The Barter

  • by Siobhan Adcock
  • Narrated by Meredith Mitchell
  • 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sure to be one of the most talked-about debut novels of the year, The Barter is a heart-stopping tale as provocative as it is suspenseful, about two conflicted women, separated by 100 years and bound by an unthinkable sacrifice.
The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in present-day Texas, and at the turn of the 20th century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.
Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home - only nobody but Bridget can feel it.
On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.
As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families - and themselves? Listeners will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision - and its explosive consequences.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What is the point?

I just finished this book and I am so annoyed. I’ve never read/listened to a book with such a garbled, confusing, disappointing ending.

I first purchased the Kindle book a few months ago and I enjoyed the beginning; it had a foreboding sense to it and introduced the ghost right away. Each chapter was peppered with relatable, human moments between the two couples. The subject matter concerning Rebecca and John and their emotional estrangement from each other during their marriage made me cringe as I read it, because it was so human in regards to them having an imperfect relationship; how Rebecca would push John away until he shut down, then she would yearn for him to forgive her and wait for him to come back around almost entirely before she cut into him again, causing the cycle to repeat. She was very cruel but in some ways I felt I could relate to her. In others, I felt she was a selfish idiot.

After a few weeks of reading the Kindle book, distractions of life caused me to forget about it until I saw that it was on sale thru Audible for the whispersync aspect. I purchased it for $4.49 with the idea that I’d get through the audible version quicker than the book.

So that was two days ago and as I said I just finished it. And I’m SO glad that I didn’t have to spend precious free time over the next few months trying to finish the book, only to be met with the mess that is the last few chapters.

Another reviewer stated that they didn’t know what the author was trying to do. I totally agree! While I was listening to the end of the book I was actually getting angry at how ridiculous it was. I’d like to know if anyone actually follows the chapter on Rebecca at the end? After the conversation with the magician and Frau, and the events that occur afterwards with the horse and carriage I was mentally done with this book. It lost me. It seems that all the extraneous pomp and circumstance that happens in the women’s lives is virtually UNRELATED to the ending. Who cares about Bridget’s mom’s past encounter with a ghost? Yes, Bridget is seeing a ghost herself but where does this information come into play? Why include the sad fact that her baby sister died in a car accident and her father left them years before? Bridget’s suspicion of Mark having an affair? None of these things have ANY relation to the rest of the book. You could say it’s for character building but it never really amounts to anything. Many things seem to only be written for the purpose of filling pages. The only person who knows the reason for any of it being included is the author herself. The only person to whom the end of the book makes any damn sense is the author.

I’m glad to be done with it but do yourself a favor and skip this one.
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- Erin

Missed it by this much

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. I hated the ending.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Barter?

When the father dies


Which scene was your favorite?

When Bridgette first sees the ghost


Did The Barter inspire you to do anything?

Pull my hair out


Any additional comments?

The book was fascinating until the end. I still don't know what happened.

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- Catherine Jennings

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-04-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.