BOOK CLUB: The Boy At The Door

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Author: Alex Dahl
ISBN: 9781786699244
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: June 26 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Boy At The Door is a taut psychological thriller by debut author Alex Dahl.


Early reviews have this one pegged as quite the captivating page-turner, I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it, and some of our readers are already reading it.

Protagonist Cecilia Wilborg seems to have it all, the perfect life; handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters and a large house in Sandefjord.

The perfect life may just be the perfect construct because the arrival of the small, friendless eight-year old Tobias threatens to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down around her.

Cecilia is trying hard to fit in but one mistake has far reaching repercussions.

The release I received with the book has a short note from the author stating that she was actually living in Sandefjord with her two children when she wrote The Boy At The Door. This is a lovely, idyllic, peaceful little town that Dahl’s novelist’s mind immediately began imagining darkness beneath the perfect surface.

Thanks to Harper Collins 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Boy at the Door so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I can’t wait to read what they thought.

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Boy At The Door

  1. The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl and published by @HarperCollinsAustralia is a dark, disturbing story with the bleak and melancholy tones often associated with Scandinavian dramas. In many ways it is reminiscent of Stieg Larsson’s books, in the way it touches on the seedy side of life, and the deception and dark secrets that lie beneath the surface.

    From the beginning there is a sharp contrast between the picture postcard beauty of the idyllic town of Sandefjord with it’s beautiful pampered people, like Cecilia Wilborg, living seemingly perfect but bland lives in their pristine ‘palaces’, and the harsh, shadowy underworld that exists alongside it, filled with dangerous undesirable people.

    When Tobias an innocent little boy is somehow ‘forgotten’ after a swimming lesson and taken in by Cecilia, these two realities collide and several disturbing moral and social dilemmas are revealed…

    This is not a book for the faint hearted or easily offended. It is very raw and explicit, but it is a well told psychological drama, revealing as it does, the societal pressures that ‘force’ people to do the unthinkable… quite heartbreaking.

  2. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for allowing me to review the debut novel ‘The Boy at the Door’ by Alex Dahl.

    Cecilia Wilborg, who seemingly has the perfect life, a handsome husband, two beautiful girls, a magnificent house in the upmarket town of Sandefjord, all until she has to take an abandoned 8 year old named Tobias, home from the swimming pool one night, the night that her life truly changes forever and the start of her spiralling out of control trying to protect the life she has made for herself.

    After attempting to drop Tobias at his home after swimming lessons and finding it abandoned, Cecilia decides to take him home for the night. The next day authorities become involved and Tobias ends up staying with the Wilborg family until they can locate his parents. Many stories and truths unravel throughout until the truth comes out about who his parents really are and what his whereabouts over the past 8 years have been.

    This book had many layers to uncover and many characters that all link back to this one sad and lonely little boy, it is a dark and captivating story with some really sad parts to it as well. I was drawn in from the get go and couldn’t wait to find out what was coming next. It was a little predictable near the end but still had enough of a story to keep you intrigued.

    I was so excited to review this book, there was just something about it I knew I would like. I also love the cover design.

  3. This book has every twist & turn included! And just when you think you can predict the ending, it flips on it’s head again. It is raw & some story lines are confronting. Interesting read!

  4. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review ‘The Boy at the Door’ by Alex Dahl.
    Cecilia Wilberg married to Johan with two small daughters, Hermine and Nicoline is living the seemingly perfect life in Sandefjord in a rather well to do area.
    Johan has to travel for his work and Cecilia is living a busy and stressful life.
    Her life is suddenly turned upside down when a rather disturbed little boy Tobias becomes part of the family. Abandoned at the swimming pool (where Hermine has been having lessons) she is forced to take him home. As there is no-one at his home he becomes part of Cecilia’s family as his parents can’t be traced.
    She has had health issues in the past suffering post natal depression after the birth of her eldest daughter.
    It is difficult to review without divulging too much.
    Very well written and just so exciting I can’t begin to relate just how good it was.
    When you say you can’t put a book down because you want to know what happens next, this is no exception.

    I cannot speak too highly of ‘The Boy at the Door’ and Alex Dahl is going to be an author I will be following as I’m sure she’ll be writing another excellent novel, this being her first.
    Read it if you enjoy a good mystery/thriller, you won’t be disappointed!

  5. Firstly I do have to mention the cover of this book – it really is a haunting picture that stays with you even whilst reading the storyline.

    This book follows the story of Cecilia Wilborg a perfect wife to the very busy Johan, the perfect mother to two beautiful daughters, lives in a gorgeous expensive house in the posh but picturesque suburb of Sandefjord and has high society friends.

    Cecilia’s life is hectic as with Johan away a lot on business she has to be mum and dad to her two daughters. After taking them to swimming lessons and in a hurry to leave, the receptionist at the pool asks if she could drop a little boy home who seems to have been forgotten by his own mother.

    Who is Tobias? How could any mother forget to pick up their own child after dropping him there?

    Cecilia takes the quiet, little boy to his home but on seeing no one home and Tobias starts crying, she decides to take him home to her place for just the night and then ring the Police.

    I was captivated with the storyline of Cecilia’s life and the life of Tobias. It was only when the story wafted on about some other characters that I did get lost in the book but I was eager to get back to reading about Cecilia and her life.

    As you continue reading, you think you are on the right path of what it will lead too and predict the ending but are we jumping to conclusions. Keep reading, my mind says.

    The storyline takes to you to dark places of drugs, kidnapping, secrets, lies, twists and turns and of course sadness.

    I really enjoyed towards the end and it really becomes a huge page turner as you want to find out what happens. Everything then fell into place for me when it came to reading the letter and I was able to piece some of the chapters earlier on where I got a bit confused in reading.

    All in all a good mystery thriller read.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace & Harper Collins Australia. I really enjoyed this book.

  6. The Boy at the Door By Alex Dahl is a great read and had me hooked right from the start!

    The story follows Cecilia who is a lady who was it all or so it seems. She has the perfect husband, family, job and house. However Cecilia has a dark past. Cecilia is forced one day after her daughters swimming lesson to take home a boy who has not been collect by his parents. This is where her world starts to unravel and where we begin to learn more about Cecilia.

    This is a dark book and does cover some dark topics such as domestic violence and drug addiction at at times can be a bit confronting.

    It is really hard to talk too much about the book without giving too much away but it is a great read! You will be hooked right from the start and even the end leaves you hanging still. I can highly recommend this book.

    Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review ‘The Boy at the Door’ by Alex Dahl.

  7. I just finished the novel “the boy at the door”
    And wow what a book!

    When I first started reading it I thought I wouldn’t be interested because it was European.
    But it wasn’t hard to follow at all.
    By the second chapter I was hooked.

    There were so many twist and turns in the book.

    It was about Cecelia, a mother who had it all, wealthy 2 girls, expensive house a doting loving husband who gives her everything. Except she is depressed and empty. then she finds she is fostering a little boy short term, Tobias. It turns her world upside down completely and rocks everything.

    Each chapter was written either from Cecelia, or from Tobias or you are reading the chapters from a journal that a drug addicted Annie.

    I thought I knew the answers whilst reading this book, but it kept twisting and turning, and keeping you in suspense.

    I can’t write too much about the book or it gives the whole storyline away. And you will just need to read it to the end.

    I very much loved this book, and it is something I would never pick up on the shelves to read.
    So glad I got to read this.

    Well Done Alex Dahl, you are one talented author to come up with this twisting, head spinning plot!

  8. A great and unusual storyline, just when you think you know what is going to happen, the story turns another way and the ending leaves us all guessing.
    Definitely a page turner, I’d recommend this book for a great read.

  9. Cecilia has it all, a great husband, 2 girls and the life every woman wishes for but Cecilia harbours a secret that could put it all on the line.

    One evening after swimming practice a boy is left alone in the reception area, no parents or guardian has arrived to take the boy home. The receptionist asks Cecilia if she would mine dropping the boy home, a slight hesitation but Cecilia takes the boy. The address where the boy says he lives in abandoned. The boy seems to be nobody from nowhere but is he?

    Tobias is 8 years old and has no idea why his been left with Anni , just that his favourite Moffa is gone and he has no choice. Tobias has no idea but his life is all about to change when a family takes him in for the night.

    The Boy at the Door is haunting and beautiful, the bond that forever bonds a mother and child is obvious throughout this story . A must read.

  10. The Boy at the Door
    What a captivating thriller!
    This book is full of twists and turns, deception, warped and cruel drug affected characters with innocent unfortunate people at their mercy. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and found it to be unpredictable and a real page turner. I will be looking out for future reads by Alex Dahl.
    Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this book.

  11. The Boy at the Door By Alex Dahl …. What a book and read! It has been a while since I have read a book that keeps me up reading all night!

    The storyline is nothing that is typical and it reaches the farthest deepest corners of some very dark characters. A sad story about a little boy it seems does not belong anywhere or to anyone.

    Tobias, comes into Cecilia’s seemingly beautiful perfect life with her perfect family, house and life. It seems that an innocent split second Tobias has nowhere to go and then is living with the perfect family. This perfect family is not what it seems with a deep dark secret lying just below the surface of Cecilia’s life.

    The story does flash back to earlier years that helps piece the story of little Tobias and how the characters all fit together and describes how the stress of keeping secrets has consequences.

    The ending was written well leading the reader right to the end of the story and eagerly turning pages. I great read worth the late nights.

    Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Australia for the chance to review this book.

  12. Just when you think you have it all worked out… it all changes

    I definitely got caught up in the story even if at times I was thinking it was veering into unrealistic territory. There’s a lot going on but it somehow all seemed to work and it ended up being an entertaining read.

    So many questions…why was he abandoned, why was his home abandoned, whey did Cecilia’s hubby get immediately drawn to him

    It w=could have been about 50 pages left and still had the same result
    4 /5 stars

  13. This is a great book. A real page turner. Every time I thought I had it worked out there was an about turn. A really interesting premise, incredibly moving and a challenge to my preconceptions of people

  14. After moving interstate and diverting my mail. I have finally received, read and had the time to write a review.

    I began reading this book with the perception that events would unfold very differently than they did as the story line unfolded and the story development depended into a thoroughly twisty and mind-boggling series of events.

    The min character Cecilia is the perfect wife and mother. They have an expensive home and lifestyle and she has worked very hard to ensure that they status in society is high and they remain the envy of all their friends.

    Things change when a small boy is thrust into Cecilia’s life after her girls swimming lessons. Things begin the quickly change and morph into a twisted and very bazaar chain of events and these events begin to pile up and completely envelope the family in a web of lies, deceit and unfortunate previous events.

    I found the story to be overwhelming at times. The story line snapped between past and present events which were at times very difficult to believe and I found that my sceptical brain was not enjoying the fictional position of the story as much as I would have liked.

    The web of lies and the change to the family dynamic when Tobias is added into the mix begins a very compelling and captivation storyline which draws on Cecilia’s past and the future she has built on such lies, drugs, homelessness and murder.

    Though the story line become overwhelming and confusing at times I did overall enjoy the concepts of the book and enjoyed it on reflection. Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Australia for allowing me the chance to read another book. At 33 weeks pregnant books are a very important part of my current life situation .

  15. Wow what a book! Alex Dahl has given a terrific storyline that had me hooked from the start.
    Cecilia is such an interesting and complex character that I just found fascinating and I also loved the character Annika. Her story was confronting yet heartbreaking.
    The two sides of the story from both these women was fantastic and helped build the story and suspense. I couldn’t get over the amount of lies someone could tell just to ensure they maintained the perfect image. What they thought was the perfect image anyway! I enjoyed the ending and although some of it you could guess, it did still manage to surprise me.
    A chilling story that kept me enthralled. Thank you Beauty & Lace and to Harper Collins for this great opportunity to read such a terrific book. Highly recommend!

  16. What a book . What a story line.
    Loved reading this book. At times it made me feel nervous. It took me a while to read because I had to absorb everything that kept happening. Just when I had worked it out, my reasoning was far from the truth.
    What a woman was the main character, I loved how she twisted the truth for her benefit.
    Many times I wanted to give up but this book had a hold on me. I kept saying to myself “are there people out there like this”?.
    I would highly recommend this book. I was tortunatr to get a copy. Thanks heaps Beauty and Lace.

  17. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for allowing me to review the debut novel ‘The Boy at the Door’ by Alex Dahl.

    This was a dark psychological story that had me turning pages as fast as I could. The main character Cecilia, had me change so many gears of emotions. I initially related, then felt sad, then hated then just didn’t understand her at all. This story has you thinking you know what’s going to happen but you end up with whiplash because it changes so suddenly.

    The story, based on a normal family, ‘normal’ in the loosest fashion of the word. When a strange boy isn’t picked up after a swimming lesson you are sucked into a world full of loss, lies and decietfulness. It unpicks how things and people are so easily judged on the outside and not for who they really are.

    A junky woman verse a rich woman with everything, two worlds apart yet so tightly entwined.

    Loved this book and would read again and recommend to anyone.

  18. Not a genre but I would normally read, but when i saw it on the list I thought this sounds interesting.

    Well wow I wasn’t wrong,

    Many twists in the book & at times a bit confronting to read about Annika’s drug addiction & many relapses. How Cecelia’s family accepted Tobias into their family from the start & once the story began to unravel. Due to her mental health issues at times I began to wonder how much of it it is true or what she believes to be true.

    An interesting story told well

    thank you

  19. Thank you Beauty and lace and Harper. Collins for the opportunity to read The boy at the doorThis book was beautifully written by Alex Dahl.
    The story had you instantly pulled in. It was suspenseful, intense and gripping from the first chapter..
    I found it incredibly hard to put this down.
    4 stars from me!

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