‘Behind Closed Doors’: the perfect marriage isn’t what it seems

behind doors

In “Behind Closed Doors” by B. A. Paris, the reader gets a glimpse into a perfect marriage. At least for the first few chapters. Grace seems to have it all — a very handsome, successful husband, a lovely home, a perfect figure, and the ability to cook flawless meals.

Told in alternating voices by Grace in the present and the past, readers slowly learn about how Grace first fell in love with Jack, and how Jack charmed Grace and her sister, Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. Paris’ writing is also perfect — picture perfect in the carefully chosen words that only hint at first at the cruelty and malevolence that are slowly  revealed as the plot unfolds.

Clever, also, is the author’s use of the two alternating times to tell the story, because while the “past” gives important background information, the reader becomes impatient to get back to the “present,” where something exciting is happening.

The dialogue is wonderfully British, the descriptions just right and with just enough detail. But what really makes the story real is how Paris writes Grace’s first person narrative. The feelings, the turmoil, the anguish are all there and serve to drag the reader deeply into the story. It’s a page-turner until the last, fairly emotional twist on the very last page. And after the last page is turned, the reader will want to go back and reread the story to see it in a new light — with the knowledge of what was really going on.

Fans of “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train,” will love this story. It’s also a cautionary tale — if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Please note: This review is based on the early readers’ edition provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for review purposes.

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