It happens behind many closed doors, regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality or economic standing for that matter. Physical, verbal and psychological abuse.
The insidious nature of abuse goes hand in hand with secrecy and lies. One partner is adept at pretending to be something they are not and the other partner is often too scared to speak up.
Not speaking up ends up being the Achilles Heel of the abused, because when they do finally speak out they are often not believed.
They are faced with questions like: Why didn’t you tell anyone?, Why didn’t you leave? and Why would you let someone treat you that way? A lot of fingers point in the direction of the abused, as opposed to the abuser.
Grace keeps up the pretence for her own safety and for her sister Millie. Jack keeps Grace tethered like horse or a dancing bear, the only respite being an evening of entertainment with guests now and again. He knows exactly who to use as leverage, when it comes to getting Grace to do what he wants.
During the conversations the reader or I often wondered why the guests, especially the women, didn’t find anything odd or disturbing. I know I would find that type of close and claustrophobic relationship worrying.
Kudos to the author for the last two pages, it was an excellent way to end the story. Paris combines the reality of hidden abuse with a psychological thriller, and the end result is quite a good read.