Chilling and so disturbing that, initially, I was reluctant to continue beyond the first chapter. However, the story grabbed me and then I just couldn't stop myself. It's a tough and stomach-churning subject, even more horrifying because the relationship Grace finds herself in very probably represents so many others in real life. Nonetheless, I'd recommend this one to any reader who enjoys psychological suspense. 4 stars.
WOW, couldn't put this one down!! Psycho thriller that held my attention throughout!
Jack woos Grace and her sister Millie, showing them the attention and affection they both need. Millie has Down syndrome and lives in a special school to help her develop. Grace marries Jack and settles into a luxurious home with him. They appear to be the Perfect Couple. What the outside world doesn't know is that Jack is evil and manipulative. He threatens Grace with harm and torture to Millie, so that keeps Grace in line. The horror she endures is at times unbelievable, but I will only say that she wins in the end.
A bit of a disappointment. I was looking for a psychological thriller, something with twists and interesting characters. Flawed characters in the lead role. This isn't it.
We know from the start that Grace has married a psychopath, someone who lured her with his charm, then turned the tables on her. Jack enjoys watching others suffer while presenting the image of the perfect husband to the world.
Grace is not able to reach out to others, as she is a captive in her luxury home, confined to a small bedroom with no phone, no way out. She is held captive as much by Jack's threats against her sister Millie as by physical means.
Millie has Down Syndrome. In this novel the author uses the outdated term "Down's Syndrome". Perhaps in Britain the term has not yet changed? Millie also speaks in sentences without articles, as a rule, similar to how some people speak when first learning English. I wasn't able to confirm exactly how children with Down Syndrome normally speak, but what I read suggests that the greater problems are with the production of sounds, a physical limitation, and that these children tend to speak in shorter sentences. Not that they use "Indian-speak" as demonstrated in older western movies.
There are other aspects of Millie's character that seemed off to me as well, although i am not an expert.
Jack is a lawyer in a firm. His job is to represent women who have been battered by their husbands. I know that the legal systems in the US and Britain differ, but not fundamentally. In the US, no private lawyer "represents" the victim; it is the job of the prosecutor to prosecute the accused. When Jack "wins" a case the husband goes to jail, which says to me that he should be a prosecutor, but he isn't. It is details like this, that show that the author didn't do much research, that bother me.
But back to the story. We know from the start that Grace is kept hidden "behind closed doors", and both she and Jack present a united front of a happy marriage. Much of the book is a series of "this happened" then "that happened". Illustrations of how cruel Jack is and how Grace tries to escape. The episodes don't seem to build, although they do show us that Grace is trying to escape.
Things come to a head when Jack plans to have Millie move in and then to torture her. Grace is pressed for time to do something about it. Does she succeed??
The character of Jack is one-dimensional. Yes, he is a good actor, playing the part of the caring law partner and husband, but essentially he enjoys cruelty for its own sake. There is nothing interesting about this, nor is there any basis drawn to explain it. Grace is the plucky victim. She isn't particularly interesting either.
Overall, it works to while away the hours and moves enough that it kept me reading to the end. Others clearly enjoyed it more than I did and I expect and hope that others who read this copy do enjoy it.
Excellent read. Makes you wonder..
Great read, kept my attention. Wasn't expecting the ending at all!