Talking About ‘The Child’ With Bibliobeth

The Child: The Must-Read Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2018

How did I get it?:
It was a gift!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Widow

Synopsis:

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told.

CHRISSI: How do you feel this book compares to Fiona’s debut, The Widow?

BETH: I really enjoyed The Widow when we “talked about” it in 2016 and gave it four stars so I was expecting to enjoy The Child too, however I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much more! It was truly gripping, I loved the style of writing, narrative set-up, the whole mystery behind who “the child” was and of course, THAT surprise.

BETH: Emma says, “People say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….But it doesn’t. It breaks your bones, leaving everything splintered and held together with grubby bandages and yellowing sticky tape…Sometimes you wish it had killed you.” Do you agree with this? Without spoilers, how does this relate to Emma?

CHRISSI: Interesting question. I’ve always wondered about that saying. It’s nice to find comfort in it and know that experiencing something and living through it does improve your character. However, sometimes simply terrible things happen to people and I’m not sure how that saying is comforting. It’s hard to discuss it in relation to Emma without spoiling the story. Let’s just say, Emma’s character is incredibly fragile. In regards to that saying, Emma’s not a strong person because of what has happened to her. She may be strong deep down to be living through it but on the outside, she’s totally broken.

CHRISSI: How does Fiona Barton present mothers and motherhood in The Child? How does each character’s experience of motherhood change them?

BETH: We hear from a number of very different mothers in The Child. We have mother’s who lost their children in very tragic and horrific circumstances and then there is Emma’s mother Jude, who is trying her best to be a good mother to Emma but I’m afraid she kind of fails miserably. As a result, Emma has a very fractured and fragile relationship with her and the two often come to arguments. As a result, Emma is a wary, anxious person whilst Jude can never seem to do or say the right thing and makes some VERY awful decisions as a mother. With Angela, the loss of her child has irrevocably changed her as a person, even though she has two other children as she craves the answers she has never had.

BETH: The Child is told through different points of view. How did this structure affect your reading experience?

CHRISSI: Different points of view don’t always work for me in a story because I often find myself enjoying one over the other. However, this wasn’t the case with The Child. I thought Fiona Barton portrayed the different voices fabulously. Using different points of view definitely kept me turning the pages as I wanted to see how the different characters were dealing with what was going on!

CHRISSI: In The Child, Harry comments: ‘What gives them the right to meddle in people’s lives like this? How is this news? This is a personal tragedy, not some story for everyone to gawp at.’ What do you think makes a story newsworthy? Are reporters like Kate right to investigate these kinds of ‘human interest’ stories?

BETH: I’m afraid to say in my opinion Harry is right. Although I really loved Kate as a character, her job as a journalist, especially with this very emotive case, sometimes made my stomach churn as she chased down the perfect story. I understand that she was just doing her job and she was very good at it and obviously sympathetic to the women she talked to but I can also understand from the women’s point of view where it is not just a “story,” it is their life. Sorry, got a bit deep there!

BETH: Did you have a favourite character in this novel? Give reasons for your choice.

CHRISSI: I liked quite a few characters in this novel. I think if I had to pick, I would probably say Angela. I deeply felt for her and her family after what they went through. I desperately wanted Angela to find closure. Her story touched my heart!

CHRISSI: Did you find this book predictable in anyway?

BETH: I have to admit, I thought it was going to be. I’m not sure how you felt but I was completely wrong and did not expect what is revealed to us as the reader very slowly and methodically. It’s one of those books where I was glad I wasn’t reading the end in public because I kind of gasped out loud. If a book can make me do that, I’m going to sing its praises to the heavens.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I definitely would. I really enjoy Fiona Barton’s writing style. Whilst I did prefer The Widow, I thought this was a fabulous book and anything that she writes in the future I would gladly pick up! 🙂

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars!

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This Week In Books #96

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

The Secret History of Us The Child: The Must-Read Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2018 There's Someone Inside Your House

NOWThe Secret History Of Us Jessi Kirby– I’m excited about starting this book tonight. I’ve heard good things and I like Jessi’s writing.

THENThe ChildFiona Barton– This is a book that I’m ‘Talking About’ with my sister, Beth. Our review should be out at some point next week!

NEXTThere’s Someone Inside Your HouseStephanie Perkins– I’m curious to see what I make of this book as I’ve heard really mixed reviews.

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Or feel free to leave a link to a post/similar post that you do!

Stacking The Shelves- #182-Another small one!

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Gifts:

The Child: The Must-Read Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2018

I really enjoyed Fiona’s debut novel, so I’m looking forward to giving this one a go soon!

The Heart's Invisible Furies

I have heard such good things about this book that I can’t wait to get stuck into it within the next few weeks.

A small haul for me this week! What have you added to your shelves? Feel free to let me know and leave a link to your post, if you do one!

Round up of The British Book Challenge 2016

It’s that time of year again… time to reflect on the British Books I’ve read this year for the British Books Challenge. I read a grand total of 66 British books! (I shall add anymore to this post if I read more between now and 1st January) Yay!

The challenge involves reading 12 books from British authors, so I think we can safely say I smashed that number! 😉 I really enjoy finding British authors to read as much of my reading is dominated by US authors (they are amazing though!) Linked below are the reviews of the 66 British books that I read!

  1. Lighter Than My Shadow– Katie Green
  2. For Holly– Tanya Byrne
  3. Am I Normal Yet?– Holly Bourne
  4. The Demon Headmaster– Gillian Cross
  5. The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig– Emer Stamp
  6. The Haunting– Alex Bell
  7. In A Dark, Dark Wood– Ruth Ware
  8. The Number One Rule For Girls– Rachel McIntyre
  9. Carrie’s War-Nina Bawden
  10. The Sin Eater’s Daughter– Melinda Salisbury
  11. Radio Silence– Alice Oseman
  12. The Samaritan– Mason Cross
  13. Moving– Jenny Eclair
  14. More Of Me– Kathryn Evans
  15. The Next Together– Lauren James
  16. The Boy In The Dress– David Walliams
  17. Consumed– Abbie Rushton
  18. V is for Violet– Alison Rattle
  19. Read Me Like A Book– Liz Kessler
  20. Follow Me Back– Nicci Cloke
  21. Noble Conflict– Malorie Blackman
  22. When I Was Invisible– Dorothy Koomson
  23. Poppy’s Place– Karina Charman
  24. The Horse and His Boy– C.S. Lewis
  25. Orangeboy– Patrice Lawrence
  26. Always With Love– Giovanna Fletcher
  27. The Moonlight Dreamers– Siobhan Curham
  28. According To Yes-Dawn French
  29. The Borrowers– Mary Norton
  30. Swimming To The Moon– Jane Elson
  31. The Castle– Sophia Bennett
  32. The Woman Next Door– Cass Green
  33. Songs About A Girl– Chris Russell
  34. Maggot Moon– Sally Gardner
  35. Shtum– Jem Lester
  36. The One We Fell In Love With– Paige Toon
  37. My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral– Ben Davis
  38. Cuckoo– Keren David
  39. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child– J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  40. All About The Hype– Paige Toon
  41. The Girls– Lisa Jewell
  42. Head Over Heels– Holly Smale
  43. Crush– Eve Ainsworth
  44. Perijee and Me– Ross Montgomery
  45. How Not To Disappear– Clare Furniss
  46. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding– Jackie Copleton
  47. Looking for JJ– Anne Cassidy
  48. A Boy Made Of Bricks– Keith Stuart
  49. Robyn Silver- The Midnight Chimes– Paula Harrison
  50. Isadora Moon Goes To School- Harriet Muncaster
  51. The Last Act of Love– Cathy Rentzenbrink
  52. Time To Say Goodbye– S.D. Robertson
  53. On The Other Side– Carrie Hope Fletcher
  54. Beautiful Broken Things– Sara Barnard
  55. The Widow– Fiona Barton
  56. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase– Joan Aiken
  57. Dead Romantic– C.J.Skuse
  58. Haunt Me– Liz Kessler
  59. Missing, Presumed– Susie Steiner
  60. Strange Star– Emma Carroll
  61. Ballet Shoes– Noel Streatfeild
  62. The Lie Tree– Frances Hardinge
  63. Into The Trees– Robert Williams
  64. Lighthousekeeping– Jeanette Winterson
  65. Infinite Sky– C.J. Flood
  66. The Sleeping Prince– Melinda Salisbury

A massive thank you to Kirsty from Overflowing Library for hosting this challenge this year.

As this is one of my favourite challenges, I am definitely on board for 2017. In 2017, the challenge will be hosted by Michelle from Tales of Yesterday. Sign up here!

Talking About ‘The Widow’ with Bibliobeth

The Widow

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

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…

CHRISSI: Discuss the interaction between Kate and Jean and the ethical limits of investigative journalism.

BETH: First of all, I loved how we got to hear the story of The Widow through a number of different viewpoints i.e. The Reporter (Kate), The Widow (Jean) but also The Detective and The Husband so there were a lot of individual voices with their own particular clues as to what was going on. The interactions between Kate and Jean were among the most interesting – Kate is not a terrible person in her own right but she is hell-bent on getting the story she feels she deserves and is very good at manipulating people, especially those who may be slightly weaker than herself so that she gets what she wants. It’s not that she doesn’t care about Jean or her feelings but she realises that she cannot get too emotionally involved as it may cost her the story and at the end of the day, she’s there to do her job. Journalists can often be thought of as vultures, especially in more emotive cases when vulnerable people are hounded and I think, in a way they have to switch off from the more “human” aspects to be able to get a story.

BETH: This is Fiona Barton’s debut novel. How do you think it compares to other debut novels you have read recently?

CHRISSI: Ooh good question. I have read some very good debuts so far this year. I do think Fiona Barton’s stands out as a decent debut. I’ve read quite a few psychological thrillers now, as you know, some of which have been debuts. I feel like it stands up well to other debuts. It’s definitely memorable. It’s made me want to read more from the author.

CHRISSI: Fiona Barton is a former journalist. Do you think that has influenced her writing style?

BETH: I hadn’t realised this previously but looking back on The Widow, I believe it can only have been an advantage for the novel. It is told in short, snappy, very readable chapters that certainly made me want to read “just one more” before closing the book for the night! The style of writing itself was thrilling and although I didn’t particularly warm to any of the characters they were all fascinating enough to keep me reading until the end.

BETH: What are your opinions on the character of Jean? Did you feel sorry for her?

CHRISSI: Another interesting question Beth, you’re rolling them out today. I was very confused with the character of Jean. At times I wondered what she had gone through with Glen. I knew there was something more to the story than first met the eye. During some points of the story, I thought Jean was quite a weak character. I felt like Glen had some sort of hold over her. Then I started to doubt her. I felt sorry for her in some ways but towards the end of the story my feelings began to change towards her. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say anything else. She really was a mixed bag character for me.

CHRISSI: Did you find this book predictable in any way?
BETH: I’m not sure whether predictable would be the right word. I don’t think the author is deliberately keeping anything from us, everything seems to be somewhat out in the open and fairly easy to interpret. I guessed quite early on which character(s) had done wrong, it was just exactly what they did and to what extent that was hidden until the end.

BETH: Do you believe that Glen really loved Jean?

CHRISSI: That’s a hard question to answer because I don’t feel we really ever hear much from his perspective. I would hope he did love Jean, but there’s no real evidence to show this. He certainly doesn’t act like someone madly in love. He comes across as very controlling.

CHRISSI: We read widely in the genre, how does The Widow compare to books in the genre?

BETH: Ooh, yes we do love a good psychological thriller! For me, it holds its own against other books in the genre, I loved the plot-line, the way it was written from multiple viewpoints, the jumping back and forward in time, the characterisation and the exciting final reveal. It’s everything I look for in a thriller and I look forward to reading more from Fiona Barton.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes, I would. I loved the short and snappy chapters and the overall plot.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes! 3.5 stars