By Fiona Barton
Published June 29th 2017
Rating Two/Five Leafs
I like my reviews to be little leaflets of information about the book, a list of things to be prepared for so you can get to reading. I also want reading to be an experience so at the end I’ll list some things I think would pair well with this book.
Synopsis From Goodreads
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…
Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I guessed the ending about halfway through and was bored through much of it. I think this book would be good for people looking for a non-traditional mystery because rather than focus on the mystery of what happened to the building site baby, the mystery in this book was more about ethics. I picked it up expecting the former so I think that is why my rating came out so low.
What To Expect
This book is a slow-burn mystery. Very slow burn. It feels like one of those tense British dramas where everything is slow and still and contemplative. The author kept describing very cinematic things, like how a phone would suddenly ring when a character was deep in thought, snapping reality back in place. This makes me think that this would be a really incredible mini-series.
An Exploration of Motherhood
I didn’t realize this until after I finished the book but I believe that this book analyzed what it means to be a mother and therefore a woman. Does motherhood take away from womanhood or add to it? Is being a mother an essential role in being a “complete” woman? Each woman that the story follows: Kate, Emma, Angela, and Jude, along with the secondary characters, are all different types of women. Some are career women, some are a stay at home woman focused on their husbands needs, and some are completely focused on men in general. These are all factors that add up in a woman’s so-called “worth.”
What I Didn’t Like
Highlight to see the negative.
Kate is the journalist that sees this small story in another paper and begins investigating it. She is the main force driving the narrative. However, I was so annoyed by her chapters. I thought she was basically put in the story to slow it down. I kept thinking that this “mystery” would have been done so much faster if just the main people were involved. Once Kate knew who to talk to, they cracked so easily under her questions. I just feel like it solved itself basically and she was just the person that happened to stumble onto it.
I feel like if you liked this book, you will like the British TV series Broadchurch and if you like Broadchurch you have a good chance of liking this book. It’s on Netflix and is also a family drama with a little bit of mystery thrown in. Go forth and enjoy!
Let’s chat! Have you read this book? Have you ever had the problem where a book was branded differently than it actually was, leaving you disappointed? Has bad branding ever given you a good surprise with a great read?