Well here is an author who isn’t the slightest bit afraid of delving into a subject that is a difficult one to say the least!
Laura has lost her way, in part because of the things her father did when she was young, the things that she has never told anyone about and certainly not her mother. Laura is therefore stuck in an uneasy relationship with both parents, not close but as their only child far from estranged. But each time she goes back, she is drawn back to the past.
On one visit her mother informs her that her father is taking a friend’s young daughter swimming, to give her confidence and to keep her out of trouble. Laura senses danger for the child but can’t quite bring herself to believe that her father would hurt another child, after all he did what he did to her, because he loved her so much. Well that’s what he said at the time, and young minds are impressionable, and once the thought is there it is very hard to dislodge.
Jennie Ensor has made this story even more dramatic by not overplaying her hand. As a reader I felt and could relate to the emotions of all the women far better because whatever had happened they were doing the best they could under challenging circumstances. It accurately illustrates that young girls do not, and can’t understand in the way that an adult does. You also have moral dilemmas because even if Laura is willing to reveal all and let her father take the consequences, where does that leave her mother?
The book gives a voice to all of the key characters adding yet another layer of realism to the story. We hear from Laura’s father too, the character who it would have been all too easy to turn into a caricature, but yet again Jennie Ensor while never provoking sympathy for the man has added some subtlety here too.
A disquieting read which is pleasingly resists the sensationalist statements. I’d go so far to say that it is a rare author who can turn this subject matter into a read that both puts texture to lurid headlines and yet has a positive ending. It is so rare to read a book on this subject that isn’t about how lives have been ruined and nothing but misery for the victims ahead and so while the subject matter is a tough one I think that this is a book which is as much about the characters as the ‘issue’ at its heart. Since the author has written from experience it has a level of realism that so many other’s books written miss.
In short I was left with the feeling that this devastatingly difficult subject has been handled with care. The characters have been created to produce a truly thought-provoking novel.
I’d like to thank Bloodhound Books and the author Jennie Ensor for inviting me to be part of the Blog Blitz celebrating the publication of The Girl in His Eyes; A book with a moral dilemma at its heart, and yet one that so many young girls and women face, and what better way to explore it than in the hands of Jennie Ensor who has already proved herself to be a fearless author with her debut novel Blind Side.
Jennie Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words and Women national prose competition. Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most recently Ink Sweat and Tears.
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