I went through a phase of reading Domestic Thriller/Suspense novels, and one of my absolute favourites was, and is, Behind Closed Doors.
The story is about Jack and Grace Angel, a seemingly perfect couple, and is told in the first person, from Grace’s POV. As is common in the genre, the novel is told through alternating, past and present, timelines, and this technique is definitely used to good effect here. It isn’t a story with historic backstory set in the 1980s or 1990s, as often occurs, but we are shown Jack and Grace before their marriage, and in the early days of the marriage, as well as a year later. The transitions between Past and Present feel natural somehow, and I love how the story unfolds.
Grace is in her thirties, and has a younger sister called Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. Grace and Millie’s parents, whilst not shown to be unpleasant people, are definitely selfish. They didn’t want Millie, a surprise late baby, who they fear might inconvenience them, and their plans to retire to New Zealand. Millie is away at boarding school, but the eventual plan is for her to live with Grace, who will become her legal guardian. This event is rapidly approaching, now that Millie is almost eighteen. The fact that Grace will eventually be responsible for Millie has deterred every romantic partner Grace has previously had, so it really is a dream come true when Jack comes along. Jack Angel, a handsome and successful lawyer, not only wants to marry Grace, but also makes it clear from the start, that he is more than happy to include Millie, and have her come to live with them both.
Too good to be true? Sadly, yes. But, by the time Grace finds out what Jack’s true intentions are, she is trapped, and Jack is able to use Millie as the ultimate weapon to keep her that way. And yet, if she cannot escape in time, Millie will be in serious danger.
The plot is compelling, and the characters, excellent. My favourite characters are definitely Esther and Millie.
I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors, particularly to fans of Domestic Suspense fiction in general.