I am not sure HOW B.A. Paris’s debut novel, Behind Closed Doors got on my radar but I’ve been carrying it around for a few weeks trying to eek in a few minutes to read it between packing and moving. Once I started the book, I found that I could not put it down, stopping only to remind myself to breathe, and did something I have not done in quite some time: finished this book in one afternoon.
Synopsis from Amazon:
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
The “perfect couple” that is Jack and Grace are actually hiding a seriously dark and dangerous secret that reveals itself through the masterful way B.A. Paris crafts her words. After reading the book I read through the first couple of chapters and what seemed to be a family bent on perfection is actual a terrifying fight for power between Jack and Grace.
Oh. My. Stars is this one book that was took me through all kinds of emotions!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Shock: Initially I had trouble figuring out just what was happening between seemingly perfect couple Jack and Grace. For some reason I kept thinking this book’s genre was science fiction book and that Jack and Grace Angel had some kind of psychic connection in which they physically could not be apart from each other (don’t judge me). The perfect life and relationship begin to show signs of being too perfect and when the real deal clicked, the connection Jack and Grace held was much more chilling and sinister.
Denial/Anger: Once the horror that is the Angels relationship is revealed, it was difficult for me to want to accept that Grace was so easily duped. Some annoyance crept in as well due to the ease in which Jack became such an extreme part of Grace’s life; the relationship was such a whirlwind romance in which Grace gave up EVERYTHING for him. It seemed like she had found her dream man, who, was actually a nightmare! Grace is smart and independent; at a young age she makes the decision to take charge of care for her younger sister who has Down’s Syndrome yet this mane comes along and all of a sudden it seems that she is losing herself to this person.
Bargaining: This book jumps back and forth between time from the present to past, in which we are presented with a picture perfect, fantastical relationship to the reality that Jack is a sadistic psychopath who carefully selected Grace to be the unwilling participant into his twisted schemes. I wanted so badly for Grace get a break and to be able to find a way out of this situation and was thrilled when the plot shifted in her direction.
Pain: This book affected me physically; several times I had to stop reading and walk away because my heart was beating and I found myself holding my breath. A chance meeting, seemingly sweet and innocent, turns into a relationship full of terror and misery. While Jack never physically hurt Grace, the emotional and psychological abuse he inflicts on her is draining. As I read, I considered what I would do if I found myself in such a horrific scenario and will admit that I would probably share Grace’s feelings of isolation and helplessness, the hopelessness of how she could get away from such a monster.
Relief: The book ends with the past and present coming together to provide a satisfying AND realistic conclusion.
I feel like “enjoy” is not the best word to use when sharing about this book because of the chilling nature of Jack and Grace’s relationship. B.A. Paris is a phenomenal wordsmith and if you are looking for a good thriller, grab a copy. One of the blurbs on the book proclaim this to be “2016’s answer to Gone Girl” which is not even accurate. This book stands on it own as a thriller and it’s a must read.
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