‘What if everything in your life was a lie?’
Behind A Closed Door is the second novel from Irish Writer Adele O’ Neill. Due for release on the 1st March 2018 with Aria Fiction, it is described as ‘an emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. Perfect for the fans of Louise Jenson.’
I have read brothers & sisters, a novel about family and some very hidden secrets, a novel which I admit brought a few tears to my eyes.(You can read my full review HERE ).
In Behind A Closed Door Adele O’ Neill is back with some familiar characters, but with a very different offering.
Read on for my thoughts…
DUBLIN – For the past two years Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is herself.
KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?
When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.
Adele O’ Neill doesn’t shy away from societal issues, as readers of brothers & sisters will be well aware of. In Behind A Closed Door Adele tackles, as the name suggests, what goes on behind the closed doors of people’s homes. Many of us are familiar with the ads on television, where a person witnesses or overhears violence in another’s home, but chooses to ignore it. Domestic violence is something that frightens many of us and, often, folk would rather keep their heads buried in the sand than get involved in ‘other people’s business.’
The book opens with Jill Ryan, a thirty-three-year old sitting in a therapist’s office, struggling with providing answers and unveiling the true reason for her presence there. Jill is in survival mode. It’s now 2018 and after two years of keeping a very low profile and harbouring a secret, Jill is afraid to reveal any truths about herself. Within minutes the reader is aware that Jill is the victim of domestic violence. Having escaped the fists of a very physically abusive relationship, Jill is terrified and in pain. Emotionally she is struggling and with recurring nightmares of times past, Jill has a real and very palpable fear that her life remains in great danger.
2016 and the reader journeys to Kilkenny and to Heather Martin. Waking up to another morning of agonising pain, Heather is terrified. ‘Sleep was her only relief these days and waking up brought with it an entire new wave of panic every day.’ Heather Martin symbolizes many women all over the world today. Once a strong working woman with a bright future ahead, Heather fell in love. After a short romance, Heather wed the man she thought would bring her happiness and a loving marriage. Her father was never in doubt that this man was just not good enough for his daughter, but Heather chose to ignore the warning signs and fell head first into a living nightmare.
Meanwhile, Detectives Tony Kelly and Louise Kennedy, who also featured in brothers & sisters, have had a slight shift in their circumstances. Louise Kennedy now lives weekdays in Dublin, after a promotion at work, while Tony Kelly remains back in Kilkenny, now close to retirement. Their relationship has moved on since the first book and in Behind A Closed Door, Adele O’ Neill concentrates a little more on their story, further developing the rapport between them. Kelly and Kennedy are not without their own complications, which, in a way, makes them more humane and brings a sense of reality to their story.
As they begin to uncover information that just doesn’t appear to tally, they start to probe a little deeper in a bid to finally expose a secret that has remained hidden for a number of years.
Behind A Closed Door is an unusual novel, in that it doesn’t hold any great surprises. Due to the nature of the subject in hand, we soon know who the perpetrator is and we know who the victim is. The basic facts of the story-line are, unfortunately, something we are all to aware of from the news and media today.
For me this novel is more about the victim. The fear is tangible. One often reads how a woman, or man, may not come forward because they are just too embarrassed to admit that they have allowed themselves be subjected to such violent attacks. There is a real despair that folk will not believe them, will consider that it is all their own fault. The perpetrator knows how to transfer guilt. They are experts at lying and deceitful behaviour. The victim soon loses contact with friends, relationships with others fizzle out and eventually the victim is very much on their own. For many victims this nightmare is all too real and oft times they just give up, the abuser wins.
Adele O’ Neill writes with a very chatty and easy style, one which may not appeal to all, but does add a very personable touch to the novel. In the acknowledgements section, Adele O’ Neill refers to all the various people who assisted her in writing this novel, including technical assistance from a member of the Irish Police force, which I think adds to the authenticity of the story.
Behind A Closed Door is an emotional story, a story about a battle for survival. It deals with a very difficult subject matter, but is handled really well by Adele O’ Neill. This is a completely different book to brothers & sisters, but yet it has, what I would now call, Adele O’ Neill’s signature all over it.
Purchase Link ~ Behind A Closed Door
About the Author:
Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her home town in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters.
She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.
Behind A Closed Door is her second novel.
Twitter ~ @adelesbooks