Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

Please enjoy this picture of a pretty door as I only have the book in E-Book format!

What do you do when you're young, naive and swept so far away by your emotions that you end up married to the wrong man? You don't stay with him, trying to convince yourself day after day that he will change back into the person you thought he was. No - you kill him.

This was always going to be the end goal for a woman like Grace. Someone who was genuinely kind-hearted and was just unfortunate enough to become trapped in a very wrong situation. It's all very sweet and romantic when she meets Jack in the park. Probably the only man she's ever met to be so warm towards her sister Millie who has down syndrome and to be so enthusiastic about taking them out for lunch and then wooing her with his gentlemanly charm. I understand it. I even understand her marrying him, as it does happen. Some people make impulsive decisions when they're falling in love and sometimes it works out, but most of the time it doesn't. And yes, that is my inner pessimist coming out as I can remember being besotted with someone that I would have done anything for. And where am I now? Single and stronger. So sorry to break it to you Grace, but you made a very bad decision to marry him so soon.

The plot of this novel is not at all complicated. In fact, it's more than predictable. Girl meets gorgeous boy. Gorgeous boy turns out to be even more gorgeous but also more dangerous than ever. Girl submits to his duress for so long that she is finally forced to kill him. There was never a doubt in my mind that Grace would kill Jack. She had to. There was really no other way for the story to end, especially as she was narrating it and flicking it between the past and the present so confidently. A sudden break in her narration, only for Jack to take over and tell us that he had been writing the whole thing after killing her certainly would have made for a more complex and interesting story. But then again, this one was well written and despite being predictable, made for a good read regardless.

I understood the kind of character that Jack was meant to be, but I didn't always understand B A Paris's portrayal of him. Some of his actions just seemed pointless and far-fetched, even if they were the actions of someone evil who thrived on the idea of inciting fear and control. Buying a dog for their house and then leaving it to starve and die was one thing I really didn't understand. Denying Grace basic things like a hairbrush and a decently sized towel to dry herself with was something else I didn't understand. Particularly as I'm sure I can recall Jack saying that he married Grace because he was getting older and didn't want to be alone. His behaviour wasn't always maintained anyway. Towards the end when he started drinking whisky with Grace, I felt that this just seemed completely out of character for Jack and only employed narratively because there would have been no other way for Grace to escape otherwise. But considering that he thrived on keeping her imprisoned with no social life, it seemed an odd thing to then grant her her wish of having someone to socialise with of an evening. Even if it was only him.

I must say that Grace's overwhelming need to tell us everything instead of just painting the scene of how things happened grated on me furiously. Especially as the book started so well, reeling us in and encouraging us to ask questions. Only to find out all the answers just a few chapters later and then find that the rest of the story is basically just the painfully detailed accounts of Grace's attempts to escape and Jack constantly repeating the same things over and over again - which was that he would really enjoy hurting both Grace and Millie when the latter finally came to stay with them. There was all this threat of physical violence, yet I don't think he ever hurt her once. If anything, it was Grace who physically lashed out at him on multiple occasions. All he did was starve her and wind her up, so he really wasn't as villainous as he was supposed to be I feel.

Things only really clicked in the novel's final chapter, which I almost didn't make it to as I was getting so bored. But it was definitely worth the wait, as the final chapter left me with chills down my spine and feeling just a little bit scared. I finished it just after midnight, reading it on my phone in the darkness of my room. Grace had finally managed to successfully plot Jack's downfall using the sleeping pills that Millie had saved up for her and a watchful neighbour Esther, who we meet at their party in the first chapter, had been piecing things together ever since. So carefully in fact, that she was able to help Grace take those final few steps in the end to seal the deal.

You see, Esther had cleverly remembered Jack telling her that Millie's room would be red when she finally came to stay with him and Grace, as that was her favourite colour. This small mistake eventually revealed everything to smart little Esther. When Jack died in the basement, which was where this red room was, Esther saw all the horrifying portraits that he had forced Grace to paint of his domestic violence victims. And it had then clicked that Jack had been planning to imprison Millie there in the basement all along, instead of in the yellow bedroom upstairs that he had been pretending to everyone he was planning to. It's chilling really when you take it all in. Particularly the final lines when Grace asks Esther in a whisper why she is doing all of this to help her.

I look at her in bewilderment. ‘Then why?’ She looks steadily back at me. ‘What colour was Millie’s room, Grace?’ I can barely get the word out. ‘Red,’ I tell her, my voice breaking. ‘Millie’s room was red.’ ‘That’s what I thought,’ she says softly.

Flirtatious Florals for summer weddings

Although the weather has been a little up and down recently, as it always is around this time of year, many of you will have received invites already to those wonderful events that commemorate a couple's love. Whether it's a relative or an outer circle friend, weddings are events that bring everybody together for a day filled with smiles, happiness and love. Some people dread getting invited to weddings, fearing that they will be the lone egg left at the pretty table while everybody else exchanges loving glances of awe at their partner's beauty, fingers intertwined in personal patterns of affection. If that's you, then I'm about to teach you how not to be stuck at the singles table at a wedding. Dress the right way and you might even find yourself meeting your husband or wife at one of these numerous summer events!

Dressing well isn't just about following trends, it's about wearing what you feel comfortable in and also looking good while you wear it. One of the best ways to look good is to wear your outfit with confidence, bearing in mind, what looks good is definitely subjective. For example, I will throw a leather jacket on over absolutely anything and I was even tempted to wear one with this dress! However, a leather jacket is not really summer wedding appropriate in my opinion. If you know me, you'll know that when I'm in one of my many, many leather jackets, I usually get a little strut going on because I feel like a bit of a badass. Judge me if you want, but we all want that one item that gives us the natural strut.

I take a lot of pride in my appearance, so one of the main things I look for in a guy is someone who is well dressed. Even if I'm just popping to the supermarket I will think about what I put on, so it is important for me that the person I'm with does so too. I love a man in a suit, so weddings and formal events are the perfect place for me to catch some fire eye candy. This post has been written in collaboration with Bonobos, an american based men's clothing company who offer some beautiful pieces for formal looks. They have a range of smart suits in wool, linen and chambray, in a variety of smart colours. But best known for the amazing fit of their men's trousers, they definitely have the smart, refined and gentlemanly look covered. There really is nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit!

I think that white trousers or any kind of lighter colour like grey or pale blue is the perfect way to wear a suit for a summer wedding. Paired with a subtle print tie, plain shirt and a beautifully coloured blazer, the look is absolutely nailed. It's very easy to get bogged down in dark, generic colours like a navy or black suit, but it's far more attractive and interesting to play with colours during the summer and do something a little different. Bearing in mind, if you're going for something quite light and statement-y on the bottom, then you want to make sure that the top doesn't detract from this!

For women, at summer weddings class is absolutely key. You want to wear a pale colour, something like the peach, printed floral dress I'm wearing in the photo above. It's pretty and feminine and it has enough detail to make a statement without stealing the attention away from the bride. If pretty dresses and floral patterns aren't really your thing, then playsuits will be your best friend. Something plain or with a simple print like stripes would be perfect. I picked a stripey playsuit up in the Bershka sale for just £6 a couple of weeks ago! With a pair of heels, some sunglasses and a pretty bag, you've managed to get a laid back but dressed up look and you haven't gone to too much effort to do it.

Overall, what's key to dressing for summer weddings in my opinion, is the subtlety of print and colour. You want to wear something different and exciting, but you don't want it to take over. As I said earlier on in my post, what looks good is definitely a matter of opinion. I personally like guys who wear a bit of colour and have a sort of preppy Chuck Bass-esque element to their look. I also like wearing pretty dresses or playsuits if I'm not feeling in the girliest of moods. If you have a partner that needs dressing for a summer wedding, then definitely check out the Bonobos website. The style of garments available are exactly the sorts of things I would be looking at if I were shopping for a partner.  If you're a girl looking for wedding inspiration, then check out ASOS (who wouldn't?) or have a rummage through the summer sales in some of the more casual shops like Bershka, as dressing up a casual piece allows you both versatility and the ability to create your own personal look!