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I took last week off of British Isles Friday. Tina shared two books by Graham Swift, both with delightfully British titles: Mothering Sunday and Last Orders.
Book: The Widow by Fiona Barton
Publication date: 2016
Source: e-book, borrowed from library
Summary: Jean Taylor’s husband is killed by an oncoming bus. But that’s neither the start nor the end of her troubles. She already knows the police detective who comes around asking questions and the investigative reporter who comes around offering company (but she really wants answers to questions, too). In order to figure out how to answer the questions, Jean needs to figure out who she is as the widow when she has become so accustomed to being the wife.
Thoughts: Tina is the reason that I read The Widow by Fiona Barton. She read The Suspect, not realizing that it was the third in a series about investigative reporter Kate Waters. She liked it, but would have preferred to read the series in order. Given that warning, I started with Book #1 — The Widow.
Thanks, Tina! The Widow got me out of a reading slump. I’ve had a hard time getting engaged with any book in recent weeks. I made it about half way through two novels and couldn’t be bothered to finish. That never happens to me! I either give up in the first forty-three pages or so (following Nancy Pearl’s 50-page rule) or I slog on to the end. So, I really needed something to grab me at the beginning and take me all the way through. The Widow did the trick!
And, now that I’m reminded that it’s a series, I’ll put the next book, The Child, on my list.
I’m a little surprised that it is a series. The Widow is from multiple viewpoints and the most prominent voice is the widow, not the reporter. So, I’m intrigued to see how that plays out in the next book.
The Widow is told in a kind of inside-out, in medias res, way. The dramatic back story, something all the characters are aware of, is only slowly revealed to the reader. I enjoyed it, although it’s a technique that I’ve sometimes rejected in the past as being too frustrating. Fiona Barton made it work for this story. I wonder if that kind of story-telling will be a theme of the series.
Appeal: This is a mystery, but it may not appeal to all mystery readers, given the odd time-line. I think it will appeal to fans of “women’s fiction” even ones who don’t normally like mysteries.
Have you read this book? What did you think?