I don’t understand any of the reviews that compare this book to Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. Besides those books and this one being thrillers, they don’t have much in common. Those books both deal with unreliable narrators. I never felt that the protagonist was unreliable.
Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris
Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery Thriller, Family Drama Published: May 16, 2017
I would really give this book 3.5 stars. It started out as a solid 4 star read with the seemingly perfect couple of Jack and Grace having a dinner party for some neighbors. A few comments from Jack about why he wanted Grace to quit her job when they married and I was wary of the relationship.
“I used to, but I gave up my job just before Jack and I got married.”
“Really?” Esther frowns. “Why?”
“She didn’t want to,” Jack intervenes. “But she had a high-powered job and I didn’t want to come home exhausted and find that Grace was as exhausted as I was. It was perhaps selfish of me to ask her to give up her job but I wanted to be able to come home and offload the stress of my day rather than be offloaded onto.”
That is just the beginning of learning something isn’t right in their marriage, even though to the outside world, they have the perfect relationship. Jack is an attorney that defends battered women. Grace is about to take on her sister, Millie, with Down’s syndrome as soon as she turns 18 and can no longer stay at the boarding school she has been attending most of her life. Jack is ready to welcome Millie into their life when even Grace’s own parents can’t handle the task. The book alternates back and forth between the past and present with telling the story from the point that Grace and Jack meet to them being married just over a year with Millie about to join them in a few months.
I don’t want to get into too many details of the story, even though it is explained pretty early on. I wondered if that lessened the tension, but thinking it over, I don’t think so. I mentioned earlier that the book started off as a 4 star rating, but then it slipped down to a 3 star rating for the middle part of the book. We know the truth in the marriage. I do not agree with the choices being made by Grace. It is told from her point of view so we know exactly what she is thinking, but some of the choices don’t seem to fit her character. It could be that she is just trying to deal with her situation in the only way she knows how, but it was really frustrating to read and I almost gave up on it.
What this book reminded me was the movies like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle or Pacific Heights where a person is brought into a situation (nanny, tenant) and ends up creating a nightmare for a couple. I don’t like those movies because I can see so many ways for the characters to get out of the situation but they are making stupid decisions so I get frustrated. The middle part of this book was like that for me.
But then I saw an inkling for Grace starting to get her shit together and I had hope! I agreed with the decisions being made and I really enjoyed the last portion of the book. That is what brought it up another half star for me to 3.5.
I also really liked the Esther character in the book since I felt like she was the reader’s point of view the entire time. She knew something was up, but had to figure it out what was really happening.
I didn’t realize until I was done that this is a debut novel from the author. That gives me hope that her next book will be less frustrating for me. There were some good parts of this book, but now it makes sense that some of the character decisions could have used some more thought.
I feel like this review is me rambling, but I wanted to get it out right after I finished it. At least it didn’t take me a over a month to read like my last book!