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Publisher's Summary

The author of the stunning New York Times best seller 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.

©2017 Fiona Barton (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Pacing Problems


Had this not been so highly recommended by a friend, I don't think I could have pushed on to finish this book because of the painstakingly slow progress and the straight recounting style the author, a former journalist herself, uses to tell this story. Usually, I appreciate a *show-don't-tell* type of read, feeling engaged in the process of fleshing out a novel. Too often Barton seemed to dawdle on the details in her procedural, until what were supposed to be interesting pieces of a puzzle felt like belabored points.

This is a book that is probably best as a companion for a couple of days, one to listen to a little while, set down at night, and pick up at your leisure. A good book for occupying time, because it's not a bad book, it's just not a book that holds you by the throat or one that is written with beautiful prose you might scribble down in a journal. Myself, by the end of what felt like a long slog, I felt too worn down to even care about the heart-rending journey I'd just listened to.

About the narration: Barton does very well including multiple points of view through her characters. The cast does a good job in most cases with their narration but I felt the total presentation lacked consistency. Some of the transitions between characters were confusing.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Tedious

The storyline is very labored. Coupled with strange narration this made for a very boring audiobook experience. Not interesting enough to continue listening.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Listen to this if you enjoyed "The Widow"

This is a bit of a slow starter, with several shifting POVs that require attention to keep the characters separate. It helps that there are multiple narrators. Unfortunately, the voices were not particularly engaging. The outcome of the disparate plot lines was apparent to me at about the 2/3 point, but it was rewarding to have everything nicely concluded with an emotional ending. If you liked this author's previous book, " The Widow", this is similar in style.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie
  • Chicagoland Area
  • 08-17-17

Avid mystery story listener loved this audio book!

This is now one of my top rated listens! Great narration, interesting story and characters. Really nicely done!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Denys
  • Cary, NC, USA
  • 07-18-17

Lost in Narration

Any additional comments?

It's a good story. I did confuse the characters as the narrator's voices were not distinct and the name Anna is not that much different from Emma. As noted by previous reviewers, I too was bored by the endless ruminating and internal dialogue.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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tears

Well I knew what the ending was going to be by chapter 50.. But the ending chapters were great!!! The tears we're flowing!!!!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Wendi
  • Overland Park, KS, United States
  • 08-07-17

Phenomenal! Excellent Narration and Great Story!

Fiona Barton didn't disappoint with 'The Widow' which was a novel based on jaw dropping twists and turns. 'The Child' is no different. Years after it's burial and infant's bones are discovered in a development and a young hotshot reporter is on the scene trying to figure out who the remains may have belonged to and what kind of person would do such a thing.

We are tied to a woman who's baby was taken from the hospital after birth, the mother that lives a torturous life wondering where her newborn went, and another mother who was molested as a young child and had a baby she didn't know what to do with. The book keeps the reader interested and it's hard to quit listening to. Barton keeps the secret well, which is: how are all of the women tied together in this dramatic thriller.

I gobbled up 'The Child' like Thanksgiving Dinner and I will continue to read Fiona's books! Great read! 5 stars

-Wendi

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Wade
  • Sanibel, FL
  • 07-14-17

Great Story

This second effort by the author rivals her first.
This one will keep you guessing all the way. It is well written and well performed. The story is so good I kept asking myself how can this person be so clever to tell a tale like this. You won't be disappointed.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Predictable But Heartfelt

The story line was predictable from the beginning so there was no suspense to be had. It was, however, a heart warming story. I did appreciate the four different narrators, they helped to keep the story moving.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This author's writing just gets better and better!

I was a big fan of Fiona Barton's first book, "The Widow," which was the reason I decided to try this one. And, if possible, this book is even better! She uses one of the main characters from the first book again in this one. Kate Waters is a newspaper reporter who seems to find herself solving mysteries in pursuit of her reporting. Just a word to the reader/listener--this book makes a few references to the the first book, so if you plan to listen to both--"The Widow" might better come first.This book is quite similar in some ways, but has a different emphasis--more focused on issues that evoke a sense of concern and compassion.

Barton is excellent in slowly unwinding the interlocking stories of several people, told from their various points of view throughout. She patiently leads us into the deepest psychological secrets of the characters, while also telling the story and uncovering clues as she moves along.

The plot revolves around the discovery of a baby's bones, as a demolition project is taking place--and hearing about it catches Kate Waters' attention as a reporter--so she decides to simply check it out at first, and then is drawn fully into the lives of several people--all of them dealing with emotional issues that relate to the story in different ways. What is excellent is that there is a cast of people who read the dialogue, and each is a great narrator.

Much as I found myself compulsively listening to the first book, I found that I could scarcely stop listening to this one--it is very compelling as a psychological study of a handful of people, all trying to handle conflicts and grief, amid a slowly unfolding mystery. The ending is absolutely wonderful. This author did not rush anything, nor did the story drag--it had the perfect pace for following and absorbing the story. Not a page turner type of mystery--but one in which I just wanted to remain immersed in the flow of the telling of it. This was a very satisfying book on many levels--and I hope that Fiona Barton is already writing her next one!

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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