Cover Image: The Child

The Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This chilling book by popular author Fiona Barton is a fast-paced, hair-raising read. Perfect for fans of her other works, Gone Girl, and thrillers / suspense novels.
Was this review helpful?
It all starts with the skeletal remains of a baby found at a demolition site. Mysteries from decades past are suddenly thrust into the glaring media spotlight. The story dragged a little for me at the beginning but kept my curiosity engaged. There were so many bombshells dropping and unexpected turns in the story that I just had to finish.
Was this review helpful?
This book was not exactly what I was expecting. There were many twists and turns right from the beginning. The fact that the book is told from different perspectives keeps you guessing at exactly what happened in the past. While I did enjoy the first 75% of the book I felt like it fell off at the end. By the 75% mark you had all the information you needed to figure out who's baby it is. I obviously then felt that the last 25% was dragging on and on. I was just waiting for Kate to finally figure it out. The story was great. The progression of the facts was just okay.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book! Fast paced and excellent character development. Couldn't wait to unravel the mystery and was totally caught off guard by the ending. Excellent read.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second book I've read by Fiona Barton and although her first book was a five-star read for me, I still really enjoyed this one.

Builders in London who are demolishing a building are shocked when they discover the skeleton of a baby buried there. They turn to the police for help to identify the body, and reporter Kate Waters picks up the story for her newspaper. As Kate digs in to the case she finds out about an old case where a baby disappeared from a hospital years ago. Could this be the long lost baby? And if it isn't, whose baby is it?

This was an exciting read, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I figured out some of the plot twists, and others remained a surprise, but they were all enjoyable! I read through this one quickly and I was eager to find out what would happen next. Barton is a talented author and I can highly recommend this read to fans of psychological suspense. I can't wait to read her next book!
Was this review helpful?
Review published on and aired on Shelf Discovery
Was this review helpful?
Secrets. Everyone has them. Yet, some secrets are a bit more potent and therefore life-altering than others, and what at first seems simple and straight-forward can actually be quite complex. Kate Waters finds this out as she investigates the mystery of the unearthed baby in The Child. As with her first novel, Fiona Barton's second novel is an excellent example of stories taking on a life of their own.

Unlike her first novel, The Child is a much more engaging story from start to finish. It spans three different narrators, and readers must wait to find out what, if anything, connects the three. As Kate's exclusive story about the found baby eventually twists and morphs into something completely unexpected, readers can only hang on for the ride.

For all that, it is not a novel that rushes towards its denouement. Rather, it takes its time, peeling back each layer of the various mysteries much as an archaeologist carefully brushes away each grain of sand and dirt. Ms. Barton builds into each uncovered layer depth and character development that forces you to truly care about the characters. What follows is a slow burn to an emotional ending, one that is well worth the time it takes to get there.

This is not to say it is a boring novel, for it most definitely is not. Kate and her search for answers allows readers a glimpse into the world of news reporting and the changes brought about by the advent of the Internet, social media, and blogging. Emma brings readers into the world of ghost writing, while Angela shows some of the never-ending anguish mothers feel at the loss of a child. They are three very different women with three distinct perspectives on life, and each character takes on a life of her own while she narrates. Readers find their sympathies split between the three as they all wrestle with their demons past and present that Kate's questioning brings to the fore.

The Child is a quiet thriller in that there are no life-or-death moments or sadistic killers haunting the narrators. The action is subdued, if nonexistent. Rather, the dangers faced by the women are much more circumspect and ordinary, making them much more terrifying. Ms. Barton carefully builds her narrative around these everyday dangers to create a story that pulls on the heartstrings because at least part of it could so easily happen to any one of us. One might be able to find fault for the ending being a trifle too predictable, but others will find themselves so absorbed in the three women's lives that they don't bother predicting anything. Regardless if you figure it out in advance or not, the ending is satisfying, providing closure and hope for all. You can't get much better than that.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from Net Galley for free in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book. I especially enjoyed that the mystery solving was driven by a news reporter instead of a detective. Some things I guessed early on but wasn't 100% sure that was the answer, so it kept me guessing. I also appreciated that it wasn't riddled with bad language- there was some, but not overly much as to be noticeable. I would absolutely read another book by this author.
Was this review helpful?
A infant baby is found during construction and there is more than one person who may have connections to the baby, but reporter Kate is on the case and wants to get the story before anyone else.  

I have to say that I did figure out all of the things early.  I doubted myself at a few points, but in the end I was correct and I am still not sure how I feel about how easily I came to the conclusion.  

I loved how the story was set up, there were chapters told from the reporter Kate, a young woman named Emma who lived in the neighborhood where the baby was with her mom, who also has a few chapters from her perspective and the other person who did a lot of narrating was Angela who had a baby kidnapped from the hospital.  I loved how it hopped between all of these women and the story moved forward from one story to the next and even a few times a scene was repeated from a different perspective - it was very cool how she weaved it all in and out.

I will continue to read Fiona Barton, I like the way she puts together her stories and completely adore her characters!
Was this review helpful?
"The Child" is the story of three women. There is Angela, a woman that had her baby stolen from the hospital many years ago. She still dreams that her child may be alive but realizes that may be too good to be true. There is Emma, a young woman trying to come to terms with her majorly messed up childhood as an adult. Then there is Kate, an intrepid reporter, who wants to find out the mystery behind the baby buried in the garden that captivates the whole country. This book had tons of twists and turns and definitely kept me guessing.

Thrillers are still one genre that I don't seem to get around to all that much but during the summer, sometimes you just want a book that is going to take you on a wild ride and this book certainly does that. It's not too fast paced but the twists and turns make this book thrilling. There were a few points in the book where I really thought I had everything figured out only to have Barton turn everything on its head again and again. I really liked how she was able to do this! She definitely knows how to build up excitement.

Another thing that I liked is that she actually puts a lot into making sure her characters aren't flat (a flaw that often seems to be hiding in more action oriented books). I especially enjoyed reading about Emma and Jude, her mother. Jude is a terribly flawed, sort of horrible character that doesn't seem to get that the world does not revolve around her. Although she wants a relationship with Emma, she seems to want to make sure it is a contentious, strained relationship at every turn. Emma seems to have some deep-rooted issues that are slowly unraveled throughout the book.

Overall, this is a good read that will keep you on your toes!
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book! The author wrote a story that explores themes of family and betrayal, while managing to create characters that I loved and want to keep reading about. I loved the mystery behind the child in this book and the multiple twists and turns that lead to a climactic ending. Definitely recommend!
Was this review helpful?
A real spellbinding book. I couldn't stop reading it! Figuring out the mystery of the missing baby with Kate had me riveted.
Was this review helpful?
This intense psychological thriller will have you reading late into the night. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the story of this book. I liked the mystery and the connection between multiple families. I also enjoyed the journalistic aspect of it and how she was doing a lot of the investigating and not just a cop.
Was this review helpful?
This is my first book to read by Fiona Barton, despite the fact that I've read that she had written a very popular book called The Widow prior to this one. I had previously read the synopsis on The Widow and wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea; however, once I've read this book, I'm going to reconsider!

This book was interesting, exciting, and an easy read. I was excited throughout the book to find out exactly how all the characters intertwined - I knew something was coming, but honestly did not see the final twist! In this book, each chapter focuses on the story from the viewpoint of several connected individuals, mainly focusing on Kate, Emma, Jude, and Angela.

Kate is a journalist that is intrigued by a recent brief article that she read in regards to the body of a baby being found at a construction site - and she won't stop until she gets all the details. Who is this baby? How did the baby end up at its location? How could someone do this to a child?

Emma appears to have extensive mental health difficulties, a complicated relationship with her mother (Jude), and significant events in her life that no one else has any knowledge of...not even her husband. She is intrigued by the story of the "Construction Site Baby."

Jude is the mother of Emma. Their relationship is not a healthy one and it's apparent that Jude has not always made the best choices as a mother (for example, choosing to kick Emma out of the house as a teenager to save the relationship with her boyfriend, Will). 

Angela tries to make it day to day, but is constantly and silently struggling with a traumatic event that happened years earlier - someone stole her newborn baby from the hospital. When she learns of the "Construction Site Baby," she can't help but wonder if this could be her baby...her Alice. 

As Kate continues to dig up details, the situation becomes more and more grim than the reader even thought it could get. Throughout the book, different connections continue to appear until the end...when we finally learn the final connections that help the story make complete sense. The ending brings sadness...but also the chance for a happy, new beginning for some characters.
Was this review helpful?
A satisfying page-turner! The short chapters and multiple perspectives kept me engaged and up until the wee hours finishing the book. The story opens when a tiny skeleton is found during excavation of a building site. The book is told from the perspective of four people: the journalist Kate, Emma and her mother Jude who used to live in the neighborhood where the skeleton was found, and Angela, whose baby was stolen from the maternity ward many years ago. While it seems obvious the skeleton is Angela’s baby, the truth is more complicated than the set-up would lead you to think.

The suspense was carried throughout the book, with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. I had a little trouble keeping everyone straight at first but my persistence paid off. There are secrets to be discovered and the author reveals just enough to keep you turning the pages. I found the surprise twist and the ending satisfying on several levels. 

Although this is a standalone, I liked the recurring character of the journalist, Kate, who we first met in the author’s first book, The Widow. The author’s background in journalism is evident in how she writes her character, and I hope she is featured in the author’s next book.
Was this review helpful?
The Child is a multi-layered mystery with one burning question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

The story is told from the perspectives of four women:

*Emma: A reclusive, secretive woman married to a (much older) man. The discovery of the baby's remains leaves Emma obsessed with the need to know what the police know about the child.

*Jude: Mother of Emma, with whom she has a strained relationship due to events that happened when Emma was a teenager.

*Angela Irving: Her newborn baby was kidnapped from the hospital years ago, and never found. She believes the Building Site Baby might be the remains of her long-lost child... which is creating tension within her family.

*Kate Waters: Newspaper journalist investigating the story of the Building Site Baby. Will the remains prove to be that of the lost Irving child... or someone else?

For me, the book seemed to start a bit slow, and I had a momentary thought of setting it aside. I persevered, however, because I HAD to find out the identity of the baby! And I'm so glad I did, because the slow start was not at all indicative of the way the story flowed throughout the rest of the book. (To be honest, maybe the "slow" start had more to do with me being distracted by others as I read, which could easily have skewed my perception of its beginning.)

I enjoyed this story a great deal. The layers of mystery made the book even more intriguing, and it was great fun for me to try to work out all the pieces of the multiple puzzles. I did manage to figure out one thing, but there was another reveal at the end that I never saw coming. It was a fantastic twist, and I loved it!

This is the first book I've read by Fiona Barton, but I'm sure I'll be reading more from this author in the future! If you haven't read it yet? You should!

(Now that my review is finished, here's an amusing story. I originally requested an ARC of this book through First to Read. I had it long enough—and read enough books in the interim—to forget that I had it. Then I noticed it on Netgalley—didn't remember I already had it—and requested it again. You have no idea how foolish I felt when I realized I now had TWO copies of the same ARC. Ah, well. It served to teach me the importance of making sure I'm not requesting a book I already have! #BookBloggerProblems, indeed. 😂)

I received an advance review copy of this book from Berkley via First to Read and Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
There have been several really good “shifting perspective” books published recently, and “The Child” continues this trend. And it’s also good. So, so good.

The main characters are three women: Kate, a journalist who becomes intrigued when the body of a baby is found buried on a building site; Angela, whose baby disappeared from the hospital 40 years ago; and Emma, a fragile woman who lived in the apartment block the baby was found behind and, by her own admission, is hiding secrets. The three of them are all drawn into this tragic story. It’s up to Kate to find out how.

The central mystery of the book is, of course, the child. Who is it? How did they get there? As the reader is taken on this journey, we find people who are hiding their pasts, who are insecure, and it makes for great dramatic reading. I was immediately drawn into the story. There so many possible answers to this mystery in these characters in their lives that you become completely obsessed.

I didn’t get the ending at first, but at about 85 percent of the way in, there was a reveal that laid it out for me. It was a great ending that satisfied me fully and wrapped up most of the major storylines. Which is a credit to the author because there’s a lot going on in the book, so to have it wrapped up nicely is quite a feat.

Overall this book continued a great summer of reading for me and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries and thrillers.

I look forward to reading more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this mystery being told in alternate perspectives.  The mystery was written well and kept me changing the direction I thought it was going.
Was this review helpful?
When the skeletal remains of a baby are uncovered, two women believe it is their baby.  We find out early on that Angela’s baby was stolen from the hospital a few days after she was born.   For Emma, it takes most of the story to find out what happened to her baby and why she thinks the remains are hers.  Who is the real mother?

This is my first book to read by Fiona Barton.  I did get hooked into the story from page one.  The chapters are short and the story moves along quickly.  Just when I though the story was over, I saw I had about 10% left to read.   Uh oh - something else is going to happen!  

Thanks to Berkley Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?