Today I’m excited to share my stop on the tour for Behind Closed Doors a contemporary novel by Catherine Alliott.  A big thank you to Sriya Varadharajan at Michael Joseph for a copy of this amazing book.  I hope you all like my review and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour! 🙂

Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: Catherine Alliott
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Contemporary
Book format: Pre-publication proof copy
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Description:  From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.
But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.
As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London – and the stories it hides – for a rural escape to her parents’ farmhouse in the Chilterns.
But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home, especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.
Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she’s been keeping from herself and those she loves.
Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . . .

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesing story which turned out to be a little darker than I had expected.  Lucy Palmer’s life is one that many would be jealous of, but her marriage to her husband isn’t as wonderful as it seems and when something unexpected happens, she takes the opportunity to get away from her old life and start anew, back in the home where she grew up. But life with her ageing parents isn’t as easy as she had hoped, and she soon starts to struggle with leaving her past behind her.

When I first began reading this book I thought it would be a relatively light-hearted contemporary story with a bit of romance thrown in, indeed the beginning introduces us to Lucy’s parents who are bikering and end up being quite funny throughout the story, but this book turned out to be much darker than first impressions with Lucy’s life being not as rosy as we first think. The story of her husband Michael, who turns out to be quite an abusive and manipulative man made this story feel quite an interesting, darker and a more compelling read. There is a lot that happens and I don’t want to go into the details as it will spoil it but I felt that the way this abusive relationship was shown, was done well and made the the story and Lucy’s character feel more relatable in a way as her life was so flawed in a way that I couldn’t have imagined.

As we see her life progress, we are introduced to lots of different characters. I actually enjoyed getting to know Lucy’s parents, their way of growing old disgracefully, always drinking, partying, and the funny things that happened with them, even silly things like the surpise in the ice cream tub, made me laugh out loud on more than one occassion.  There were many light-hearted moments like these and although there was the potential love interest that I had expected when I read the blurb, I was surprised by how unpredictable the overall story was, I never knew what was going to happen and I love how this story kept me glued to the pages, wanting to keep reading to find out what would happen to Lucy and everyone else.

Throughout the story, Lucy’s past both distant and recent affect what she does and I like what happened overall with this story. The dark things that we learn about her life, through memories and conversations, affect her but at the same time she’s determined not to let them hold her back and I just loved how this story resolved itself in the end with everything going the way I had hoped it would, with all the characters including the surpirse towards the end of a neighbour.

The story is told in the first person perspective, with Lucy narrating, but I did enjoy how this book felt different to many others I’ve read, where Lucy felt as if she was speaking to us as if talking to a friend.  The book does contain some dark decriptions including a death that is not gory but the way it occured might be difficult for some to read, as well as some relationship abuse and swearing including some very strong language, although this wasn’t very frequent.

Overall I really enjoyed the way this book went and the ending was one that was satisfying. In fact what happens at the end is exactly what I had been hoping for which made it all the more satisfying for me to read!  Even though this book has some darker material than what I had expected when looking at the cover and description, it is an enjoyable read, and what happens is tackled well with a positive overall story and message which I loved. And although there were a few times where I did find the book a little slow, it was overall a good pace and one I did enjoy reading.  My only real disappointment was the fact that the black cat on the front cover doesn’t really make much of an appearance in the book, but that’s just a minor niggle, lol. 😉 😀

What do you think of this book?  Do you like contemporary novels?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂