Reviews

Behind These Doors, by Jude Lucens

craftyhilary's review

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emotional hopeful tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

What an intense and tender novel. A thoughtful exploration of the many ways we can love others, the challenges of societal expectations and rules, and the difficulties of differences in social class. 

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marsali's review

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emotional hopeful slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

femmenova's review

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A

4.0

kaa's review

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4.0

This story is a lovely, slow reflection on interpersonal relationships and power. (However, see my content note for ace readers at the end of the review.)

There were a lot of things I really liked in this book: engrossing writing, thoughtful interrogation of power dynamics, interesting political arguments through a historical lens, examination of intersections between class and gender oppression, polyam relationships with lots of communication, lots of queer characters (including several who were bi and one who was pretty clearly ace-spec) with mostly realistic discussion of the costs and dangers of being queer in that era.

There were also a few things I didn't like, which took my rating from 5 stars down to 4 in the last 20% of the book: the ending felt too easy and anticlimatic, with most of the plot threads being conveniently resolved all at the same time, and the writing was occasionally too flowery, which eventually got a bit exhausting to read.

I do have one note of caution for ace-spec readers (the author is demi, so I won't comment further on this aspect of the plot) - since it isn't mentioned at all in the blurb, ace readers may want to know that one major plot thread late in the book centers around internalized acemisia, and an allosexual character has to convince the ace-spec character that being ace doesn't mean he's broken or unworthy of love.

jce's review

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emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

This was exceptionally good in a very quiet, gentle way. I absolutely adored it. The characters were complex and flawed and interesting, the relationships were complicated and really beautifully explored, and the writing was lovely. This is one of the few romances I've read that acknowledges that romantic love can come in a lot of forms, and that "true love" doesn't always equal monogamy. But relationships are difficult, and multiple relationships are bound to be even more difficult to navigate and this book never shies away from that. I can see how some people could find the ending a bit more HFN than HEA, but I actually loved it. It felt very real and fitting for these characters and their circumstances. And HEA doesn't always have to mean two people in love getting married. There are so many different happy endings. I just found this completely wonderful and enjoyed it so very much.

literaturenut's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

ueberdemnebelmeer's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.5

 Picked this up looking for some light reading (because that's all I seem to be able to focus on nowadays) and I did not expect to be this engrossed to the point of almost crying when things got rocky. I am just weak for characters who deeply care for each other.
The historical aspects — the politics and society of the Edwardian era (and among them the battle for women's suffrage) — are patently well-researched, as well as the intersection of class, gender and sexuality in such a background; there's also a character on the ace spectrum! (although, of course, this specific terminology isn't available to them in such a setting.)
What I particularly enjoyed about this story is how it explores the amount of honest communication & negotiations of consent and power a polyamorous relationship requires to realistically work.
Even though, I must add, the sex scenes err a tad too much on the side of flowery at times and some of them left me wondering about the logistics. 

annakr5's review

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emotional funny medium-paced

5.0

helen's review

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5.0

Beautifully written polyamorous romance set in Edwardian London with rich historical detail, interesting side characters, and thoughtful social commentary, particularly regarding class.
The set-up was delicious and had me hooked from chapter 1: Aubrey Fanshawe, the son of an Earl, is in an established triad with a married couple, Lord and Lady Hernedale. Then Aubrey falls for Lucien Saxby, a gay working-class journalist. Aubrey and Lucien are the two POV characters.

There are minor side plots involving the suffragette movement and an interfering brother, but the majority of the word count is dedicated to letting the relationships and romance breathe and develop. I really appreciated how complex and knotty everything was, and how the MCs treated each other with respect, care and kindness. It was achingly romantic and I was on tenterhooks to find out what the HEA would look like.

schenior's review

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3.0

Wanted to like it more than I actually liked it.