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…
I’m writing this fresh after reading the novel! I LOVED THE CHILD BY FIONA BARTON! Where do I even start????
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.
Now, there were two important issues the author wrote of in this book, which I don’t know if it was intentional or not, regardless, I am glad she wrote them in. These two particular issues stood out for me and I do hope a discussion will be made around them.
The first was that the author gives us both side of the coin when it came to portraying the rapists. On one side we have the intellectual Mr. Will – a college professor, handsome and a smooth talker, and on the other, Mr. Soames – a sleazy man who doesn’t even attempt to hide it.
I found it very, very important that these two very different personas be shown. It was a wake up call, in a sense, to say “Hey, not all rapists come with an ugly face and bad breath!” Many, and I emphasis that, come with a charming personality, with a beautiful smile and face to match, many are seated in their ivory towers. As scary as a thought as it is, we walk past people like these on a daily basis.
The second is the offhand dismissal of Emma’s story by everyone. When I first read her POV, I couldn’t understand why the author decided to write hers in first person. When it came to the scenes of her beginning to open up about what had happened to her – Emma was doubted by the investigators, dismissed as a liar by Jude, and even had her mental illness used against her by Will. Readers, I admit, I nearly cried. I felt as if the accusation were a personal attack on me. I was just as desperate as Emma was. It becomes a matter of ‘forget or suffer through it’. And suffer through it is what Emma did.
For those who have experienced the trauma of rape, I would advise going into this book with more caution. Reader, it hurt so much to read what she had been through. The book got me thinking about how carelessly we treat people with mental illness, and those who have been raped. In a way, it made me re-think our tendency to “tip-toe” around them when really, perhaps, we need to push in a little more.
By the end of the book, the ball of panic in my chest unraveled leaving behind a heaviness, not out of dissatisfaction from the book’s ending, but with how gut wrenching it was. Even with a clean cut ending.
Format: Ebook (368 pages)
Publication Date: June 27 2017 by Berkley
Author Info: 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. 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.
I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are of my own.
If you’d like to help support, you can also find me on Patreon