Published: 11th February 2016 (MIRA)
Synopsis: 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.
In the past I have personally struggled with books with a lot of hype, feeling like I’ve missed something as I’ve not loved them like everyone else seems to. However, Behind Closed Doors, is most definitely worthy of all the hype, it is such an amazing book that had me hooked from start to finish.
We are introduced to Grace and Jack, and even from the start, Jack’s controlling nature is present but discrete – mistaken by Grace and those around him as gentlemanly. Jack is a prestigious lawyer, specialising in domestic abuse cases whereby he has never lost a case. A upstanding member of the community, standing up for abused women, giving them a voice and punishing their abusive partners. Even Jack’s colleagues and friends are taken in by him and his lies.
Grace is a confident, trusting woman with a successful career, until she meets Jack.
It is written from Grace’s perspective interchanging between the present and the past. I enjoyed this swapping of time as I felt that it built up the tension brilliantly.
I got so involved in the narrative, feeling so angry and so sad all at the same time. It is, at times, a punishing read given that what Grace is subjected to could quite easily be happening to people we know – I think that is part of why it is so psychologically terrifying.
At times, due to the switching between the past and present, you know what is coming in the present chapters but you cannot stop reading. The narrative is relentless and makes you want to keep reading with the disbelief of what Jack tries to get away with and the level of his manipulation. The naivety of Grace in the early ‘past’ chapters is absolutely heartbreaking, knowing that her good-natured persona is being taken advantage of.
There is not much I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers other than it tells, very poignantly, the horrors of being in a far from perfect marriage, to someone who is able to manipulate people and situations all around him without suspicion.
The trending hashtag of #staysingle when this book was released is most definitely appropriate for Grace!
A fantastic debut novel and I cannot wait for B.A. Paris’ second novel, Every Little Thing, which is due out in September 2016.
About the author
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.
B.A. Paris can be found on Twitter here: @BAParisAuthor