Desert Isle Keeper
Behind Closed Doors
I thoroughly enjoyed this book to the point where I could not put it down to attend to such routine things like eating. I was riveted from the first page to the last. This second book in Quinn’s Ivory Nation trilogy should go on everyone’s must buy list.
Botanist Laura Clark and her history professor husband, Harry Kendall, seem to have a happy marriage. Laura defied her disapproving parents and married Harry, who is African American, and the two deal with her parents’ insincere treatment of him with much aplomb, rarely letting it impact their love for each other or interfere with their marriage. Even their inability to have children does not stand in their goal of a happy life. They decide to use a sperm bank as a means for Laura to get pregnant.
As Laura and Harry are set to begin the next stage of their lives and are hoping that she is finally pregnant, their world is turned upside down. Two men break into their home at night while they are asleep and brutally beat Harry and rape Laura. The power of this scene was undeniable, and very hard to read. The author’s description of the terror and pain inflicted on Laura and Harry is difficult to get through, yet never felt gratuitous. Instead it was a potent rendering of the ever-present, and consistent reality of the world in which we live.
It is a testament to Laura’s strength that she tries to move on from this, tries to put it behind her. Despite her best efforts, though, she is traumatized, and feels herself losing control of her life, and her marriage. Harry, on the other hand, is convinced this was a racially motivated incident, and sets about trying to solve the crime. Unfortunately, Harry’s preoccupation with finding the perpetrators only adds to Laura’s pain. She needs him, but physically and mentally he cannot be there for her. Laura moves in with her parents, to seek refuge and hopefully find a way back to herself, and back to her marriage. When she discovers she is pregnant, she understandably fears that the baby is not Harry’s. Harry further retreats into his own world, ruled by his need to seek and impose justice. This event has changed them both, maybe forever.
The author’s exploration of how Laura and Harry deal with the attack against them is powerfully written. There is not one aspect of their physical, emotional, and mental transformation, and redemption that remains unexplored. When Harry does confirm that the attack is tied to a white supremacist organization – the Ivory – Nation and its leader, Tommy Donahue, he becomes more dogged and takes the reader right along with him to the final compelling resolution. Harry’s pursuit of answers and his seeking out justice is intensely riveting. Quinn, in this, the second of three books, shows a different side of the racist Tommy Donahue, who evaded justice in In Plain Sight. The fact that the side we see of Donahue in this book managed to evoke sympathy and empathy in me is just another testament to how well this book is written.
Behind Closed Doors is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I highly recommend it, and confidently place it on the Desert Isle Keeper list. In Plain Sight is on my nightstand, and I am looking forward to getting lost in Ms. Quinn’s world again.