthand how the current social media craze is affecting the newspaper world. It's refreshing, as we get to basically see a crime/story solved, yet not necessarily through the lens of a typical police drama.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I figured out parts of it as it went along, but found it to be a very compelling read. Definitely worth picking up.

You can read my review of the THE WIDOW here.


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