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Book Author: B. A. Paris

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B. A. Paris: Book Review

It’s a cliché to say that no one knows what goes on in a marriage except the people inside it.  But clichés get to be clichés because there’s validity to them.  Some marriages look wonderful from the outside, with the couple always holding hands and never quarreling.  Other couples seems always to be on edge, never agreeing on anything.  That’s what we see on the outside.  What happens when the couple is alone?

Behind Closed Doors is narrated by Grace Angel.  Grace tells the story of her marriage to Jack with a series of flashbacks that lead up to the present.  In today’s parlance, they “met cute.”  Grace is in a park with her younger sister Millie, and Millie is dancing to the park’s band but without a partner.  Grace is aware that Millie is attracting the attention of people sitting on nearby benches or on the grass; Millie has Down Syndrome and can do things that make others uncomfortable.  So Grace is thrilled when an extremely handsome man walks over to her sister and begins to dance with her.

That is the beginning of Grace and Jack’s courtship, one that ends a few months later with their marriage.  Grace has promised her parents that she will take care of her sister, and her sister and their parents are counting on that.  It’s been the parents’ wish to retire to New Zealand without bringing their younger daughter with them, and it’s been understood for years that when Millie finishes her stay at school she will move in with Grace.  Now Grace is beyond thrilled that Jack insists that that is exactly what he wants too, that having Millie with them will make their lives perfect.

So Grace and Jack marry, and after their honeymoon they go to the house that Jack has built as a surprise for Grace.  It’s magnificent, she thinks, although a bit far from town and hidden behind iron gates.  But Jack explains that because of the sensitive nature of his work, his need for security is high.

That, however, is not the real reason for their solitude.  It gradually becomes clear that Jack is a control freak, or even more than that.  Grace is his prisoner.  He no longer permits her to work, she is not allowed to have lunch with anyone except him, and she is not permitted to answer the phone.  Swift punishment ensues for any deviation from his orders, and the punishments get more and more unpleasant.  And then Grace is told the true reason that Jack wants her for his wife.

Behind Closed Doors is an absolutely chilling mystery.  Beneath the surface of the perfect façade of their lives, perfect being Jack’s operative word, lie torment and fear.  You follow Grace’s descent from a confident, professional woman into a fearful, almost enslaved, one; every chapter makes you wonder how this can possibly end for her.  Trust me, this is not a mystery to read just before you go to bed.

You can read more about B. A. Paris at various sites on the web.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.