Format: E-Galley, 384 pages
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
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
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.