Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Published: August 9, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press
As soon as I read the description for this novel, I knew it was one that I had to read.
“The perfect marriage or the perfect lie?”
The story alternates between the present and past and is told from Grace’s point of view. The past only a few months before Grace and Jack get married.
The book opens in the present. Husband-and-wife, Jack and Grace Angel are hosting a dinner for two other couples. One couple are old friends of Jack’s and another couple is new to the area. Everyone marvels over dinner and the house. When talk turns to Jack’s job as a lawyer, everyone congratulates him on his most recent conviction.
Jack champions battered wives and has never lost a case.
“I have nothing but contempt for men who are found to be violent towards their wives”, Jack says firmly. “They deserve everything they get.”
But of course things aren’t always what they seem. As the title suggests, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors. Is Grace Angel an example of a woman who has it all? A perfect house, a perfect husband, the perfect life?
Grace serves an extravagant meal and her and Jack are wonderful hosts. Grace makes sure that everything goes flawlessly. The food is wonderful, she asks all the right questions and answers all questions perfectly.
We learn more about how the couple got together. They met about 6 months before at a park Grace frequently attended with her 17-year-old sister, Millie. It was one of their favorite places as Millie loves music and there was often a band playing. Millie was enjoying the music and started dancing. After a few minutes though her dancing seemed to annoy a few people. Grace was just about to ask Millie to stop when Jack appeared out of nowhere, dancing with Millie and charming everyone watching, including Grace.
Millie has Down’s syndrome and can be very spontaneous. When Jack comes to her rescue, people stop staring and start to clap. It was a very special and heartwarming moment. Both Grace and Millie fall in love with Jack almost immediately.
At first Grace was hesitant to get involved in a relationship with Jack. Millie boards at a school where she is well taken care of. Unfortunately, when she turns 18 she’s no longer eligible to remain living there. Grace’s parents want to find alternate living accommodations for Millie as they want to be free to travel. Grace does not want that and has promised to take care of Millie herself. When Jack proposes he says he understands that Grace and Millie are a package deal. He proclaims to love Millie and is happy to help take care of her with Grace. But when talk turns to Millie coming to live with them, Grace seems more nervous than excited.
Jack really seems like the perfect man. Not just handsome and charming but loving and caring.
On the day of their wedding Millie has an accident and must go to the hospital. Grace is frantic and considers putting off the wedding but Jack convinces her that while Millie won’t be able to attend the wedding, she is otherwise just fine. Jack and Grace go ahead with the wedding. After that they are off to Thailand for their honeymoon.
And the nightmare begins…
I may have said it before about other books, but this really took hold of me. If I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, or talking about it. One of my best friends and my mom let me go on and on as I got further into the book. Neither of them were going to read the book but they ended up being quite interested in the story once I started telling them about it. My mom would even phone to ask me what had happened next.
The book covers some very difficult topics and I understand that this book may not be for everyone. Some parts are hard to read. However, I feel the author did a good job of telling the story in a chilling way, but without going overboard with graphic descriptions. It’s hard to explain but it was still just as terrifying and kept me on the edge of my seat.
“Fear is the best deterrent of all”
This is a fantastic psychological thriller, complete with a monster so sadistic. I had no idea what was going to happen next. Every time I put the book down I tried to figure out how this horrific monster would possibly be defeated. Going over and over different scenarios in my head.
The characters were very well-developed. I absolutely loved Grace’s sister, Millie. She stole my heart. Although I questioned some of Grace’s decisions, it felt like one of those situations where you couldn’t possibly know how you would react unless it was happening to you.
There may be some things that may not seem completely realistic or believable but I didn’t care. I’ve read things and seen things on the news that seemed like they could not possibly be real. Yet they were. I tried not to analyze everything to decide if it could realistically happen that way. I just went with it and enjoyed the ride.
“Behind Closed Doors” was a thrilling read with many twists and turns that left me reeling. A thoroughly engrossing novel that I won’t soon forget.
I can’t wait for more from B.A Paris.