The House of Closed Doors

Written by Jane Steen
Review by Christoph Fischer

The House of Closed Doors is a gripping story set in a small Midwestern town in the 1870s. The main character, Eleanor (Nell), is sent to a poor house for not revealing the identity of the father of her unborn child. From the first moment I loved the voice of Nell. A woman who refuses to tie her life to a man she does not love, accepting the fate that her stepfather decides following her refusal. She is a character with bite, refreshing directness and honesty and brings some impressive and enjoyable dialogue to the story.

The historical detail of the poor house and the (sexual and real) politics of the times are well portrayed and make for some very informative and entertaining passages.

The plot also revolves around a murder at the poor house, which Nell takes an interest in. The investigation brings unexpected connections and revelations. The novel is well written and has a lot going on. With its great characters, the solid plot, and the fascinating setting it also has a lot going for it. Very enjoyable.