“We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.
But what about the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the woman who stands by him?
Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.
Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.
But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.
Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.”
“The Widow” is the debut novel by former journalist Fiona Barton and was, she says, inspired by her thoughts whilst working as a journalist when “…covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.”
The book switches between narratives from several different characters in the story. Primarily there is Jean Taylor, the widow of a man accused of child abduction. Also we have local newspaper reporter Kate Waters, policeman DI Bob Sparkes who is leading the hunt for the missing girl and her abductor, and to a lesser extent Dawn Elliott who is the mother of the missing girl Bella.
I did struggle a little with the timeframe moving backwards and forwards in time constantly, but once I got into the book properly this ceased to be an issue as different strands of the tale began to make sense and mesh together.
For a debut novel I thought “The Widow” was excellent and although clues are laid throughout the final passages are still surprising. Using the central question of how much Jean really knew her husband, or perhaps even wanted to know, Barton has given a fascinating insight into what can go on in a seemingly normal (from the outside at least) marriage, as well as the darkness that can exist within the human soul. Impressive stuff…