The book The House of Closed Doors, by Jane Steen, tells the story of Nell Lillington and her quest for independence. Nell is only 17 years old and li..Show More »ves with her mother and stepfather in a small town near Chicago circa 1870. Nelly’s experience taught her the lack of autonomy a married woman suffers and her skill with the needle gives her the idea of a plan of escape: staying single and independent – which an unexpected pregnancy threatens. This is the outset of a deeply interesting story of personal growth and of the pursuit of one’s own female identity, particularly at a time when women hardly had any space for themselves. Nell’s opposition to marriage is a choice, a desire to be able to choose her own ways and not to be in bondage, and this makes her very relatable. But, at the same time, she is very young, innocent and protected from the world, so she will make mistakes, and she will discover that marriage is not the only kind of bondage she has to face in her search for independence. It is the story of a very naïve person starting to build her character, choosing links that are important to her and trying to get rid of those that are imposed, with all the difficulties the time and the environment imposed on her. When I first read the summary of The House of Closed Doors, some time back, I got the very wrong idea that story would be a sort of gothic tale about the terrors visited on a pregnant girl took away in a hospice and her struggle to survive. Nothing like that. When I saw that Nell's story would be told in a trilogy I revised my initial idea (learning how the story would somehow progress) and decided to listen to the book as a historical fiction with some mystery, which is much closer to the truth. Even the mystery, in my opinion, takes second place in relation to Nell’s personal story and the historical reconstruction of the time, which is quite nice. In the end, I was very pleased to listen this book and I am anxious to know how it will continue, since the characters’ stories are indeed captivating.
I was given a copy of the audio book in exchange for an honest review and I would recommend it to everyone who likes historical fiction. Jane Steen’s prose is really good and the narration is outstanding with an excellent range of voice and tone, improving the listener experience.
Eternal Deception, by Jane Steen, is the second book of The House of Closed Doors series. In this book, we continue with Nell’s journey in search of i..Show More »ndependence and a place for herself and her family in the world. By the end of the first book, she was a very young unwedded mother with a friend heading for the Kansas frontier to work as a seamstress for a Seminary. Nell is a great character; she is stubborn, patient and determined to follow her dreams. And she is still learning and growing, making mistakes along the way and falling into traps. The book is very detailed in terms of a historical description of the place and the period, showing the beauty, difficulties and hardships of the frontier for all its inhabitants. Nell is isolated in the Eternal Life Seminary, with a tiny growing town an hour away, and her friend Catherine Lombardi and her family on a mission a day away. The hardness of circumstances is also reflected in the people who surround Nell, depicting a money- and status-driven society and revealing to Nell the difficulties of starting again, of being accepted in the identity she has chosen and is creating for herself, and of leaving behind the mistakes she committed (and this is not just a problem of that period). Her long awaited independence is constantly threatened not only because she must conform – to a certain extent – to society, but also because she is now responsible for Tess and Sarah, and that responsibility means that her choices will affect them both (including the consequences of her past choices). It is quite interesting to follow Nell’s struggle for balancing happiness and security for all of her chosen family, and how she matures along the way. The book brings a great period reconstruction, showing the rapid development of border towns while (from afar) we heard about the Chicago reconstruction after the great fire, but at the same time it brings a relatable and compelling story of personal growth. Jane Steen is an excellent storyteller, her prose is very elegant, her characters are colorful and entertaining and I can’t wait to see what comes next for them all.
I was given a copy of the audio book in exchange of an honest review and I would recommend it to everyone, but particularly to fans of historical novels. The narration is outstanding with an excellent range of voice and tone, improving the listener experience. (And since I had previously bought the ebook, so anxious I was to keep reading about Nell, I can tell).
The 3rd book in the trilogy, I listened to the first book, but somehow missed book 2. This being said..Show More » the story jumped ahead to Chicago with Nell trying to make a life for herself and her daughter and dear friend. There is a murder, suspense, and romance on the journey with plenty of twists and turns. I need to go back and listen to book 2.
The narration was well done.The characters were well portrayed. Elizabeth Klett gives a wonderful performance.
"I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator."