Thursday 28 July 2016

Blind Side - Jennie Ensor

Can you ever truly know someone? And what if you suspect the unthinkable?

London, five months before 7/7. Georgie, a young woman wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when Julian reveals he’s loved her for a long time.

But Georgie can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier she meets in a pub. While Julian struggles to deal with her rejection, Georgie realises how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai. She begins to suspect that the Russian is hiding something terrible from her.

Then London is attacked...

Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears.

What did I think?

Blind Side is a superb debut novel from the pen of Jennie Ensor.  From the opening prologue to the very last page, I was completely immersed in Georgie's story as we are transported back to London, 2005 - set before, during and after the 7/7 bombings.

The book opens with a short prologue that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I simply couldn't read fast enough to find out what had happened.  Jennie Ensor cleverly keeps us in suspense as we have a whole lot of story to get through before my curiosity could be satisfied.

We meet Georgie and her friend, Julian, on the opening page.  Julian has given Georgie a pair of earrings on Valentine's day, but apparently they're just friends.  At least that's what Georgie thinks.  As they listen to the dulcet tones of Norah Jones and drink a few bottles of wine, Julian tells Georgie that he wants more than friendship.  My head was screaming 'Danger!!' but the wine performed its magic trick and all their clothes fell off.  For Georgie it was just sex, for Julian it was a whole lot more.

Georgie realises that she has made a mistake by sleeping with Julian; one evening her troubled mind guides her into a bar where she is drawn like a moth to a flame to Nikolai, a dark and brooding, rugged Russian.  From the moment they first meet, it is clear that Nikolai is troubled; he was a soldier who fought in Chechnya and we can only imagine the horrors that must replay over and over in the minds of all servicemen and women.  Fate has brought Georgie and Nikolai together but Julian is determined to tear them apart.  As Julian becomes so 'crazy in love' we have no idea how far he will go to remove Nikolai from Georgie's life.  We've all heard of a woman scorned, but what happens when a man is scorned?  Read Blind Side to find out.

Blind Side is a wonderful exploration of trust in a new relationship, especially during the difficult and volatile period following the 7/7 bombings.  As we suddenly became suspicious of our friends and neighbours, we ask ourselves the question, 'How well do we really know people?'  Georgie wants to trust Nikolai but he's clearly hiding something and her friends and family won't stop pecking away at her and watering the seeds of suspicion.

There are so many subjects and issues to discuss in Blind Side, that I think it would be excellent for book groups.  For me, I think one of the major points for discussion is the plight of immigrants.  They live in such poverty and are so keen to work that employers do take advantage of them with low pay and poor conditions.  Blind Side really is a multi-faceted read; it's so much more than a love triangle.

Blind Side is an absolutely stunning debut from Jennie Ensor; so thought-provoking and profound that every reader will get something different out of reading it.  I'm so excited to read the psychological thriller than Jennie is working on next.  If it's half as good as Blind Side it will be a cracker!

I received this e-book from the publisher, Unbound, in exchange for an honest review and I am delighted to release my review as part of the Blind Side Blog Tour.

My rating:

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About the Author

Jennie is a Londoner descended from a long line of Irish folk. For much of her life she’s been a wandering soul, but these days she lives with her husband and their cuddle-loving, sofa-hogging terrier. As well as from reading and writing novels, she loves poetry. Her poems, published under another name, tend to inhabit the darker, sometimes surreal side of life.

While on an extended trip to Australia, Jennie studied journalism and worked as a freelance print journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to the fate of Aboriginal Australians living on land contaminated by the British nuclear tests.

When not chasing the dog, lazing in the garden with a book or dreaming about setting off on a long train journey with a Kindleful of books, Ms E can be found writing or doing Writing Related Stuff. WRS can include singing and playing the piano (vital for de-stress) and watching TV spy/crime/costume dramas (research). Once the excitement of Blind Side's launch has passed she will be hard at work getting her second novel ready for publication, a dark and unsettling psychological thriller.

To find out more, check out Ms E’s author website & blog:

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