The Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jul 2017

Member Reviews

A good mystery with an interesting plot with a twist at the end. However, it was just a little slow for me after I got through the first half. It became predictable as I came close to guessing the outcome.
Was this review helpful?
How did I not see the ending before it happened?! I think that's the mark of a good book, when you don't guess the ending but looking back you can see it plainly and it makes so much sense. And that's how I felt about this book. Great characters, great writing, a great story. I also enjoyed that it was fairly clean, as crime books go, and that it was tastefully written.
Was this review helpful?
The first buried secret that propels Fiona Barton's  new novel of domestic intrigue, The Child (Berkley, digital galley), is an infant's skeleton found by workers tearing down London houses. Barton quickly connects four women to the old bones and then alternates perspective among them. Kate Roberts is the seasoned reporter who writes the initial story, "Who is the Building Site Baby?'' Emma is the book editor who struggles with depression and who used to live on the street where the bones were found. Both she and her narcissistic mother Jude, still looking for Mr. Right after all these years, see the story, as does Angela, whose baby was stolen from the maternity ward years ago. She's convinced the skeleton is her daughter, Alice, but she's been wrong before. As Kate diligently tracks clues to the baby's identity, more secrets surface, leading to the book's other question: How long can you live with a lie that has shaped your life in untoward ways? Like Barton's previous novel The Widow, this one offers interesting answers.
from On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever
Was this review helpful?
Great mystery/thriller by Fiona Barton.  I thought the characters were well thought out and the ending was unexpected.
Was this review helpful?
When journalist, Kate Waters, reads that a child’s skeleton has been found buried in a London construction area, she wonders if there is a bigger story here. After some investigation, she discovers secrets and pieces of a puzzle that don’t seem to fit together. The skeleton is identified as a baby that had been kidnapped from a hospital over 40 years ago. The police don’t hold out much hope for this case to be solved after so much time has gone by.

Kate has no intention of letting this go by without at least trying to find some closure for the parents who have suffered all these years not knowing what happened to their baby. She ends up discovering a bigger story than she ever expected.

I must admit this book started off slow for me, but then it picked up tremendously and I couldn’t stop reading. The chapters are short so it made it even easier to keep swiping my e-reader. I had to know how this all ended. I had a good idea, but I wasn’t sure of all the details involved.

Each chapter is told from a different point of view - Emma, Kate, Jude and Angela. This technique made it quite interesting as you read what each person is thinking and going through. For me, it enhanced the story very much. I thought it might be confusing, but it wasn’t. 

It’s a fascinating story delving into the psyche of different characters - their different emotions and motivations which guided the characters and their decisions.

It may have started out slow for me, but after the first couple of chapters, it was anything but that. The book sped by, keeping me up for hours at night reading. I was disappointed when it ended. I already miss the characters. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.
Was this review helpful?
“The problem is that a secret takes on a life of its own over time. I used to believe if I didn’t think about what happened, it would shrivel and die. But it didn’t. It sits in the middle of a growing tangle of lies and fabrications, like a fat fly trapped in a spider’s web.”

Oh, this quote is what makes The Child such an engaging story. Four POV's present multiple secrets and plenty of avenues for this mystery to go...and where it went? Didn't even cross my mind! 

Remember Kate Waters, the crime reporter from Fiona Barton's The Widow? Well, she's back and digging deep in The Child as she investigates the recently found remains of an infant. Generally, I don't care for detective fiction, but Ms. Barton's characters and storylines work for me. Maybe because she was Kate Waters once upon a time, doing her very own exploring into the lives of others to find hidden truths. Whatever it is, it has created a thrilling and palpable story that readers can effortlessly invest themselves in. Admittedly, I had to take notes on the four separate characters during the first half of the book but then I stopped because I didn't need to anymore. I knew them and could feel the change of energy and emotion each time the POV changed. Keep doing your thing Ms. Barton, it's working!!

My favorite quote:
“I’ve always thought that’s a funny saying. Let sleeping dogs lie. Because sleeping dogs always wake up eventually, don’t they?”

Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of The Child. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Source: NetGalley
Authors: Fiona Barton
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Pub Date: 27 Jun 2017
Was this review helpful?
*Thanks to NetGalley for a digital copy of this book!*

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were empathetic. The story had so many twists and turns and I really didn't know where it was going. Although I had some ideas throughout the story, I certainly couldn't have predicted the outcome. The plot was well thought out as evidenced by the way the story came together at the end. I liked the reporter's personality and her perseverance in looking into the story. Switching perspectives between the women was very effective in telling the story, and enhancing the plot twists. Emma's husband's support for her was wonderful, although unfortunately I think, somewhat unrealistic. I did not read her earlier book, The Widow, but I plan to now!
Was this review helpful?
This was an exciting read.  I did figure out the ending before it was over, but it was still good to see how the characters found out.  I liked reading about the reporter, Kate, and seeing how she went about figuring things out.
Was this review helpful?
Last year, Fiona Barton burst onto the scene with her debut, The Widow. Last week, her highly anticipated second book, The Child, hit shelves.

Like The Widow, this is a hard one to sum up without giving too much away, but here goes!

It's been a while since breaking the story about baby Bella and Kate Waters knows she can't ride that wave much longer. So when the story about the bones of an infant being dug up at a local construction site breaks, she decides to dig deeper. 

Her investigation takes her to Angela Irving, a woman who's convinced the remains are those of her own daughter who went missing years ago. But Angela isn't the only one watching the story closely.

The story alternates between Kate and Angela as well as Emma, a woman who is certain the police will come knocking on her door any minute for reasons that aren't clear to the reader in the beginning and Jude, Emma's mother.

If you enjoyed The Widow you will definitely love The Child. Barton employs the same quick pace and careful attention to detail in her second outing. Each narrator offers up tiny clues that move the story along. Even still, I wasn't able to figure out the end before it came.

When we met Kate in The Widow, I didn't love her. And I think that was the point. In Barton's debut, the reader wasn't supposed to be sure who to trust and Kate seemed like just another reporter nosing her way into someone's private business. In that case, a grieving widow. Of course, things there weren't quite what they seemed, as we learned soon enough.

By now, though, I love Kate. I love her tenacity and her tendency to follow her gut instinct. More than that, I love that she rallies in the face of her paper going ever the way of so many others. She's not going to go down without a fight and she's not going to let the story go until the truth has been revealed.
Was this review helpful?
The Child by Fiona Barton is the author’s follow up to last year’s hit The Widow. Like The Widow it follows multiple perspectives in the midst of a criminal investigation and deals with themes relating to motherhood and kidnapping. When the body of a baby is discovered during a construction project in a gentrifying area of London, investigative reporter Kate Walters (introduced in The Widow) tries to get to the bottom of the baby’s identity and who buried it decades before.
Was this review helpful?
I have a confession to make: I have not yet read Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow.  I might be one of the last readers on the planet who hasn't read it, but there you are. I've read all the excellent reviews and even purchased a copy but I just haven't gotten around to finding the time to dig in. I mention this as somewhat of an explanation as to why I jumped at the chance to read this, her sophomore novel. Between this urge to get ahead of the game and read it before it comes out and the attention-grabbing synopsis above I was not going to let this one pass me by and be relegated to the  never-ending TBR pile. I'm so glad I fit this one into my reading schedule because it definitely kept me entertained and was the perfect distraction for my rainy day weekends in Florida!

 The novel begins with the discovery of a baby's skeleton during the demolition of a house in London and continues for a little over a year as the police and journalist Kate Waters investigate to find out not only who the "Building Site Baby" is but why she was buried there in the first place. The story goes back and forth between four perspectives: Kate, a journalist looking to not only help uncover who the baby is but hopefully use the story to reignite her somewhat stagnant career; Emma, a woman who grew up on the street where the baby was found and who seems to begin having a resurgence of mental health issues triggered by learning about the discovery; Jude, Emma's mother who kicked her out of the house at sixteen at the prompting of her boyfriend; and Angela, a woman who's baby was kidnapped from the hospital decades ago and who never got over the loss of her newborn. The story unfolds somewhat slowly at first and these women seem to only tenuously be linked to each other by their reactions to the discovery of the baby. However, as the story begins to pick up (somewhere around 1/3 of the way in) the ties between the women become more solid, all leading to an incredibly shocking revelation.

 I have to say that, whenever I start a mystery or thriller book, I always write down my initial prediction of what the outcome of the story will be and, in this case, I was pretty darn close in my prediction, although the "big reveal" and the way we got to that discovery completely threw me for a loop. I think having Kate Waters, a seasoned journalist with quite the skill at getting to the heart of a mystery and getting people to open up to her, as one of the main characters was perfect and made the revelations feel natural and realistic. While some of the smaller surprises were easy to see coming I still enjoyed seeing how we got there and learning the reasons things happened the way they did. 

 Possibly my favorite part of the story were the characters, especially Kate. She is such a salty yet compassionate and resourceful person and I just loved the spots of levity and shots of adrenaline she brought to the table. While the other characters weren't quite as likeable (especially Jude and some of the secondary male characters) they were all very well developed and realistic and all served a purpose in the overall development of the story. Emma and Angela provided the most sympathetic situations and while they were both put through hell in different ways I was very satisfied with how their stories tied up. 

 Something else I enjoyed about the story was how it developed to be so much more than just the discovery of a buried baby. It dealt with the complicated relationships between mothers and their children and the myriad of outcomes that can develop from that sort of relationship. There are few relationships more complex then between a parent and their growing children and I enjoyed watching these different scenarios play out.

The Child is wonderful summer reading and I very much enjoyed my time with it. While I wouldn't call this face-paced or necessarily "page-turning suspense" I would say it's an excellent mystery filled with interesting characters placed in some unimaginable situations. I am now very excited to make some time to read Fiona Barton's first novel!
Was this review helpful?
From my blog: Always With a Book:

My thoughts: I was a big fan of Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow, and so I was ecstatic to see that not only did she have a second book coming out, but that it contained a beloved character, the journalist Kate. But not to worry - this is not a series or a continuation of the prior book. These are separate stories that just happen to have one re-occurring character.

This book is so good - it's an intricately written, character-driven story. It's narrated by four women and I loved that it was told this way. This allows us to get inside all four women's heads, giving us that emotional attachment, if you will, to each of them, letting us understand their thinking and motivations. All these women's lives are upended by the discovery of the tiny skeletal remains and I loved trying to figure out just how these women were going to all intersect. 

I was so excited to see that Fiona Barton decided to write another story with Kate Waters, the newspaper reporter from The Widow. I really like her character, especially given that Fiona herself was a journalist. Is it possible that Kate is a mirror image of herself? I'm not sure, but I really hope she continues to keep writing stories with Kate as a character - she is so intriguing and while I feel this book, in particular, delves a little more into her background, there is still more to her than we know.

This is not a fast-paced mystery by any means, but rather a slow-burning one. Slowly, pieces of the puzzle are revealed. As we learn more and more about each of the women, secrets start to come to light, revealing what happened so long ago. And I loved that the ending is not rushed. It was just perfect for the entire story...heartfelt and satisfying, yet still filled with some good twists and turns. This is a great psychological thriller, make no mistake. It's just not the crazy page-turner that some of the other books are...this one is a slower, take it all in, kind of book.

This is an addictive, emotional read and I really enjoyed it. I am a big fan of Fiona Barton's work and I just hope that this isn't the last we've seen of Kate Waters...will she be appearing in book 3? I guess time will tell. But either way, Fiona Barton is definitely a must-read author for me!
Was this review helpful?
I read The Widow last year, I really enjoyed it.   I was looking forward to reading The Child.  I'll admit, I didn't love this one as much.   It didn't suck me right away. But, I am glad I stuck with it because I did ultimately enjoy the story.  The beginning is a bit slow and doesn't really pick up until the 35% mark, so keep that in mind.  I think the story probably could have been a little shorter and it still would have made for a gripping read.

This is definitely a hard book to discuss without spoilers.  So, read the synopsis to get a gist of the story. The story is told through flashbacks and in the present through the eyes of several characters.  In the beginning, it was pretty unclear how they all fit together.  I did manage to figure it out before it was revealed.  There were still a couple of surprises, so I wasn't too disappointed. 

The book can be read as a stand alone.  Even though a couple of the characters from The Widow are in this one, it is completely unrelated. I did feel like I got to know Kate a bit better here. She was a good investigative reporter, but I felt she pushed the boundaries too many time in order to get the story out first. I was conflicted because while she could be sensitive  toward those involved, she could easily drop that when she was hot on the trail of her story's bottom line. I was horrified at her glee once the baby was initially identified.  But then this is probably my own bias toward reporters coming through.

I do recommend this one. This was an enjoyable mystery and second book by this author.  I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed reading this. Although I was able to figure out the main mystery, that didn't take away from the story in any way. I really enjoyed how the story progressed and the writing.
Was this review helpful?
I am pretty much an uncritical reader when I am reading for pleasure, and I anticipated that The Child by Fiona Barton, which I began on the plane ride home from Iceland last week, would be that kind of book. It had been much touted in the book review world, and I got an advanced reader’s copy for a review. I pretty much accepted the premise and the plot—enjoying it every time I picked it up to read a bit—and it wasn’t until I closed the book for the final time that I paused and thought, “Well, so what!” Let me tell you a bit about the plot.

The bones of a newborn are discovered in a construction site. DNA testing confirms that it is an infant who has been dead for 40 years. So, why is it buried in a 30-year-old newspaper? Four women tell the story: Kate, a newspaper woman who seizes on the story; Emma who is following the story with great interest; Jude, her mother; and Angela, who it appears is the mother of the infant. Angela is sure that the infant is hers, but Emma insists that she is the mother. 

Barton introduced Kate the investigative reporter in her first novel, The Widow. Kate is in her early 50s and is trying to maintain her career in the midst of enormous changes in the newspaper world. She works tenaciously to keep on top of the story and keep the editor happy. It is rather refreshing to have a woman news reporter serving as the case solver, and although intricate, the story is more personality driven than plot driven.  Kate has many pithy thoughts about the current state of journalism and she proves to be an appropriate witness to what most of us are thinking about newspapers and news reporters. Through persistence, Kate gains the trust of the three women individually, and because of that, she is able to solve the case. She believes that a reporter must get close to “tell the full story.” “Without empathy, without feeling someone’s pain, how could you tell a story.”


Journalist Maureen Corrigan, who reviewed the book for the Washington Post, believes that Kate did not maintain an appropriate balance as she tries to support the women and keep the news story going, even as the clues become more convoluted. Corrigan thinks that the character lost her professional balance. Frankly, Corrigan eviscerates the book. “The Child is a middling and much-too-long suspense story that would have benefited from a ruthless red-pencil.” And while I admire Corrigan and her work, I believe that she is too hard on Barton. The Child was better than that, particularly in the characterization of Emma, whose whole life has been disoriented. I have known women like Emma. I also liked Kate’s tenacity and drive. I have known women like Kate as well.

Anyway, I finished The Child yesterday at the beach. It was a perfect beach day and a perfect beach read.
Was this review helpful?
The Child
Fiona Barton
Berkley, June 2017
ISBN 978-1-101-99048-3
Hardcover

From the publisher—

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…

Just mention a dead baby and the pathos sets in, doesn’t it? Regardless of what might have happened to that infant, you know it was sad in one way or another and, in this case, it’s really bad because this poor little child had lain in its small grave for so many years.

Many people from the past and present are affected by this discovery, as you might imagine, but there are four women in particular who get our attention. At times, the baby was front and center but, at other times, the story focused much more on the individual women and Kate, the journalist, is the catalyst that brings out more than one truth. What begins as a story that shocks the senses in the beginning soon proves itself to be full of innuendoes and accusations, heartbreak and, eventually, healing.

Ms. Barton has crafted a tale that has been told before in some ways, both fictionally and in real life, but it’s the twists and coincidences that grabbed my attention, even though I was pretty sure of the direction this was taking. At the end, I felt a sense of sorrow at what one human can do to another but also hope for mending and new beginnings.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2017.
Was this review helpful?
Fina Barton does it again.  It was alittle slow to start but keep reading it is worth it.  The journalist Kate Waters is back and she is investigating a tiny skeleton unearthed at a demolition house.  Kate is just the type of journalist you want to hate until she does something out of character and then you don’t.  Three women, Jude and her daughter and the woman whose baby went missing from the hospital the day after she is born, all their stories come together.  Told from all points of view, each ’s view has their own reason the discovery of the skeleton affects them.  Jude and her daughter are estranged because Jude chose a boyfriend over her daughter.  Angela has never given up hope her daughter will be found.  Great read.  I would like to thank the Publisher and Net Galley for the chance to read this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Author Fiona Barton's The Child is her follow up to 2016's The Widow. Reporter Kate Waters, who readers met in The Widow, returns in a story that is set against the back drop of the mysterious discovery of a skeleton that is unearthed in a part of London that is going through gentrification. Named the "Building Site Baby" by nearly everyone, Kate pushes her employer, Daily Post, to allow her to investigate the story. Who was the baby? How did the baby die? Who was the mother? Who would bury a baby? For the record, this story takes place between March 20, 2012 and May 2012, with a brief closing chapter dated June 1, 2013. 

The chapters in this story are short and revolve around (4) different perspectives: Kate, Angela Irving, Emma Simmonds, and Jude Massingham. Kate takes on an apprentice this time around. His name is Joe, and his mother is a hot shot in the business. The two actually work very well together. In fact, Joe is absolutely useful, and not just a prop
the author uses to tell the story. Kate has been involved in some very sensational stories over the years which has carried her career while others have flamed out. 

This time around, she has to weave together stories and backgrounds from (3) very different women in order to solve who the Building Site Baby was. The first character who Kate meets is Angela Irving. 28 years ago, Angela's newborn baby disappeared without a trace. Even thought she now has two other children, she keeps celebrating her missing daughters birthday. Angela has never once given up hope of seeing her again. The discovery of a baby in London causes Angela to believe that her Alice has finally been found. Angela is character who I respected a whole lot. Accused of her own babies disappearance, she never once gave up hope of finding Alice. 

The next character Kate meets is Emma Simmonds nee 
Massingham. Emma is a character who has a heavy cloud hanging over her head. She has been hiding a secret for a very long time. Nobody knows. Not her husband, not her best friend, not even her mother. After hearing about a baby being discovered in the neighborhood where she once lived, she goes into a panic. She starts counting the days until she must make a choice that could change everything. Emma is tough to handle at times because of her depression, her anxiety issues, and her past that is slowly revealed.

Readers know she has a secret. We know that the secret must be something really important for her to suddenly feel as though the world is closing in on her. What, though, is her secret? I actually felt for Emma after learning about her past. It is a shock that this sort if thing is kept in the dark, and not brought out into the light. Which brings us to Jude. Kate's encounter with Jude is barely tolerable. Jude is the wild card in this story. I will say this without fear of spoiling what happened in the story....I hated Jude.

I hated that she blamed Emma for all of her troubles with certain men, and ignored Emma when her mood and temperament seemed to change overnight. I hated Jude told her own daughter to get out of the house because she was in love with a man, and her own child was a pain in the ass. I have no respect for parents kick their kids out into the streets. When all is said and done, Jude's actions were irredeemable and reprehensible. The secrets that were exposed are really painful to read about, but necessary in understanding why certain choices were made. 

This story is not fast paced by any means. It slowly burns chapter by chapter, character by character, & step by step as Kate works with others in trying to get to the bottom of who the baby really is, and why it was dumped where it was found. The question will always be asked in these sorts of stories: Will Kate's actions bring answers to the families involved, or cause further heart break, pain, and suffering? After all, not all reporters are as understanding as Kate was in putting the pieces together and working with the police to solve the mystery. I will say this in closing. The ending was bloody brilliant. I loved how this story is wrapped up, and the characters who are involved in doing so.
Was this review helpful?
Took a littler while to get into this one. Overall, a solid 3 star. Full review to come.
Was this review helpful?