Last weekend I was presented with the choice of which book to read next on my Kindle. I took a fair few into consideration, but finally settled on The Child, as it has been on my TBR list for some time, and I had often been drawn to it on my frequent visits to bookstores.
It turned out to be a fairly good read, but not a great one. It presents another interesting and tightly bound mystery, told from the perspective of five different characters. It covers some sensitive issues with a high level of compassion. There are a couple of twists that carry an impact, but for a novel that is classed as a thriller, I did not find it especially thrilling.
But there is a lot to be liked. Barton shows great attention to detail, and uses her previous journalism experience well to tell a measured and multi-layered story.
What is it about?
The concept is definitely interesting. The remains of a newborn baby are found on a building site, and it has life-changing consequences for three women, all seemingly unconnected.
Angela’s daughter Alice was taken away from her many years ago, and at first it appears that she has finally been found. For Emma, the main narrator, it unlocks a massive secret from the past. For journalist Kate Waters, it is the first clue in a long and unpredictable journey to discover the truth.
As we find out more about Emma and the emotional secrets of what happened when she was a child, it throws Kate’s investigation into unexpected directions, as Alice threatens to elude both her and the police.
What made me like the book was Barton’s concise and engaging writing style, and the gradual unravelling of a very complex story regarding an event that connects all three of the main protagonists, There was also the way it built up to the final twist near the end, which was very well concealed. I certainly did not see it coming!
However, there were some things which could have been better. The dialogue is a mixed bag and a little bit cliched in places, some of the characters are not especially likeable despite Barton’s best efforts, and I thought that the truth given about what really happened to Alice was not very believable. There should be a lot of suspense in this novel, but I just didn’t sense it.
But overall, it is a very engaging read. Each passing chapter made me want to read on to find out what happened next. This is an ideal book for anyone who likes a slow-burning crime/psychological novel.
I give it three stars out of five.