The Child by Fiona BartonThe Child by Fiona Barton

The Child

byFiona Barton

Paperback | June 27, 2017

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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…

About The Author

FIONA BARTON, the New York Time bestselling author of The Widow, trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at The Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. Born in Cambridge, En...
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Details & Specs

Title:The ChildFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:June 27, 2017Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143197738

ISBN - 13:9780143197737

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Emma TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2012 My computer is winking at me knowingly when I sit down at my desk. I touch the keyboard, and a photo of Paul appears on my screen. It’s the one I took of him in Rome on our honeymoon, eyes full of love across a table in the Campo dei Fiori. I try to smile back at him but as I lean in, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the screen and stop. I hate seeing myself without warning. Don’t recognize myself sometimes. You think you know what you look like and there is this stranger looking at you. It can frighten me.     But today I study the stranger’s face. The brown hair half pulled up on top of the head in a frantic work bun, naked skin, shadows and lines creeping towards the eyes like cracks in pavement.     “Christ, you look awful,” I tell the woman on the screen. The movement of her mouth mesmerizes me and I make her speak some more.      “Come on, Emma, get some work done,” she says. I smile palely at her and she smiles back.     “This is mad behavior,” she tells me in my own voice, and I stop. Thank God Paul can’t see me now, I think. When Paul gets home tonight, he’s tired and a bit grumpy after a day of “boneheaded” undergraduates and another row with his department head over the timetable.     Maybe it’s an age thing, but it seems to really shake Paul to be challenged at work these days. I think he must be starting to doubt himself, see threats to his position everywhere. University departments are like prides of lions, really. Lots of males preening and screwing around and hanging on to their superiority by their dewclaws. I say all the right things and make him a gin and tonic.     When I move his briefcase off the sofa, I see he’s brought home a copy of the Evening Standard. He must’ve picked it up on the tube.      I sit and read it while he showers away the cares of the day, and it’s then I see the paragraph about the baby.     “Baby’s Body Found,” it says. Just a few lines about how an infant’s skeleton has been discovered on a building site in Woolwich and police are investigating. I keep reading it over and over. I can’t take it in properly, as if it’s in a foreign language.     But I know what it says and terror is coiling around me. Squeezing the air out of my lungs. Making it hard to breathe.     I am still sitting here when Paul comes down, all damp and pink, and shouting that something is burning.     The pork chops are black. Incinerated. I throw them in the bin and open the window to let out the smoke. I fetch a frozen pizza out of the freezer and put it in the microwave while Paul sits quietly at the table.      “We ought to get a smoke alarm,” he says instead of shouting at me for almost setting the house on fire. “Easy to forget things when you’re reading.” He is such a lovely man. I don’t deserve him.     Standing in front of the microwave, watching the pizza revolve and bubble, I wonder for the millionth time if he’ll leave me. He should have done years ago. I would have if I’d been in his place, having to deal with my stuff, my worries, on a daily basis. But he shows no sign of packing his bags. Instead he hovers over me like an anxious parent, protecting me from harm. He talks me down when I get in a state, invents reasons to be cheerful, holds me close to calm me when I cry, and tells me I am a brilliant, funny, wonderful woman.     It is the illness making you like this, he says. This isn’t you.     Except it is. He doesn’t know me really. I’ve made sure. And he respects my privacy when I shy at the mention of my past. “You don’t have to tell me,” he says. “I love you just the way you are.”     Saint Paul—I call him that when he’s pretending I’m not a burden to him, but he usually shushes me.     “Hardly,” he says.     Well, not a saint, then. But who is? Anyway, his sins are my sins. What do old couples say? What’s yours is mine. But my sins . . . well, they’re my own.     “Why aren’t you eating, Em?” he says when I put his plate on the table.     “I had a late lunch, busy with work. I’m not hungry now, but I’ll have something later,” I lie. I know I would choke if I put anything in my mouth.     I give my brightest smile—the one I use for photos. “I’m fine, Paul. Now eat up.”     On my side of the table, I nurse a glass of wine and pretend to listen to his account of the day. His voice rises and falls, pauses while he chews the disgusting meal I’ve served, and resumes.     I nod periodically but I hear nothing. I wonder if Jude has seen the article.

Editorial Reviews

“Tense, tantalising, and ultimately very satisfying … definitely one of the year’s must-reads.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author   “Fiona Barton has outdone herself with The Child. An engrossing, irresistible story about the coming to light of a long-buried secret and an absolutely fabulous read—I loved it!” —Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door   “Clever and compelling. You’ll love The Child.” —Clare Mackintosh, international bestselling author of I See You“Arriving just in time for summer, Fiona Barton's The Child is a perfect blend of beach read and book club selection…. A novel that is both fast-paced and thought-provoking, it keeps the reader guessing right to the end. The Child truly is the best of both worlds.” —USA Today (3.5 out of 4 stars)“Fiona Barton brings back reporter Kate Waters from the bestselling The Widow and delivers another winner with The Child. Barton has the characters tell the story, and various secrets that have remained hidden for decades will come to the surface. She focuses on how the discovery affects everyone and unveils information in such a way that readers will figure out key plot points just before the characters in the story, creating a truly engaging tale. Those who enjoyed The Widow will discover that Barton has only gotten better.” –National Post, 03 July 2017   “This being a Barton thriller, there’s more to pretty much everything than meets the eye.” —The Boston Globe   “Fiona Barton has masterfully delivered again with The Child, her follow-up to her bestselling debut novel, The Widow….So many questions, so much perfect suspense….Barton tells the child’s story as only she can—brilliantly.” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram   “A slow-burn portrait of loss and survival.” —Entertainment Weekly  "I loved The Widow, but Fiona Barton has truly outdone herself in her gripping and wonderfully written second novel. Like any great thriller, it takes you on a fast-paced ride with plot twists to the very end. But what will surprise you most about The Child is how deeply you’ll feel for the characters as you turn the pages furiously to reveal their secrets.”—Amy Stuart, bestselling author of Still Mine   “This gripping story kept me guessing to the end. I loved it! Barton treats her broken characters with such compassion that I wanted to reach into the pages and hug them.” —Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Lying in Wait“It's an enthralling story loaded with twists and turns” —Bustle   “Fiona Barton knows showing is better than telling because it allows for the reader's perspective. When the stories from Angela and Emma converge, whether the conclusion occasions a shock or an "aha!" doesn't matter; it's satisfying due to all the work that's gone into its discovery.” —NPR   “[An] intriguing, twisty tale….With plenty of red herrings, nothing and no one is who they seem in this evocative puzzler.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer   "Readers…will be rewarded with startling twists—and a stunning, emotionally satisfying conclusion." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)   “Barton’s second well-plotted outing, with its sustained tension and believable characters, is an excellent addition to the popular psychological thriller genre. Readers who liked Barton’s first novel, Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On a Train, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will love this.” —Library Journal (starred review)