Book Review: The House of Closed Doors by Jane Steen

Posted June 16, 2021 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Review / 0 Comments

Book Review: The House of Closed Doors by Jane SteenThe House of Closed Doors by Jane Steen
Narrator: Elizabeth Klett
Series: The House of Closed Doors #1
Published by Self-published on 06-02-21
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Overal Rating: four-half-stars

Heedless. Stubborn. Disgraced.

Small-town Illinois, 1870: "My stepfather was not particularly fond of me to begin with, and now that he'd found out about the baby, he was foaming at the mouth."

Desperate to avoid marriage, Nell Lillington refuses to divulge the name of her child's father and accepts her stepfather's decision that the baby be born at a Poor Farm and discreetly adopted.

Until an unused padded cell is opened, and two small bodies fall out.

Nell is the only resident of the Poor Farm who is convinced the unwed mother and her baby were murdered, and rethinks her decision to abandon her own child to fate. But even if she manages to escape the Poor Farm with her baby, she may have no safe place to run to.

In 1870 Illinois, young Nell Lillington leads a comfortable and privileged life within a well-off family. Her father died when she was still a child but her stepfather is an important politician. Nell’s easy life will be disturbed by one of her cousins getting her pregnant. She is then is sent by her stepfather to a poor house where she can live until her baby is delivered and adopted. But Nell finds life at the farm is much more pleasant than she expected at first, and she makes new friends and finds her purpose in life. Things are good until the day two bodies are found, and Nell is positive there was foul play involved. She won’t rest until she finds the truth and the culprit behind these two deaths.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book set in the Victorian era, in a small town with lots of prejudices and easy life for women, whenever they behaved as expected by society. Nell is not a regular woman and it’s what I like about her. She’s quite naive at the beginning of the story, something to be expected from a young lady from a good family, but she soon demonstrates to be strong and decided. She chooses to do the right thing even if it means a hard time for her. I especially enjoyed the mystery and how Nell, with adorable Tess’ help, was set to resolve it. Tess was presented as a simple woman, a half-wit, but she was sweet and caring, and much more perceptive than anyone gave her credit for. I liked how Tess and Martin were Nell’s allies in such atypical ways for the era.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Nell’s and Martin’s relationship evolves in future books.

Things get a bit predictable at some point, and the ending strays a bit out of the mystery theme, which was the part that I enjoyed the most. I’m definitely looking forward to knowing what’s next for Nell and her friends in future books.

The book is narrated by the wonderful Elizabeth Klett. I listened to several books narrated by Klett and she is undoubtedly one of my favorite narrators. Her narration is steady, smooth, and very pleasant to the ear. Klett always does an incredible job at voicing the different characters and her male characters’ voices are extraordinarily well done. The character interpretations were also expressive and subtle when necessary. Elizabeth Klett is always a pleasure to listen to.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Story (Plot)
Overall: four-half-stars