Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.
From the opening chapter you know Grace and Jack are not a normal couple. Deeply manipulative and controlling, Jack seems too perfect and generally if something seems to good to be true it usually is.
Good suspense, especially told in alternate 'past' and 'present' chapters which while building up tension also gave an opportunity for scene setting and characterisation for the reader.
I'm not sure what I felt for Grace, she seemed to be a mix of personalities and conflicts, great strength and sensibilities but also a child like vulnerability which added to the mystique of this novel. Flawed as much as Jack her husband this seemed to bind them together and enabled me to believe in her story, her desire to have a 'normal' loving family and her gullibility that prevented her from being suspicious of Jack from the start.
Jacks power over Grace depended on her absolute love of Milly her Down's sister which Jack exploits at every given opportunity forcing Grace to retreat into a world of his domination which almost breaks her. His ability to preempt her every move to be one step ahead of her destroys her confidence and eventually her spirit until she is driven almost mad with his mind games.
I loved Milly the Down's sister and it was a pity we didn't hear more about her since she proves to be more knowing than the wicked Jack realises and through her strength Grace finally manages to deal with Jack. Since it was essentially Graces' story it was however pitched correctly.
Lots of times when we almost thought she had got away from him in the book or that she has found an ally and then the knowledge that he'd predicted her every move shows good suspense throughout and keeps the reader guessing right up to the end.
Both Jack and Grace were not really 'fleshed' out enough but that did not interfere with the mood or the pace of the story however the reason given for Jack's split personality of being perfect one minute and a cruel sadist the next didn't really seem to sit right for me.
I did read this book in one sitting, it was gripping in places and moved along quickly although the conclusion was predictable it wasn't certain that she was safe until the end. A good enjoyable read and worthy 4 stars - recommended.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.