As the old saying goes, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors and my goodness nobody would guess what was going on in Jack and Grace Angel’s home. On the outside they appear to be the perfect couple: Jack’s a successful good-looking lawyer, Grace gave up work when they got married. They have a beautiful home. Grace is elegant, an excellent cook with a healthy appetite though somehow manages to remain very slim. But something is a bit odd. You never see Grace without Jack, she never answers the house phone, doesn’t have a mobile and often cancels lunch arrangements with her friends at the last minute – or Jack joins them.
This is one of these compelling books that will grab you right from the first pages. It is clear that something very strange is going on but you don’t quite realise what at first. The story is told over two timescales, past and present. The past isn’t very far in the past, just around two years, back when Jack first met Grace who was in the park with her much younger sister Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. Jack seems such a charmer but his true colours are revealed almost as soon as they are married. As Grace observes ‘his physical appearance was so at odds with the evil within…. a wolf in sheep’s clothing’. It was quite scary just how easily Jack managed to effectively trap and control Grace while still appearing normal to the rest of the world. It did make me wonder about how many women may be trapped in a similar kind of situation and helpless. Jack is a truly twisted character but so, so clever that I began to despair that Grace would ever escape her situation. Hope and a possible way out is offered from a very unlikely source but will Grace be able to act upon it?
Be warned that when you pick this book up that you won’t want to put it down! As I got near the end and the really tense final pages where the past catches up with the present, I literally could not stop until I finished the book, finally putting my light out at 1am! This is a brilliant debut novel and I think it will be huge this year. (Can see it making a great film too.) B A Paris has written a really gripping psychological thriller which is head and shoulders above many others in the genre. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy and with a pre-order Kindle price of 99p at the time of writing, what are you waiting for?
My thanks to Cara Thompson for arranging a review copy via Netgalley. Behind Closed Doors is due to be published on 11th February by Mira Publishers. You can order a copy here: Behind Closed Doors
B A Paris is from a Franco/Irish background. She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working as a trader in an international bank before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.
Behind Closed Doors
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.