The perfect marriage isn’t always what it seems to be.
To the townsfolk of the quaint English village, newlyweds Grace and Jack, have a perfect marriage. Grace hangs on every one of Jack’s words. He is handsome, charming, rich, and adoringly attentive, oozing kindness on visits to her mentally disabled sister at a residential facility. Grace and Jack even live in a perfectly charming home. Of course, the neighbors have noticed Grace never seems to be out in public alone and why does that charming house have bars on the windows?
Behind Closed Doors is a contemporary suspense novel about what can happen when Mr. Right turns out to be oh-so-wrong. The tension builds slowly, but never to the edge-of-your-seat level. The book should be a chilling page-turner, but the story didn’t grip me the way I’d hoped. The main problem was Grace. Before Jack, she’s spunky and strong, lovingly tending to her sister. She has a good life with a job she loves, but when when Jack arrives all her most interesting characteristics go right out the window. She easily falls under his spell, asking no questions about his odd demands like quitting her job before the wedding. Her transformation isn’t credible. Neither is how long it takes for the final confrontation between them to take place. When Grace finally figures out Jack’s evil intentions I couldn’t help but think, conk him on the head and run, lady. End of story. (I suppose that would have made for a very short book.)
The novel is written in the first person from Grace’s point of view. I have no problem with first person narration, but in a suspense story the reader is left with three options. Grace will confront Jack and be victorious. She will confront Jack and not be victorious. The author will use a cheesy Sunset Boulevard escape and Grace will be narrating the book as a ghost. Thankfully, the third option wasn’t used, but Grace’s voice still comes across as too weak. I never made a connection to her. The ending was satisfying, but while it should have been a big surprise, it wasn’t. Any reader paying attention can see it coming. I didn’t toss the book aside. The story was interesting enough to keep reading, but somewhere in the middle I suddenly realized the only reason for me to finish was to see if my theory of the ending held up. I didn’t particularly care whether Grace escaped Jack’s clutches or not.
I received a free advanced copy from the publisher.