The Widow by Fiona Barton
For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.
When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…
But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.
Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.
The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…
Here is part of a blog that Fiona penned exclusively for the Strand:
To Know or Not To Know? That is the question…the challenge of writing from the perspective of an unreliable narrator.
Unreliable narrators – those slippery customers who are determined to mislead, confuse and plain lie to the reader – are not a new phenomenon. We may be seeing a lot more of them in recent bestsellers – Gone Girl, Girl on a Train and The Reluctant Fundamentalist to name but three – but Aristophanes was already playing with our heads 2,500 years ago.
This popular authorial device gathers the reader into the narrator’s confidence, leading us like lambs into his or her world. Then the ground beneath us suddenly shifts, leaving us off balance, uneasy, unsure and searching for a foothold.
I love the uncertainty of the disconnect between what people say and do – and the delicious realization that nothing is what it seems. But it can be tricky to pull off. Leave the reveal too late and the reader may feel cheated rather than thrilled. Go too early and the drama may be lost.
It can be a minefield and I tiptoed into my own with some trepidation in my first novel, The Widow.
There was no deliberate decision when I set out to write my book but my main character, Jean Taylor – the widow of a man accused of taking a child – turned out to be untrustworthy. She just was. So I went along with it.