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Behind Closed Doors

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  198 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
At 18, smalltown Vermonter Valerie O'Connor marries gorgeous, macho airplane mechanic Jack Marsh and moves with him to Seattle, then California, where she pursues her dream of raising a large family and he pursues other women. As disappointment turns to anger and need to rage, Jack turns to drink. Valerie bears the brunt of his outbursts—though her children do not escape u ...more
Paperback, 543 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 2004)
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October Snow by Jenna BrooksThe Carer by Scott  NelsonFalse Security by Angie MartinFifty Shades of Grey by E.L. JamesShelter Mountain by Robyn Carr
Domestic Violence in Fiction
11th out of 56 books — 97 voters
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggOctober Snow by Jenna BrooksAn Enchanting Time by Virginia AirdBlack and Blue by Anna QuindlenThe Captain's Daughter by Leah Fleming
Abusive husbands in fiction
16th out of 17 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 480)
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Dec 27, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
It took a while to get into this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
While others have complained about character development, I think it was written this way to show the abuse and how it can can shape and form the lives of the whole family. The choices and the paths each of the kids took and how their lives ended up. It wasn't a chick lit fluffy story that gets all wrapped up in a bow. Nor was it an emotional journey detailing and resolving every little thing that happened in Valarie's life.
I do
May 01, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't so sure about reading this book but it turned out really well. It was very interesting, especially the way it explored each characters reaction to the events in the book.
Bev Taylor
Apr 22, 2015 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it
where secrets are too terrible to reveal

valerie has led a sheltered life but then meets someone who she thinks is the man of her dreams

h/e she soon finds out that all is not perfect - not to mention the sex! h/e she puts up with this for the sake of getting pregnant

after 5 children she loses her uterus so that is it. she throws herself into motherhood but her husband has a fear of her leaving her. this because his mother died while giving birth to him

her children go their separate ways - som
Amanda Trost
Nov 27, 2007 Amanda Trost rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most realistic novels about domestic abuse I have ever read. The end is amazing.
Cynthia Barko
Jul 11, 2011 Cynthia Barko rated it really liked it
A really good read about a women, abuse, and her family over three generations.
Oct 27, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Paperback Swap
Raised in a large, loving, closely-knit Irish Catholic family living in Vermont, Valerie O'Connor is a sheltered and innocent young woman who comes of age during the 1950s. At the age of eighteen, Valerie meets and falls desperately in love with twenty-five-year-old Jack Marsh - a handsome, dashing Korean War veteran and a member of the Air Force. Valerie has been raised with the belief that a wife is subservient to her husband and a mother must keep her family together no matter what. However, ...more
Oct 24, 2010 Michelle rated it it was ok
This was my first time reading a book by Susan R. Sloan, and will probably be my last.

My favorite part of reading is the character development, where the character becomes someone you care about so you feel drawn back to the book to see whats going to happen, but 'Behind Closed Doors' didn't do that for me. Yes, I was interested in seeing where everyone's lives went but I could have easily just put the book down, and not have returned.

In their 60+ years of marriage Valerie and Jack had five chi
Jun 05, 2009 Kelly rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2009, didnt-finish
I'm having a hard time enjoying this one. The characters are underdeveloped and I feel no connection to them whatsoever. Valerie is unbelievably, annoyingly naive. She's had 7 pregnancies in 6 years (resulting in 5 children and 2 miscarriages), despite the fact that her husband uses condoms b/c he doesn't want to have children. Lol. The storyline just feels very one-dimensional with no depth of emotion to speak of. It's all just words on a page to me about a woman I would like to strangle myself ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Megan rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, family
A touching and terrifying look into the seldom told tales of abusive homes. A story about life, love and a family that slowly falls apart. Chilling and yet inspiring all at once, a really great book.
Jul 06, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I took it on vacation and read it poolside in a day. The characters were interesting and the plot held my interest. Definitely recommended for a quick read.
Aug 17, 2015 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! The story grabbed me from the start and kept me interested throughout. Liked how the story was told from different years. Fast read. LOVED the last sentence!
Bridget Torkington
Jan 20, 2015 Bridget Torkington rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, thought provoking about how domestic abuse affects a whole family and the decisions they make
Feb 21, 2015 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very easy reading, enjoyed the tale but don't think the seed of doubt at the end of the story was necessary
Chris Kelly
Jul 29, 2015 Chris Kelly rated it really liked it
Topical with so much discussion on domestic violence.
Janet Richards
Nov 15, 2013 Janet Richards rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Lack of character development strikes again. Several sudden and mysterious transformations that were inadequately explained made the story loose it's appeal. I think it tried to tell too much over too much time. A smaller time period and tighter focused would have helped me not feel like "what just happened" as the story lurched foreward. I've read sagas and stories over long time periods before that didn't do this - it just wasn't handled well in this case, seemed rushed.
Raine could you be any more cheap... i am starting to understand what TSTL heroine is... goodness i hate girls that are just to easy ... this the reason i hate romantic suspense .... the girls have no self respect.... the man called her a slut or was it whore ... this story is was than a cheap xrated video ... what a disgusting book .. i would never read any think by this woman again with her disrespect for me and her female lead that lack any sense of dignity ... sicking
Apr 10, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it
This was an exciting novel... I don't know if its just me and my naïveté but I don't understand why someone would stay in an abusive relationship, despite religious beliefs- perhaps it was the way in the 50s, but it's not what I'd do now, or hope would be what my friends would do. I wanted to know more about what happened to her children as they left home. Interesting to see through the generations of the one family and how lives played out.
Oct 31, 2010 Paula rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed reading this book, I thought it was just ok with a lot of unfinished threads, ie, if a woman who wanted 10 kids (whose husband wanted none?!) how come we never read another word about her hysterectomy? Surely in a woman like her, this would have caused her to go into a downward spiral much earlier. Also, children left her and it was kind of never mentioned again? Lots of undeveloped/unfinished threads.
Oct 14, 2008 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel.
Recommended to Dawn by: My friend Barb
This was an amazing book! I could not put it down. There are not very many books that are over 500 pages that I have read as quickly as this one. The story grabbed me from the very first page and left me stunned by the very last sentence of the book. This book is an "edge of your seat" thriller that will leave you stunned.
Sep 24, 2011 Jay rated it it was amazing
Such a heart-touching story. I will strongly recommend to other readers, although I found myself literally throwing the book to the floor after Jack accidently let the baby-girl fall to her death all because he was upset that his jump-off had given him walking papers.
Amanda Mathis
May 12, 2016 Amanda Mathis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This story will follow you for years to come. Written in such vivid detail that you can relate with the characters on so many levels, you won't want to put it down - if fact, I couldn't...literally stayed up all night to finish it. Great book.
Oct 13, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it
I was not disappointed. Susan Sloan kept my interest through every chapter. She presented a very real picture of spousal abuse and how it effects everyone in a family.
Teala Garden
Sep 12, 2013 Teala Garden marked it as to-read
I've read it before and enjoyed it, but I can't read it on the app it's quite annoying.
Aug 08, 2007 Katie rated it really liked it
Definately a page turner, but difficult at times due to nature and content of story line.
Aug 29, 2009 Horsefeathersranch added it
Recommended to Horsefeathersranch by: Joanne
I have just started this book, but it has my intrest so far.
Jul 03, 2007 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is catholic
excellent. Sloan is a very good author.
Oct 16, 2007 Betty rated it really liked it
Great book to read while on vacation.
Jun 30, 2008 Michelle rated it did not like it
very predictable.
Sep 14, 2007 Angela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
A real page turner!!
Gena marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2016
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