The Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jul 2017

Member Reviews

This just wasn't for me. I first read Barton's first book, The Widow, when it came out and didn't care for it all that much, but I decided to give this one a try because of the hype but ended up not finishing. I just couldn't get into the story or connect with the characters.
Was this review helpful?
The bundled up skeleton of a newborn baby is found at a London demolition site. As Kate Waters, reporter at The Daily Post, works to put the story together, she unearths a decades old mystery with three unsuspecting women at the heart of it. Angela gave birth to a baby girl forty years ago, kidnapped from her hospital room. Emma is house bound and struggles with anxiety, a result of a secrets she has kept buried. Jude, Emma's estranged mother, craves an improved relationship with her daughter but is unable to let go of her obsessions. What are their stories and how are these three women connected? But most importantly who is the 'Building Site Baby'?

What can I say, except that I loved The Child! Fiona Barton has created within its pages an intricately woven web of characters, each with their own trials and tribulations. Each hiding dark secrets. As the story came together, I found myself playing detective, jotting down notes, potential clues and constantly guessing, inferring the likely outcome. Did I have an inkling of what the twist would be? Yes, probably about halfway through when I mused to myself, "Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting if...", but it didn't take away one bit from my enjoyment of the story's progression and found the resolution to the mystery very satisfyingly written.

Not having read The Widow (no I haven't been living under a rock), Fiona Barton's debut novel, I was a little hesitant to read her next novel fearing some overlap and although I did come across a few references to it in The Child and the fact that Kate Waters is in both novels, I was happy to learn that the two can be read as stand alone. Needless to say, I have put a hold on The Widow at my local library!

The Child is a gripping, fast-paced addictive read; the first book in a while that kept me awake reading way past my bedtime! With complex, well developed and totally likeable characters, sharp, relevant dialogue and numerous twists and turns, The Child is one of this summer's best mystery thrillers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Berkley Publishing Group for providing a digital advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Fantastic read. The perfect mix of well-developed characters combined with a compelling mystery. I enjoyed Ms. Barton’s previous work, The Widow, but found The Child to be superior. 

Kate Waters is back again, thoroughly trouncing men half her age. Love it. Spending more time in her environs was a welcome change from the first book. She’s tough, smart, sparky, yet always remains empathetic to her subjects. 

As before, Ms. Barton employed the alternating narrator device. Unlike my experience with some novels that utilize this tool, I thoroughly savored the time I spent with each character--even those traditionally considered unlikable. Each rotation through the cast, from reporter Kate clamoring for her next Big Story to fragile Emma and her narcissistic mother, added another necessary layer to this rich tale.

The ending twist (oh how I love a good twist) was surprising, yet remained believable. Yes there’s a certain suspension of disbelief that may have to occur, but the writing’s so well-done and the characters so captivating you’ll be willing to overlook it.
Was this review helpful?
Find more reviews on my blog: camilleareads.wordpress.com

It’s hard for me to find a mystery book that I actually like. I am a very, very picky reader! But the first chapter, I was already engrossed. I needed to know more about the women in the story, and the mysterious baby.

As I expected the story was fast paced but this did not in any way hamper the cleverly written characters.  The entire book was a package of nail-biting mystery - from the baby buried in the garden to the women we read about. So the book is written from four different perspectives: Emma, Kate, Angela, and Jude, which made me wonder, why four? What are their connections? All four of them couldn’t possibly be connected to those tiny bones. What I loved about this book is that it wasn’t completely driven by the case of the missing child as we are also given privy information about the lives of the women.

This character driven book kept on shocking me at every turn even when I thought I might have it figured out. None of the characters had a clean life, each came with their own troubles which makes you feel invested in their lives. 

An endearing story of love and grief, of strength and cowardice. THE CHILD is one of the finest mystery novels I have read.
Was this review helpful?
I was able to guess where the book was headed pretty early, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. I also enjoyed seeing Kate and Bob from Barton’s previous book, The Widow.
Was this review helpful?
The story of The Child is told from the prospective of four different women, Kate, Angela, Emma and Jude. 

The Skeleton of a baby is found on a building site. Who is the building site baby?

Angela thinks it is her baby girl Alice who was taken from her hospital room at a maternity hospital several years ago. 

Emma thinks it is the baby that she gave birth to when she was a teenager. She hid her pregnancy from her mom and all her friends. She tried to tell her mom Jude but she didn’t want to hear the truth as it involved her boyfriend Will. 

Jude chose not to believe her if she did then she would lose Will. Jude and Will threw Emma out when she was sixteen and she had to go live with her grandparents. 

Kate, a reporter just wants a story for the paper she works for but once she meets Angela and Emma and hears their stories it becomes more than just a story for her. She wants to find out the truth for these two women who have come to touch her heart. 

Whatever happened to baby Alice? Who took Alice? Whose baby was buried at the building site? Who would bury a baby like that and why? Come and join Kate on her quest to find the truth. 

If you have not read The Child then let me suggest that you do. The Child is filled with lots of twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting to know why, who and what? Why did they bury the child there? Who buried the child there? What is going to happen next?
Was this review helpful?
Towards the end was a bit of a surprise and I was glad it went the way it did. Though out the story we are told through different points of views. The reporter Kate, Emma a young woman who is trying to go on with her life but yet seems to harbor a secret, her mother Jude who needs a man to love her, and Angela whose daughter was taken many years ago when she was a baby. 
When a baby's skeleton is found on a building site secrets will become known, a family can possibly be able to put their child to rest, and someone will have to answer to what went on during the 70's and 80's. 
Kate who is a reporter will stop at nothing to find the answers that need to be answered and it seems she is very good at job because she got more answers than the DI's did. The plot was steady for me and had me turning the pages to find out what was going on during that time period. The characters were well developed and I found myself getting the feels because of what Emma went through. 
If you like thrillers and murder mysteries than pick up this book. This author has a way with pulling you into her world!
Was this review helpful?
Kate Waters decides to diversify from her boring journalistic ventures into something she can sink her teeth into.  During excavation of a building site, the skeleton of an infant of indeterminate age is found.  It’s a backstory of no particular attention due to the fact that the newspapers are paying more attention to the shenanigans around the upcoming Olympics in London, England. For some unexplained reason, however, Kate sticks to the story and begins to explore the neighborhood around where the child was found!
This story is told from four different points of view: Kate’s version as already described; a woman named Angela whose infant daughter was stolen from her hospital room when she went into the bathroom to take a shower; a woman named Emma whose dark secret has left her in a severe depression with anxiety that she finds impossible to handle even with medication; and Emma’s mother Jude, a self-centered woman whose lack of connection with her daughter leaves the reader thinking and feeling there’s more than meets the eye here.  
The story moves rather slowly in the middle of the book but then accelerates to roller coaster speed with a telephone call from Emma.  Her revealed secret to Kate is so stunning to Kate that she can barely handle it.  From there, the confusion rises as Angela’s obsession leads her to believe the dead child is her own and not Emma’s.  The reader will be amazed at the way this mystery unfolds and Fiona Barton is superb at plotting with sensitive time and interesting facts.  This could be anyone’s story but the way the lives of these three women interact is absolutely astonishing.  Kate Waters has not only a journalistic eye and ear but a sensitive soul that enables anyone she interviews to open up and expose supposedly insignificant facts.
This is fine, fine mystery or crime fiction reading and highly recommended to readers of all ages!
Was this review helpful?
I may be the only mystery/thriller reader left on the planet who still hasn’t read Barton’s debut, The Widow. It’s been sitting on my nightstand for almost a year and I just haven’t had time to squeeze it in yet. I know that one received some mixed reviews, but that only piques my interest more and makes me want to read it for myself and form my own opinions. I think that this book will get similar reviews as well since my own feelings seem to be all over the place. 

I love the premise of this, cold cases always grab my attention in books and this was no exception. Kate is a reporter and I like this type of POV as constantly reading from a police officers perspective can get a bit tedious. Besides her viewpoint, you also hear from Emma, Jude and Angela. Emma and Jude are a mother and daughter with a strained relationship and Angela is a woman who’s newborn baby was kidnapped from the hospital back in the seventies.

 Multiple viewpoints are a device that always works well for me and it was well executed here. The chapters are really short and snappy so the POV switches quickly and often, but the overall pacing was sedate. This unusual combination actually worked rather well for me oddly enough. This was heavily character driven as you slowly learn about each woman’s past and what connects them all presently. 

I have to admit that I did guess the big plot twist before it was revealed which is always a little disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it was very well played, I think I just made a lucky guess that turned out to be correct. Barton is a gifted writer and there was something really addictive about this read, I just wish I hadn’t figured out the twist as early as I did, but overall this was an entertaining read that kept my attention throughout.
Was this review helpful?
Forty plus years ago a newborn baby girl was stolen from a British hospital. Recently a newborn baby girl's skeleton was found at a demolition site. Is it possible these two infants are linked? That is the premise presented in Fiona Barton's latest psychological thriller The Child.

Kate Water is a journalist looking into the story behind the discovery of the skeletal remains of a newborn infant at a demolition site in metro London. The more she investigates into the remains found, the more she begins to think these remains just might be related to a missing newborn girl taken out of a hospital over forty years. While Kate delves into her investigation and the background of the missing girl's family, we are introduced to several other women that are impacted by the discovery of the skeletal remains: first there's Angela Irving, the mother of the missing infant; second is Emma Simmonds a former teen resident of the house where the body was found; and last, is Emma's mother, Judith "Jude" Massingham. Angela is positive the body is that of her missing daughter Alice. Emma is fearful that the police will be knocking on her door at any moment. Jude is sure the discovery has no impact on her life until her daughter begins to have another emotional breakdown. The story of all four women intersect until finally the answer of exactly who the building site baby was and how she got there is uncovered along with a host of secrets kept hidden for years.

I read and reviewed The Widow in 2016 and loved it, so when I was afforded the opportunity to read The Child I did not hesitate to shout YES! and it did not disappoint. Talk about a wild ride. The Child was fast-paced, engrossing and, yes I have to say it, suspenseful read up to the very end. Kate is an accomplished journalist and it was fascinating to travel along as she uncovered the truth behind this dumped baby. Emma is initially depicted as emotionally fragile and unreliable, but we quickly learn that although she may have some emotional problems she is anything but unreliable. Angela Irving has spent 40+ years grieving the loss of her infant daughter and feeling guilty for leaving her in a hospital room unsupervised. Again, she initially comes across as needy and fragile, but she is just as strong as both Kate and Emma. Jude, Emma's mother, is initially portrayed as this strong and independent single mother, but we learn that looks can be deceiving as she is the neediest and most fragile of the bunch. With the presentation of these four women, we learn that all is never quite how it appears. These women all have their strengths and weaknesses, as do all humans, but they persevere in the face of adversity and prejudice. The Child is much more than a story of a missing child and the discovery of skeletal remains, it's a story about relationships, family, and what we're willing to do for family. Sometimes the family is related by blood, sometimes the family may be our work family, and sometimes the family might be our friends, but when push comes to shove the strong stand by family. This is also a story about secrets. The secrets we keep from our friends, our parents, our spouses, and sometimes we tamp down so deep that we try to keep hidden from ourselves. I enjoyed the characters, the storylines, and the action. Ms. Barton crafts psychological suspense thrillers that truly live up to the name; just when I thought I knew where this story was headed, I was yanked off into a new direction and then back again. It wasn't until I hit about the 80% mark that I caught a hint of where the story was going and even with the confirmation it was still a bit of a shock (no, I won't tell you what happens, read the book!). If you read The Widow, then you know you'll want to read The Child. If you enjoy reading taut psychological thrillers or suspenseful reads, then you'll definitely want to read The Child. I highly recommend The Child and look forward to reading more from Ms. Barton in the future. (If you couldn't tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Child and look forward to rereading it in the near future.)
Was this review helpful?
Book review: 'The Child' is full of secrets, suspense
By SANDY MAHAFFEY FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR  

The Child
The “Building Site Baby” is at the center of Fiona Barton’s new novel, “The Child.” The remains of an infant are discovered at a local building site in London. A small article in the daily paper catches the eye of reporter Kate, who occasionally finds small articles to be great starting points for in-depth reporting. Who was the baby? How long has it been there? Whose baby is it? How did it get there? Common questions for such a discovery, but this turns out to be a very unusual and complicated story for Kate.

Hers is but one voice of four women who are the voices for alternating chapters. Emma is a troubled young woman married to an older gentleman. Something in her past is haunting her so that she barely even leaves the house, but stays home editing celebrity memoirs. Jude is Emma’s mother, who threw Emma out of the house at the age of 15, because Jude’s boyfriend didn’t like her. Needless to say, their relationship has been quite strained since then. The fourth voice is Angela, wife of Nick and mother to two grown children. Their first child was abducted from the hospital shortly after her birth, and she has never learned what happened to her or recovered from the grief and guilt she feels for leaving the baby alone in her room while she showered. Angela is convinced the baby found is theirs.


I had expected this to be a thriller, but don’t consider it one. It does have mystery components, but I found it to be a fascinating psychological character study. The four women are different and their individual ways of seeing the unfolding story are fascinating. The various threads of the plot interweave cleverly. The readers gets to know each woman through their short, well-written chapters while the plot unfolds.

Kate was sure there was a story, but had no idea of the histories and family secrets she would uncover. As she tracks down former residents of the area, she slowly peels away layers of clues. The many secrets, when revealed, make for a very satisfying read and some unexpected turns.

Sandy Mahaffey is the former Books editor at The Free Lance–Star.

THE CHILD
By Fiona Barton
(Berkley, $26, 384 pp.)
Publication: June 27
Was this review helpful?
When an old house is being demolished in London, the body of a small child is found buried. The story doesn't garner much attention at first, but journalist Kate Waters sees it and can't stop thinking about following up on it. As she begins to look into it a crime that happened decades ago is brought back to attention but things are more complicated than they appear at first. 

I personally didn't enjoy The Widow but I really enjoyed this one. I felt like the plot for the widow felt obvious and I wasn't surprised by it. This time though I really got into the plot line. I honestly had no clue where the story line was going and so I couldn't put it down. I really loved the characters here more as well, they were complicated but I didn't have any trouble empathizing with them. I also really enjoyed the way everything came together at the end and looking back I feel like I should have known what was going to happen. Even if I did though the way the plot unfolded and the pacing was so good that I think I would have enjoyed it none the less.
Was this review helpful?
I have to say I really enjoyed the character who appeared in The Widow a lot in The Child. I'm not sure what it was but she ended up being my favorite character. She was so determined to find out the mystery behind the child's bones that were found. Plus I feel she is an enjoyable character to read about. She's so good at her job and always goes that extra mile to find out whatever she can to solve her story. Plus she's very good at getting people to trust her and open up to her. She always knows how to read people and I always enjoyed reading those interactions.

Of course in this story there was a character I absolutely hated and that was Jude.  I could not stand her at all. I felt like every time I would read about her I ended up getting so pissed off. I am so happy the other characters balanced her out because if she ended up being the only point of view character I probably wouldn't have continued with this book. She was just a horrible person.

With that being said I do have to say I enjoyed the different point of views. I liked getting inside each character's head to understand what they're thinking and going through. It's always enjoyable and it's such a nice way to see how everything comes together. I know some people don't like that but I felt it ended up working nicely for the story. I feel it helped the story stay fresh and not get repetitive by only having insight from only one character. I do have to say at the beginning I was a little confused by who was who. As I continued to read and learned more about the story I knew who everyone one. 

I do have to say I did not seeing the ending of the book coming. I do feel it's something I could have seen coming but I honestly I'm glad I didn't catch it because it makes the story more enjoyable. It was overall a really enjoyable story. I went through a lot of different emotions reading this book but I found it very enjoyable. I can't wait to see what Fiona comes out with next.
Was this review helpful?
I read The Widow and it wasn't my favorite read but I wanted to give the author another chance.  I struggled through this book.  It took a while for me to read 50% of it and then I contemplated just counting this as a DNF book.  However, I did want to find out the solution to the situation.  

I was able to predict the ending though and that was disappointing to me.  I like to be completely thrown for a loop.  I will not be reading any more from this author in the future.  This isn't the type of thriller/ mystery I like.
Was this review helpful?
“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” — Yevgeny Yevtushenko

'The Child's is a haunting and emotional character-driven suspense novel that also explores our modern-day obsession with 24/7 news.

Angela's newborn baby was kidnapped from her hospital room several decades earlier. The baby was never found. Angela and her husband Nick carried on after their devastating loss but Angela never fully recovered. When the bones of an infant are found at a construction site, she is sure the body is that of her long-gone Baby Alice.

Kate is a brilliant newspaper journalist who uncovers news stories the old-fashioned way: through leg work and research and determination. She was also featured in the author's previous book 'The Widow' which I am now going to read! I loved Kate's style. While this book started off just a tiny bit slow, it picked up the pace in the middle and thundered toward an unbelievably shocking conclusion.

"I’ve always thought that’s a funny saying. Let sleeping dogs lie. Because sleeping dogs always wake up eventually, don’t they?" 

Emma is married to a university professor many years her senior. She is devastated by the news of the "Building Site Baby' but why? She has no apparent ties to Angela's family. Emma has had a difficult relationship with her mother Jude but it seems the two are trying to make peace with each other now that Emma is grown and married. But Emma has secrets of her own that will devastate everyone close to her when they are revealed.

The multiple points of view are executed brilliantly. Each narrator has their own unique voice and are each vital to the story.

'The Child' is an imaginative and surprising thriller. While the writing is filled with British slang and customs, that only added to my enjoyment of the story.

There are many twists and turns to this book and the ending was far more touching than I expected from what I though would be a suspense novel. The conclusion was enormously satisfying! Highly recommend this book for all thriller fans as well as anyone who loves a great story.

“People say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. They say that when you been through something terrible ... But it doesn't. It breaks your bones, leaving everything splintered and held together with grubby bandages and yellowing sticky tape. Creaking along the fault lines, Fragile and exhausting to hold together. Sometimes you wish it had killed you.”
Was this review helpful?
The Child is a new mystery novel from Fiona Barton, author of The Widow. In this book, Kate, a newspaper journalist, thinks she has hit upon a potential story when she sees mention in the news that the skeleton of a baby was found at a building site. She begins to investigate and dig deeper into the story, attempting to find out the identity of the child. Through her investigations, she encounters three women: Angela, Emma, and Emma’s mother, Jude. The three women are each tied to the deceased child in different ways, and as the novel progresses, Kate slowly unravels the truth of what happened to the child and how it came to be found at the building site.

This is a fast-paced book, with short chapters told in the alternating perspectives of all four women. The twists and turns keep you constantly guessing as to the motives and trustworthiness of each of the women that Kate encounters, creating a tense, suspenseful feel. Several grisly secrets are discovered during the course of Kate’s investigation, and the histories of the women are slowly revealed. This was a quick, captivating read for me, and I found myself dying to know the ending. If you like crime mysteries with compelling characters and a fast-moving plot, pick this one up.
Was this review helpful?
Just who is the "Building Site Baby"? The bones of a newborn found when tearing down old houses that had been there for while has everyone talking. Who's baby is it? How long has it been there? Journalist Kate Waters sees the bit post in a competing newspaper and decides that it would make a good human interest story. She decides to investigate it further and see what really happened to this baby and just who is this baby?

This synopsis made for a really good read. I had previously read "The Widow" by Fiona Barton and when I saw this one listed on Net Galley, I immediately hit request. I was very excited when my request was approved. And, after reading it, I think that Fiona's first book was much better, however, this one is not one to stay away from. I never saw the ending coming until way into the book which is always a pleasant surprise. An entertaining read that kept me wondering.

Huge thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Fiona Barton novel. It makes me want to check out the first one now. Great story, great writing, and it's a page turner. I wasn't a surprise ending to me, I had it figured out a while before, but it didn't stop me from enjoying it. I like that most of the characters were older (in my head I kept wanting to picture 20-somethings as I read. I had to consciously stop doing that. Maybe it is a result of having read so many novels with main characters that age.) Most characters were 40-something or 60-something. One thing lacking, I found, was more coverage of Kate's family life. The author kept touching on major issues there, but it didn't feel like it got the attention it needed, and definitely left me wondering if I should have read The Widow first, since Kate was in that (I believe that's what I read somewhere). Maybe reading it would have given me more insight to her marriage and relationship with her kids.
Was this review helpful?
5 stars all the way! this was my 2nd Fiona Baryon book, I adored The Widow also. I'll be back soon with my full review.
Was this review helpful?