Review published on May 14, 2017.
The Child is a story with three strands, all revolving around the discovery of a newborn baby’s skeleton on a building site in Woolwich. One of the strands features journalist Kate Waters, who I understand appeared in Fiona Barton’s first novel, The Widow. I haven’t read that book yet, but there was only a small mention of her back story in The Child so there’s no problem if you haven’t read The Widow yet either.
It took quite a bit of getting into the story, I think because there are these three separate strands that, although I could see they were linked, were still very separate for quite a bit of the story. The threads only really start to properly merge quite late on. Despite this, I did find myself being pulled into the stories of these three women.
Emma is a damaged individual, both by circumstances and events. Angela is forever reliving the worst thing that could have happened to her. And Kate is chasing a story but finds herself getting more involved than she should. I liked Kate as a character very much. She’s strong and experienced but has a softer side. Her interaction with a trainee made me smile and illustrated how journalism has changed with the advent of online news reporting. I guess Fiona Barton is using a lot of her own experiences there.
I loved how the story was uncovered by Kate as we went along. There’s a bit of a twist at the end that I only just saw coming before I read it and that was quite clever as I was constantly wondering how the stories would be connected.
The Child is an extremely well constructed novel. After that slightly slow start the pace suddenly picked up and swept me along towards the very satisfying conclusion. I know books featuring journalists aren’t exactly unusual, but I really enjoyed Kate’s investigations and it made a change from reading about detectives.
I thought this was a really great psychological read that kept me interested throughout.
Nicola Smith 4/4
The Child by Fiona Barton
Bantam Press 9780593077719 hbk Jun 2017