Title: The Child
Author: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…
The reason I liked this book so much was the characters and not so much the story. Which sounds terrible, but I promise that I still really liked the story as well. The mystery was great and even though all the clues were there I still found parts of the ending surprising. The Child is told from the perspective of four women and Fiona Barton did such a great job of writing such flawed, believable women. Each of the women: Kate, Emma, Angela, and Jude feel like such real people and I really enjoy when an author can make characters come to life in my head so vividly.
Out of all the characters Emma was my favorite because she was so damaged and fragile in some ways but in other ways she could be so strong. Emma’s mother, Jude, was my most disliked character which is exactly what the author intended. I’ve never read from the perspective of such a selfish mother before and it made me so angry reading from her side.
The synopsis about the building site baby is only a portion of what the book is about and all the different elements helped make the book feel well rounded. There was a lot of intrigue and more than one mystery that needed to be solved. Fiona Barton is a journalist so she was able to give a lot of behind the scenes info and a sense of how much work goes into putting together an article. I found myself emotionally invested in the story which is why I rated it so high. The story and mystery are still both really well done and I would give 4 stars just for that reason. Obviously, the bonus star is because the author did an outstanding job with the characters.
This is Fiona Barton’s second novel and I’m definitely interested in picking up her first one, The Widow. I’m not sure if they are a series but the covers definitely look similar. I have heard that some people don’t like mysteries that are told from the perspective of the person solving the crime so if that is you then this may not be for you. Also, this is another book from my reading challenge. I have really enjoyed every book that I have read from this list and if you are really into thrillers and mysteries like me, then definitely check it out.