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The House of Closed Doors by [Steen, Jane]
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The House of Closed Doors Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 760 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Aspidistra Press; 1 edition (June 25, 2012)
  • Publication Date: June 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EWNCC4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Yolanda S. Bean VINE VOICE on August 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the Middle West, not too far out of Chicago (though not yet connected by rail), Nell Lillington's story as an unwed, pregnant 17-year-old in the merchant class of society, begins. The narrative voice is very strong here, and consistent throughout. The historical detail woven into the story adds to its realism without ever being oppressive or unnecessary. The writing style and formatting is strong and very well done. The entire novel, from the beginning to the ending acknowledgments feels quite professional and thorough. It does not display any of the grammatical pitfalls and errors that so much of the self-publishing world is riddled with. The murderous plot and villain certainly are horrifyingly grim, but the book is well balanced with plenty of uplifting and positive characters (there are a lot of strong female characters here!). The murder mystery does not dominate the novel, and it really is Nell's coming to independence and her personal journey that is the focus here - she is such a likable character that I am already looking forward to the sequel!
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Even a lie told for a good purpose has a way of perpetuating itself, doesn't it?"

A woman living in the 1870's doesn't have a lot of options for a career, but becoming pregnant and not being married is even worse. This is the situation that Eleanor "Nell" Lillington finds herself in. When she refuses to disclose the father (not wanting to be married), her father sends her to a Poor Farm where she is to give birth to the child and eventually give the child up for adoption. But the discovery of a double murder along with the people she interacts with daily has a great effect on Nell and forces her to do some serious growing up.

NOTE: I received a free version of this from the author, who happens to be a Goodreads friend of mine.

Some of the first books I remember my mother reading to me were the Laura Ingalls Wilder stories. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder; I probably read each book several times by myself, once I "outgrew" my mom reading to me. And I also read many of the books based on the events after Laura's own books (such as the Rose Wilder series).

While I am probably more of a science fiction/fantasy girl, I still enjoy reading a nice historical. And this book, while a bit out of my historical fiction range (I typically like ancient historicals) sounded pretty interesting. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this novel.

First off, I was greatly impressed with the writing. I've heard horror stories of self-published authors' works, how they are barely or sloppily edited, with grammar and spelling mistakes galore. Not so here. I think I found only two formatting issues (EDIT: apparently, these are Kindle issues, not formatting issues), and I saw absolutely no glaring grammar and spelling mistakes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading The House of Closed Doors and really enjoyed it. The characters and plot draw you in and leaves you wanting more. I hope a sequel is in the works to continue the story of Nell. Sarah, Tess, and Martin.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Nell Lillington's got a big problem - her mother and stepfather have just discovered she's pregnant and she's not willing to name the father and enter into a marriage she doesn't want. Nell's stepfather is active in politics and the last thing he needs is a scandal, so he packs her off to a poor farm out in the country for her confinement. Nell settles in well at her new *home* and makes some interesting new friends (loved Tess!), but there's soon a bit of a mystery to be solved when the older wing is opened and a pair of bodies is found in one of the cells. Were they locked in, or did they lock themselves in? How did they get into a section of the home that was securely locked? And just who would want to *do in* an unwed mother and her young child? Hmmmm?

"The door slammed shut. I heard the spring bolt shoot into place with a hard thud. I leaped to my feet and screamed like I had never screamed in my entire life."

That's about all I want to tell, going further would spoil the story. I liked this a lot, it was a quick easy read that kept me guessing; and there are more twists and turns after the evil baddie is revealed (my heart just about dropped when he did THAT). The 1870s Midwest setting was a refreshing change, and along with a look at life on a poor farm (it's like its own mini-society), and the author also worked the Great Chicago Fire into the story. I know I'm going to say this clumsily, but a huge thumbs up to the character of Tess, who suffered from Down's Syndrome. It so refreshing to have a character with a handicap worked into the story and to watch the strong bond develop between Nell and Tess. Other big pluses were no formatting errors, nor even a typo to be found (if there were, I missed them), so thank you Ms.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The writing was great, although I am no authority on how to write a novel. Most of the sections of this story were very engaging, and pulled me back often. The reason I have decided to give it 3 stars instead of 5 is because the ending really let me down, and I was left wishing I hadn't spent time reading it. Also, it did drag in some places, and I skimmed over them.

I thought it was written true to the times the story took place, but when the pregnant young lady began to show, she called it a "bump." I am very sure it was never called that at that time, or any time up until the last 10 years or so. I was pregnant in the 1960's, and in 1979, (3 times in all) and to have ever referred to my condition after I began to show, a "bump" would have been the most disrespectful word I could use. It is a very new term, and I am sure during the historical times it would have been even more distasteful.

I would still have given it 5 stars though, because it was a great story; just a story with a careless and disappointing end.
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