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The Breakdown by SA Paris – a review

The Breakdown is the second novel by B.A Paris and I was lucky enough to receive a copy from NetGalley.

Cass is a teacher wbreakdownho is looking forward to her six week holiday. On her way home from the school end of term party she takes a shortcut through the woods despite her husband telling her not too. It is here she sees a woman in a car on the side of the road. Assuming  she has broken down and called for help already or that it might be some kind of trap Cass doesn’t stop.  The next morning it is all over the news that the woman has been found murdered. The guilt she feels over not stopping is intensified, when it turns out that Cass actually knew the woman. This is the start of a downward spiral, as she is already concerned that she is suffering from early onset dementia. As the story continues her paranoia and memory loss take over.

This is another novel that divided my opinion. On the one hand it was a very entertaining read. I read it on a train ride and finished it in a day. However I did feel that the story was a little bit predictable and relied very heavily on coincidences. The whole plot hinges on a mobile phone that gets lost which I think would have been better looked after. I also felt that it was obvious from the start the role that a couple of the characters were going to play later in the novel. However there was still a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Cass which is the part that really stood out to me. You almost feel as though you are in the head of Cass and can feel the fear she is living with. I did feel that some of her actions were a bit unbelievable. One example is that she is getting silent phone calls and despite having caller ID she still picks up the phone when it’s ringing displaying number withheld.  The motives for the crime were a bit thin too I thought.

However it was still an enjoyable read and the premise was good.  It’s one of those situations where we all like to think we would have acted differently and stopped for the car. However on a dark stormy night I imagine there are a lot of us whose first thought would have been that it was trap. If you like an unreliable narrator then the Breakdown is definitely worth a read.





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Behind closed tours – Q and A with BA Paris BLOG TOUR

It’s my turn to host the Behind Closed Doors blog tour. This was a great novel I enjoyed last year and so am delighted to welcome author BA Paris to my blog.

Thanks very much for joining me. I really enjoyed your debut novel. What was your inspiration for Behind Closed Doors?

I used to know someone who had a seemingly perfect marriage but there were just a couple of little things that seemed off-kilter, and I began to wonder what life was really like behind their closed doors. It gave me the idea for a story, my imagination took a giant leap and Behind Closed Doors was born. Although I hope that no-one is going through a marriage quite like Grace’s, I believe there are women – and men – who are in a similar sort of situation, though hopefully not quite as desperate, and are unable to tell anyone through shame or fear.

Sadly there are many people in similar situations suffering domestic abuse. Here in Yorkshire there are a number of excellent organisations people can contact for help and advice including www.idas.org.uk

I know you are a teacher as well. What’s a typical working day like for you, juggling both your career as a teacher and as a writer?

On the days that I teach, I don’t usually write, because my days are pretty full. I try to keep two days a week free for writing, but that often doesn’t work out because there are so many other things that have to be done and friends to catch up with; it would be very easy for me to become a hermit! I tend to write in snatches, a few hours here, a few hours there, but I definitely don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. In an ideal world, I’d spend all day, every day writing. I enjoy my job, though, and clients tend to become friends, so it would be hard to let them go. But next year, I hope to have more time to write – there are still a lot of books in me!

It sounds like you are pretty busy. What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

Relaxing with my husband and daughters, having dinner with friends, visiting family and friends in England, eating out, going to the theatre. No sport; I love watching it – especially rugby! – but I hate doing it!

What kinds of books do you read yourself? Do you have any favourite authors?

This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but since I started writing I’ve barely read a book, simply because in my free time, I prefer to write than read. In the past, I’ve enjoyed books by Leon Uris, Douglas Kennedy, Sebastian Faulks and Wilbur Smith. I also love Kate Atkinson and look forward to reading A God in Ruins when I have time!

If you weren’t a writer and teacher – what would be your ideal job?

A few years ago, I met a young woman on a flight back from South Africa and she told me her job was sourcing fruit from South America for one of the big supermarkets. It entailed flying first class (South Africa wasn’t a business trip, which is why she was sitting next to me in economy!)  and she met wonderfully interesting people and I thought it had to be one of the best jobs in the world (those who have read my book may recognise Grace’s job!) If I had my time over again, I would probably choose a career in publishing – it seems an obvious career choice for someone who loves books as much as I do!

Fruit buying certainly sounds a glamorous way to earn a living! What are you working on next?

My second book comes out in September, so I’m putting the finishing touches to that, and working on another book at the same time.

I’ll definitely look forward to reading those. Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my questions today as part of the Behind Closed Doors blog tour, head over to cleopatralovesbooks for the next stop tomorrow.



BA Paris

Amazon buy link:

Author info:

B A Paris is from a Franco/Irish background. She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working as a trader in an international bank before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel




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Behind closed doors by B A Paris – a review

I was sent a copy directly from the publishers of Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris. As well as the excitement of being asked to read any kind of free book, this had the added bonus of being a real paper copy. However despite my clear excitement at the jiffy bag containing the book  arriving in the post, it’s still important that I write an honest review – therefore I’m pleased to say I thought this was excellent.

Jack and Grace seem like the perfect couple. They are clearly devoted to one another as they never leave each other’s side. They have the perfect house, and the perfect lifestyle at least on the outside. Jack works full time as a lawyer specialising in defending the victims of domestic abuse. Grace is sole carer for her sister Millie who has downs syndrome and when she leaves her current school Jack and Grace will have her live with them. To all their friends and colleagues it seems like a perfect domestic household. However, as the title of the book suggests, behind closed doors things are not what they seem.

I read this over the course of a weekend as I really didn’t want to put it down. The story flips between past and present. We start off by seeing Jack and Grace being the hosts to their friends at a dinner party before we flip back to find out how they met. The two time frames eventually merge to the grand finale which has a twist that I didn’t see coming but really appealed to my sense of justice.

I must admit that the story is a little hard to believe at first. How can one person possibly be kept prisoner by another? You think it would never happen to you, you’d be much too clever. However as the story progresses you realise just how manipulative some people can be and just how much fear can control lives.

This was one of those rare books that once I’d finished I had to stop and take a break rather than just pick up another book straight away. The impact of the story almost doesn’t hit you properly until you finish it, put it down and think about it. Having been involved in the local domestic abuse services charity as a volunteer a few years ago I have read a number of novels around the subject, yet this one stands out. Not only are the characters intriguing, the plot is fast moving and the quality of the writing seems really good. The two timelines were exceptionally well done and didn’t have me flicking backwards and forwards to keep it all straight like a lot of them do.

Behind Closed Door’s  is released in 2016 and I suspect it’s going to be one of next year’s best sellers. It definitely lived up to the initial excitement of receiving the jiffy bag.

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