The Child by Fiona Barton #Review @figbarton @BerkleyPub

The Child cover

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.


Author: Fiona Barton

Title: The Child

Genre: Psychological Suspense, Mystery

Published: June 27th 2017 by Berkley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense.

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…

About the Author

Author Fiona Barton
Author Fiona Barton

My career has taken some surprising twists and turns over the years. I have been a journalist – senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where I won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards, gave up my job to volunteer in Sri Lanka and since 2008, have trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world.

But through it all, a story was cooking in my head.

The worm of this book infected me long ago when, as a national newspaper journalist covering notorious crimes and trials, I found myself wondering what the wives of those accused really knew – or allowed themselves to know.

It took the liberation of my career change to turn that fascination into a tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the man suspected of the crime, the detective leading the hunt, the journalist covering the case and the mother of the victim.

Much to my astonishment and delight, The Widow is available now in the UK, and around the world in the coming months.

However, the sudden silence of my characters feels like a reproach and I am currently working on a second book.

My husband and I are living the good life in south-west France, where I am writing in bed, early in the morning when the only distraction is our cockerel, Sparky, crowing.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.




Review: The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo

The Fall of Lisa Bellow cover

The suspenseful, breakout novel from the critically acclaimed author of the short story collections Who I Was Supposed to Be and Why They Run the Way They Do—when a middle school girl is abducted in broad daylight, a fellow student and witness to the crime copes with the tragedy in an unforgettable way.

What happens to the girl left behind?

A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind.

After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

Like Everything I Never Told You and Room, The Fall of Lisa Bellow is edgy and original, a hair-raising exploration of the ripple effects of an unthinkable crime. It is a dark, beautifully rendered, and gripping novel about coping, about coming-of-age, and about forgiveness. It is also a beautiful illustration of how one family, broken by tragedy, finds healing.


Author: Susan Perabo

Title: The Fall of Lisa Bellow

Genre: Suspense

Expected Publication: March 14th 2017 by Simon & Schuster

Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Simon & Schuster.

Meredith Oliver and Lisa Bellow aren’t friends. In fact, Lisa’s mockery of Meredith has made her miserable. One day after school Meredith stops off for a treat at the sandwich shop before heading home, and nearly leaves when she sees Lisa is inside, but decides to go in and make her purchase as planned. This is how both Lisa and Meredith find themselves in the wrong place at the worst possible time. A disguised man with a gun comes in to rob the place and, when there’s little money to be taken, he forces Lisa to go with him, leaving Meredith behind. Physically, she’s unharmed, but mentally and emotionally, Meredith is traumatized by Lisa’s abduction and struggles with the grief and guilt she feels in the aftermath of the crime. How are you supposed to feel when you’re the lone witness to the kidnapping of someone you don’t even like?

Meredith is full of conflicted feelings. Though she is relieved to be safe with her family, she feels like she should have been taken instead of Lisa. Other times, she feels they both should have been taken. She spends her days imagining what Lisa must be going though, and slowly withdraws from her family and friends.

Meredith isn’t alone in her suffering. Her mother feels relieved (and guilty for feeling it) that her daughter wasn’t the one taken. Lisa’s mother clings to the belief that her daughter will be found, despite the lack of leads in the case. And Lisa—wherever she is—is likely the one suffering the most.

Perabo did a great job of showing the confusion felt by everyone involved, and draws the reader into that confusion, as well. The resolution wasn’t quite what I expected, but it worked. All in all, this was a good read, and I enjoyed it.

Review: Le Chateau by Sarah Ridout


What really happened at the chateau?

When Charlotte regains consciousness after an accident, she finds herself living a stranger’s life. The previous five years are a blank, and her husband, Henri, and daughter, Ada, are strangers. Arriving at their family chateau in southern France, she hopes to regain her memories. Instead she feels isolated and unsettled. Strange events hint at underlying darkness and menace. Charlotte doesn’t know who to trust.

Did she really have an affair with their charming Irish neighbour, as her enigmatic mother-in-law suggests? And what of Henri? He seems loving and kind, a good parent, but Charlotte is wary. Then there is Ada, a little girl who just wants her mother back.

With the help of her friend and fellow Australian Susannah, Charlotte starts to piece together events, but her newfound confidence is shaken with news that puts a deadline on her quest…

Le Chateau is a suspenseful gothic tale that will appeal to readers of Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Echo Publishing.

Imagine having a terrible accident that leaves you with amnesia and wipes out memories of the last five years of your life. Your husband is a stranger, you don’t remember giving birth to your daughter, your home is an immense chateau in France that’s more than a little creepy that your family shares with your mysterious mother-in-law. This is Charlotte de Chastenet’s reality. Her husband, Henri, longs for her memory to be restored, but Charlotte suspects he is hiding things from her. Madame, as her mother-in-law is called, insinuates Charlotte had an affair with a neighbor, but rather than being upset about it, she often encourages Charlotte to go see the man. Her daughter, Ada, is sweet and happy to her mother home again, but she is sad and hurt when she notices Charlotte’s lack of memory about her—making Charlotte feel guilt on top of everything else.

The one person Charlotte knows she can trust is her old friend Susanna, whom she remembers clearly. Susanna comes to the chateau often, trying to help Charlotte with her memory as well as trying to solve the twin enigmas of Madame and the man with whom Charlotte may or may not have had an affair. Complicating matters further are the weird—and sometimes frightening—things Charlotte sees around the chateau and vineyards. Odd, ritualistic celebrations and Madame’s increasingly curious behavior have Charlotte on edge. She needs her memory back—and fast—because time is running out.

Sarah Ridout’s debut novel was a very enjoyable read. The chateau had just enough creepiness to give me a little shiver of unease whenever Charlotte was walking through it. Except Ada and Susanna, I suspected almost everyone Charlotte interacted with of hiding secrets or having ulterior motives. Discovering the answers to my many questions was never disappointing, and at times the answers were truly shocking.

I also like the way the cover ties into the theme of the story. The woman is blurred, unclear… you can only see the suggestion of her face, but not enough to make out any definite details, and her surroundings are equally obscured. It perfectly illustrates someone trying to remember their forgotten past based only on vague glimpses of moments they lived. The answers are so close, but deeply shrouded in shadows, and just out of reach.

I’ll be watching for news about this author… I’d like to read more of her work in the future.


Author: Sarah Ridout

Title:  Le Chateau

Genre:  Gothic Suspense

Published: September 1st 2016 by Echo Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain


Riley Macpherson has returned to her childhood home to deal with her father, Frank’s, estate after his death. She’s in a vulnerable state, overwhelmed by the numerous things she has to attend to in settling the estate, and feeling alone in her grief, with no one left to turn to for comfort. She’s recently ended a two year relationship that was going nowhere. Her older brother, an emotionally distant, psychologically-damaged Iraq war veteran named Danny, wants nothing to do with any of it, due to the strained relationship he had with their father. Cancer had taken her mother seven years ago, and child-prodigy violinist Lisa, the older sister she never knew, committed suicide when Riley was less than two years old. At twenty five years old, Riley feels as if she’s lost her entire family.

At the reading of Frank’s will, Riley discovers things she never knew, such as his former employment as a U.S. Marshall . Frank’s bequests to Jeannie Lyons (her mother’s best friend), and Tom and Verniece Kyle (long-time residents at his RV park) were surprises, as well. When Riley, as executrix of the estate, informs them of their bequests, she gets the distinct impression that they all expected something more from her father. If that wasn’t mysterious enough, she finds out that Frank and Jeannie were involved in a relationship her never told her about, and Verniece seems certain that Riley was adopted, even though she knows she wasn’t.

Jeannie, a real-estate agent, offers to help her with the sale of the house and RV park, pressing Riley to let her come over and look around to figure out what needs to done with the house to get it ready for the market. Riley discovers Jeannie going through Frank’s things, holding a box she insists belongs to her, and acting suspiciously. When Riley looks through the box, an even bigger mystery presents itself in the form of old newspaper clippings. Riley had always been told that Lisa became depressed and committed suicide, but the clippings revealed a dark fact that had been kept from her: Lisa’s suicide occurred shortly before she was due to stand trial for the murder of her violin teacher.

Driven to find out what happened, Lisa starts digging into the past, finding more questions than answers. Why was Frank giving $500 a month to Tom, a man Jeannie insists he didn’t even like? Why did he have a post office box in another town, under a false name? Why did Lisa kill her violin teacher? And why does Tom Kyle act as if he knows a lot more than he’s letting on?

The Silent Sister is a well-written, enjoyable read. A few of the plot twists were predictable (for me, at least), which is a shame because it would have been a more satisfying mystery if I hadn’t seen any of the plot twists coming. So instead of a four-star rating, I had to knock it down to a three. Still, it was a good story and I’m glad to have read it.


Author: Diane Chamberlain

Title: The Silent Sister

Series: Riley Macpherson #1

Genre: Suspense

Published:  October 7th, 2014 by St. Martin’s Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


About the Book

The Silent Sister is a gripping novel from Diane Chamberlain, the bestselling author of The Midwife’s Confession.

What if everything you believed turned out to be a lie? Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home in North Carolina. A place that holds cherished memories. While clearing out the house she finds a box of old newspaper articles – and a shocking family secret begins to unravel.

Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she’s starting to uncover the truth: her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved.

Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?

As Riley tries to separate reality from fiction, her discoveries call into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Can she find the strength inside herself to decide her future.

Incredibly gripping and emotionally powerful, The Silent Sister is perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty.

A companion short story featuring Riley, The Broken String, is available in eBook.


About the Author

Author Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.

Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her sheltie, Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.

Author photo and bio via Goodreads.