“Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris was an instant best seller in the UK perhaps because it taps into the fears every woman has when she starts a new relationship that may lead to marriage. It is, in some ways, the British answer to “Gone Girl.” The novel will keep the reader constantly engaged, but it will be depressing as well. It was published in the US in hardcopy on August 9, 2016 and is doing well in sales in the US also.
“Behind Closed Doors” is about what seems to the outside world to be an ideal marriage of two professionally-oriented people, an attorney who takes on domestic abuse cases, Jack Angel, and a buyer for Harrods, Grace. Jack wants her to give up her career when then get married, and Grace agrees both to have more time with Jack and to prepare to take care of her sister with Down’s syndrome, Millie, who will live them them in the countryside once she completes school. Jack buys and decorates the perfect house and the newlywed couple befriend a few of the neighbors. Things look deceptively rosy in the beginning.
Very shortly, Jack holds Grace hostage even when they go on vacation in Thailand. He subjects her to brutal psychological torture. Grace initially believes that she can get away and convince others that she is being held against her will, but Jack is always two or three steps ahead and is good at convincing anyone who is asked to help by his wife that she is mentally ill. The preparations to take Millie captive and to take even more than psychological punishment out on the mentally disabled girl becomes heart-wrenching for Grace and for the reader as attempt after attempt to foil Jack’s plan fails.
The sad thing is, almost everyone knows someone who is, or has, suffered psychological and/or physical abuse at the hands of the person who should be most trusted. I have a niece who is not allowed to contact her parents or any of her old friends. She is closely monitored by a jealous husband. She and her daughter are held virtually as prisoners by her husband and his family and yet no one has been able to get her out of this situation because of the constant psychological abuse she has received and her reluctance or inability to turn her husband in for abuse. “Behind Closed Doors” is a frighteningly real piece of fiction written to expose this type of domestic abuse. It’s not a pleasant book to read, but it gives a message that must be heard.
Reviewed from a supplied early readers edition.