Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Grace and Jack are a seemingly perfect couple, hosting friends and neighbours for stunning dinner parties in their beautiful home. Jack Angel spends his days fighting for victims of domestic violence. His wife, Grace, spends her days tending to their house, gardening, and painting. But why is Grace never seen outside? Why is she always with her husband? And why does the bedroom have bars on the window?

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris
Behind Closed Doors Full Cover

Behind Closed Doors

Author:

Published: Aug 9 2016

Format: Kindle

Disclaimer

This novel includes abusive content including animal abuse and psychological abuse.

Review

Behind Closed Doors is B.A. Paris' debut novel. Since its release, the author has published two novels: The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back. Behind Closed Doors was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller, and for Debut Goodreads Author.

Grace and Jack are a seemingly perfect couple, hosting friends and neighbours for stunning dinner parties in their beautiful home. Jack Angel is a successful lawyer who goes to bat for victims of domestic violence. His wife, Grace, spends her days tending to their house, gardening, and painting. The newlyweds have even created a beautiful bedroom for Grace's younger sister, a girl with special needs who looks forward to moving in with them after graduating from boarding school.

Everyone is in agreement, Grace and Jack are the perfect couple.

Behind Closed Doors quickly draws the reader into Grace's claustrophobic word. It's not how their friends imagine it. Grace does not spend her days tending to the house, gardening, painting, or cooking. Instead she's confined to a small, locked bedroom.

Although the novel summaries imply that the mystery is what's occurring inside Grace and Jack's home, that's not the case. Almost everything is revealed at the beginning, leaving the reader to hope that the protagonist escapes the situation, and wondering how she'll do it.  The question of the novel is not "what's going on behind closed doors?" but "how will Grace overcome this?"

Chapters alternate before and after Grace's marriage to Jack. Although this structure is popular, particularly in psychologically-driven novels, it works well. The reader slowly learns how and why Grace has ended up in this predicament, and hopes that she will find a way out.

The main complaint I have seen in other reviews is that the story is unbelievable. Contrary to those readers, I think that it is, and that's what makes it a scary read. Strong and intelligent women end up in abusive relationships across the world, and they often don't make it out alive. Although I personally don't agree with many of Grace's decisions, there are women who would make similar decisions in similar circumstances.

Rather than question the believably of the plot, my problem with Behind Closed Doors is using luck as a narrative device. Luck and coincidence don't make for a compelling read, and it lessens the satisfaction of a good conclusion. Unfortunately, it means a lower rating from me.

If you're looking for a twisting, fast-paced psychological novel - this one's not for you. If you are looking for an uncomfortable look into domestic relationships and untrustworthy characters, then pick Behind Closed Doors up.

Why Read This Book?

  • Female author
  • Debut novel
  • Award nominations

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Behind Closed Doors

Grace and Jack are a seemingly perfect couple, hosting friends and neighbours for stunning dinner parties in their beautiful home. Jack Angel spends his days fighting for victims of domestic ...

  • Plot
    3.5
  • Characters
    2.5
  • Theme
    3.5
  • Structure
    3.5
  • Dialogue
    3
  • Pacing
    3
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