Cover Image: The Child

The Child

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Member Reviews

The Child by Fiona Barton
4 Stars
I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me early access to this book!


In a once sketchy area of London, a construction crew unearths a tiny human skeleton while demolishing a row of old homes. The child couldn’t have been older than a newborn infant when it died. The initial article in the paper is small, and it seems pretty clear that the police aren’t make it a priority. But as Kate Waters, a local reporter and superstar from the widow case a few years back, starts to get involved, more alarming questions begin to arise.

Who was this baby?

Who lived in this home when the baby was buried?

Why was it all kept a secret?

Could this baby be Alice Irving? The baby who was taken from her hospital crib decades ago?

As Kate tracks down old inhabitants of the area and starts to uncover the truth, frightening images of  rape and drug addicts begin to surface. New evidence pours in and new questions are being asked. Old inhabitants and neighbors who didn’t seem important before are now key witnesses to her investigation. And while Kate uncovers the truth, she must keep in contact with the now elderly mother of Alice Irving, Angela, who is still in pieces from her baby’s abduction decades earlier.

Told from the perspectives of Kate, Angela, and Emma, a young woman who appears to be obsessed with the case in the beginning, The Child tells a heartbreaking and scary story of the things we hide and the frightening lengths we go to for love.


I was ready to give this one 3 stars. It took me way too long to get into it in the beginning because everything felt so disconnected. There were these 3 perspectives that you had no clue how to relate to one another, and there wasn’t a whole lot revealed until about halfway through the book.

As with many books I read, I think I was just being impatient. Obviously these 3 women’s stories were disconnected in the beginning! We knew nothing about them until their backgrounds were very slowly revealed. I did figure out what was going on a bit before the characters did, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. It was still thrilling and scary to watch it all unfold in front of Kate, the reporter’s eyes. 

If you haven’t read Fiona Barton’s other book, The Widow, then you should know that Kate Waters is a repeat character from that book. There were no other connections between the 2 books though.

Things I LOVED

Kate’s style of reporting. While she’s still a reporter who’s ultimately after the great story, she seems to genuinely care about the people she’s writing about. She was very careful with Angela when discussing baby Alice, and she frequently drove Emma home or checked in on her at random times. 

The ending. It would be wrong to say that everything worked out because it didn’t, but there were some very satisfying parts to the ending. It wasn’t really a happy ending, but it seemed like a step in the right direction, if that makes sense.

Things I Didn’t Love

The slow pace. I totally understand that things need to be revealed slowly in these types of books. But I feel like there should have been more in the beginning. Instead of feeling intrigued and excited to uncover the truth, I found myself frustrated and irritated that I was almost halfway through and STILL had no clue what was really going on or who these people were.

Reporters in general. While Kate had style and poise in her work, she still took a small level of pleasure in getting the “news” before other reporters would have. I guess I’ll never understand how one person can find joy in another’s suffering.

A Minor Comparison

Finally, since Fiona Barton only has 1 other book, I’m going to compare the 2 very briefly.
If you haven’t already read The Widow, I highly recommend that you do! It was a great book, and I will admit that I thought it was better than this one. But I think that there’s a very important reason why. 

In The Widow, we were dealing with an abducted child. I won’t say whether or not the child was found alive, but the possibility was there throughout the entire book. The urgency of the situation made everything move so much faster, and it felt like a race to the end. The Child was a lot different because even though the ending was important to get to so that we could uncover the truth, we were still dealing with a skeleton. There wasn’t any alarm in the situation. The crimes were decades old, and the people involved were elderly or middle-aged. It just made for a less urgent, slower moving story.

All in all though, this was a great book, and I would definitely recommend it!
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I really enjoyed Fiona Barton's first book The Widow and I must say I loved The Child even more! Barton caught my attention last year with her debut of The Widow so when I saw she had a new book coming out I was very excited and she did not disappoint! An enthralling read that you just don't want to put down I finished it in less than 2 days. Very fast paced, great storyline, and I'm just a sucker for a really good plot twist which Barton gives you! I will definitely be recommending this one as soon as it comes out to all my thriller fans that come to my store!
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Excellent! Fiona Barton may be my new favorite author.
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When a derelict house in London is pulled down, the remains of an infant are found in the wreckage. Investigative reporter Kate Waters is determined to give the lost child a name and soon uncovers the link between an infant stolen from a local hospital, a child who was never recovered. Who is the baby and why was it left behind all those years before? Barton proves herself a master of suspense
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