The Child, Fiona Barton

the childI read an uncorrected proof of this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The writer has a knack for keeping the reader hungry for more. I didn’t want to rush to the end because I so enjoyed the story’s evolution.
It is the year 2012. An infant’s skeleton has been discovered at a construction site. Whose baby is it? How did it get there? There are so many questions raised, but there are no answers. The novel revolves around the lives of four women united in some way by this terrible event.
Angela is mourning the loss of her baby, although it occurred almost three decades ago. Shortly after she gave birth, she decided to have a shower. She left the baby sleeping in the room for only 10 minutes, but when she returned, the baby, Alice, was gone. How could a baby disappear in the safest place, the hospital? The baby was never found, and Angela was never the same. Could this baby’s skeleton be her daughter?
Emma is childless. Her husband is much older than she is, and he worries about her when he sees her growing more and more distracted. When she learns of the baby’s discovery at a building renovation site, it throws her completely off balance. She grows more and more concerned about the child who was buried at the site and cannot do her work properly. She is a book editor. Her husband worries about her mental state because she has had severe emotional problems in the past. He worries that she may have a relapse.
Jude is Emma’s mother. She is very selfish. She was once a practicing lawyer. Emma does not know her father. She and her mom had been estranged for years, but Emma reached out to her mom and they reconciled. About two decades before, Jude had sent teenaged Emma to live with her grandparents. Emma was threatening her relationship with Will, the man she professed to love. However, Emma hated him, and Jude would not let her come between them. She chose Will over her daughter. What kind of a mother would do that?
Kate is an investigative journalist. She is having some family problems. Her son dropped out of school, and he now wants to travel to Phuket. She has her own problems as well. When she reads about the baby she is completely intrigued. She wants to find out everything she can and begins to pursue information from her sources and contacts. She attempts to contact and visit the tenants who live on the street where the baby’s remains were found. The trail leads her in many different directions. As it twists and turns to the conclusion, surprises unfold often.
All four women have a secret that they harbor in their hearts from the outside world. Rape and abuse were crimes that went undiscovered. All four will make major discoveries about themselves and each other as the baby’s identity is sought.
The chapters are short and keep the suspense heightened. It bounces from one character to another revealing bits and pieces slowly to the reader so that the reader is never overwhelmed but always drawn back into the story.

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