Skip to content

The Man Behind Closed Doors By Maria Frankland

The Man Behind Closed Doors‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ is the latest book by Maria Frankland.

Domestic violence isn’t only perpetrated by men. Ask Paul Jackson who is on remand, accused of stabbing his wife, Michelle. As he reveals the reality behind their troubled and toxic marriage, it seems that only his six-year-old knows what really happened. But she’s trapped in her own world of silence.

This is a suspenseful and gripping story that really pulled the reader in.

The story is primarily is seen through the narrative of Paul, right at the moment that his wife is stabbed and he is arrested for attempted murder. Everyone involved thinks it’s a clear case of domestic violence, but as the story unfolds we see that it’s not a typical case and infact Paul is the poor victim of controlling and abusive behaviour.

The story is seen written in past and present tense, as Paul is in prison awaiting his trial and reflects back on the hardship of his relationship with his wife, Michelle. Michelle is a deeply troubled character, vicious and controlling. She’s jealous of anyone who takes his attention away from her even their own daughter. She’s vindictive and blames her behaviour on past relationships where she has been let down and is convinced that Paul will do the same. At every opportunity, she runs him down, attacks him and treats him badly in front of friends and family.

This book is genuinely a shocking and hard book to read. The story takes a different slant on domestic abuse, not the stereotypical story of the woman being the victim but the man and it truly makes for eye opening reading. We see Paul question his own masculinity at times as he wonders why he puts up with it all, but it’s down to the deep love for his daughter that gets him through the day. Paul isn’t the only victim in the story, as we see Emily the daughter retreat and become withdrawn with the most fights and tension that she is exposed to before finally becoming mute.

A gripping and powerful story about domestic abuse, ‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ is a cleverly written story with flawed characters that you feel an empathy and a poor child stuck in the middle. This book takes a different slant on domestic abuse, with a thrilling twist that made for engaging reading.

You can buy ‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Safe By S.K Barnett

Safe‘Safe’ is the latest book by S.K Barnett.

Your child is missing. She was only six years old when she disappeared. Posters went up, the police investigated. But no one could find her. Now, twelve years later, she’s home. And knocking at your door. You’re so happy to see her. But soon you start to wonder why she can’t answer your questions. Where has she been? How did she find her way home? And who is she?

This is a genuine suspenseful story that leaves the reader wondering who’s telling the truth.

When a young woman turns up to a house claiming that she’s the same child that disappeared many years ago, the family are elated that she’s returned, but the older brother can’t seem to join in with the joy of the happy reunion.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of Jenny and she’s an interesting character, who’s been through quite the ordeal whilst she has taken away. Her story makes for graphic and heartbreaking reading and it really did strike a chord with me, that a child would be treated in that way.

As the story progresses and Jenny begins to settle into the Kristal family, she can’t help feeling that something is amiss and starts to do her own research in the years that she was gone and finds herself wondering what she had returned after she begins to receive chilling messages.

It’s hard to say a lot about this story, as you could easily give something important away but this really was a rollercoaster of a story. Riddled with suspense had plenty of unreliable characters, this claustrophobic tale had me gripped from with the first page, no sooner had I thought that I had figured it out then the author would throw another curveball twist. A haunting and chilling story about disappearance and discovery, ‘Safe’ is a twisty and complex story that will you guessing throughout.

You can buy ‘Safe’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

A Life Of Their Own By Pauline Tait

A Life Of Their Own‘A Life Of Their Own’ is the latest book by Pauline Tait.

When Kate and her children step onto a bus early one Tuesday morning, she knows this is their only chance: their only chance at freedom and at a life of their own. But can she ensure their safety? Can she ensure they will never be found? This feeling haunts Kate as she and her children begin a new life far from New York, far from their troubled past. Little does she know that their new life will bring her closer to a different past, a life she had long given up, making her already fragile world more complicated than she could have ever imagined.

I really enjoyed this story, it was a short story that was easily consumed in one sitting.

Seen through multiple narratives, this story is a coming of age journey as a mother tries to build a new life for herself and her two children. Kate has left the bustle of New York and her controlling husband and escaped to small quiet place where she hopes to recover and make a better life for them all. It’s there that she meets Matthew, the man she loved for many years and never got over.

I loved this story, Kate’s a lovely character, a kind and warm person. It’s lovely to see her blossom and grow in confidence as the story progresses and she grows to find happiness. Her scenes with Matthew make for tender reading as the pair begin to get to know each other all over again.

The story is written in past and present tense, as we relive the horrors of Kate’s controlling relationship and how her confidence was chipped away.

A story about the struggles of domestic abuse and the recovery afterwards, ‘A Life Of Their Own’ is a story about new beginnings and the importance of a mother’s love, a heartfelt and emotional story.

You can buy ‘A Life Of Their Own’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Seduction By Joanna Briscoe

The Seduction‘The Seduction’ is the latest book by Joanna Briscoe.

Beth lives by Camden Lock with her partner Sol and their daughter Fern. Life is peaceful, but Beth is troubled by increasing unease. It could be to do with her mother’s disappearance years ago. It could be her sense that Fern is keeping secrets from her. So she goes to therapy. Dr Tamara Bywater is there to help her patients, and soon their sessions become the highlight of Beth’s week. But Beth is in over her head before she realises that Tamara might not be all she seems…

This has got to be one of the most head melting books that I’ve had the joy of reading in a while.

Seen from the narrative of Beth, she’s been traumatised ever since her mother left suddenly when she was 13 years old. When she starts receiving mysterious calls, she decides to attend a therapist. Beth then becomes consumed with Tamara Dywater and the pair of them embark on an illicit affair. Beth becomes obsessed with Tamara and begins to neglect her family causing a rift between her and her teenage daughter, Fern.

This book is an outstanding piece of writing, Joanna has written a thrilling and addictive riddled with paranoia and suspense. As well as a strong story, the characters are so flawed and complicated. Beth has never recovered from her mother’s disappearance and she feels responsible for it. Tamara as her therapist, who’s meant to be there to advise and guide Beth is equally as flawed with compulsive tendencies, blowing hot and cold and leading her on.

This book is such a shocking story. The way Beth allows herself to be treated by Tamara, to be cast aside, dismissed only to be given a few minutes of Tamara’s or to be lead on by empty promises makes for thrilling and juicy reading. Whilst Beth feels that her heart is breaking, she’s oblivious to her daughter drifting away and is only interested in Tamara. Even though, I found the book frustrating with how Beth was treated, I felt such an empathy for her and wanted her to find some genuine happiness and rebuild relationships.

‘The Seduction’ is a cleverly weaved story of flawed characters and complicated relationships about obsession and lust.

You can buy ‘The Seduction’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Out Of Love By Hazel Hayes

Out Of Love‘Out Of Love’ is the debut book by Hazel Hayes.

As a young woman boxes up her ex-boyfriend’s belongings and prepares to see him one last time, she wonders where it all went wrong, and whether it was ever right to begin with. Burdened with a broken heart, she asks herself the age-old question . . . is love really worth it?

On Sunday morning, I curled up on my sofa and started this book and found it impossible to put down. A touching and honest reflection and observation on the breakdown of a relationship and how it all can go tragically wrong.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of the protagonist of the story, who’s never named at the exact moment that her ex boyfriend returns to their house to pick up his stuff. It’s whilst this happens that the story then deals with the aftermath of the relationship as well as as travelling back in time to key moments in the couple’s relationship.

For me, this book really struck a chord. It literally felt like Hazel has delved into my mind and written about my own relationships and insecurities. I connected with the character on such a level that I hasn’t happened to me for a long time with an author. The loved the protagonist in this story, she’s flawed, unsure but embraces all of it with wit and warmth that made for gripping reading. It was atmospheric from the first page and the vivid descriptions of nights out in Dublin literally leapt off the pages at me. I too, have experienced the cattle market that is Coppers and Hazel’s description of it described it perfectly, I only wish I had known about this third hand when I visited.

Beautifully written, the story is observant and reflective piece on the breakdown of a relationship, when the passion and love is replaced by tension and misery and the only option is to let go. ‘Out Of Love’ is a beautiful debut that is On Sunday morning, I curled up on my sofa and started this book and found it impossible to put down. A touching and honest reflection and observation on the breakdown of a relationship and how it all can go tragically wrong.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of the protagonist of the story, who’s never named at the exact moment that her ex boyfriend returns to their house to pick up his stuff. It’s whilst this happens that the story then deals with the aftermath of the relationship as well as as travelling back in time to key moments in the couple’s relationship.

For me, this book really struck a chord. It literally felt like Hazel has delved into my mind and written about my own relationships and insecurities. I connected with the character on such a level that I hasn’t happened to me for a long time with an author. The loved the protagonist in this story, she’s flawed, unsure but embraces all of it with wit and warmth that made for gripping reading. As the story delves into her past, we are confronted with her struggles with abuse and mental health and how she has become the strong woman that she is now. It was atmospheric from the first page and the vivid descriptions of nights out in Dublin literally leapt off the pages at me. I too, have experienced the cattle market that is Coppers and Hazel’s description of it described it perfectly, I only wish I had known about this third hand when I visited.

Beautifully written, the story is observant and reflective piece on the breakdown of a relationship, when the passion and love is replaced by tension and misery and the only option is to let go. ‘Out Of Love’ is a beautiful debut that is witty and warm tale that had me laugh at the Irish charm and cry at the brutal honesty.

You can buy ‘Out Of Love’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.