Laura, a young woman struggling to deal with what her father did to her a decade ago, is horrified to realise that the girl he takes swimming might be his next victim. Emma is twelve – the age Laura was when her father took away her innocence.Intimidated by her father’s rages, Laura has never told anyone the truth about her childhood. Now she must decide whether she has the courage to expose him and face the consequences.
Can Laura overcome her fear and save Emma before the worst happens?
I would like to thank the author Jennie Ensor, Bloodhound Books and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Firstly I have to say that this book bravely deals with the consequences of the historical sexual abuse of a child by her father and then the fear of who he might also exploit in the present. For some this might make the book too difficult to read and too upsetting. I was disturbed and in equal measure horrified at the exploitation and grooming of young vulnerable girls by a deeply disturbed protagonist.
Jennie Ensor cleverly gives a voice not only to the victim Laura, but also the abuser, her father. She also gives Laura’s mother a strong narrative voice, skilfully acknowledging in this compelling psychological thriller, that sexual abuse always leaves a swath of victims, all of whom are left damaged by the act of a sexually deviant.
It was the fact that she took us into the minds of all involved in this drama, that made The Girl In His Eyes such a compelling read. Though your mind and heart are sickened by the actions of Laura’s dad and the secrets that bind them together and destroy Laura’s life, you keep reading in the hope she finds justice, because the abuse has left her virtually incapable of interpersonal relationships. Yet her abuser sees himself as the victim of a society that simply doesn’t understand his actions. It’s a difficult balancing act, but one Jennie Ensor handles with a deft hand. She doesn’t hide the twisted mind of the abuser, because that would be doing a disservice to the story and the narrative of the victim. She brings all its disturbing elements into a work of fiction and succeeds in creating a story that haunts, disturbs and compels you to keep reading.
I admire her skill in not skirting around the disturbing elements of the story and of fleshing out all of the characters. Many other writers would simply leave Laura’s dad as a shell, but by giving him a voice, disturbing and distressing as it is, gives her story more power. It’s not exploitive of the stories of those who have gone through this horrifying experience; it gives them a voice in a fictional novel and tells of their experience with understanding.
It is a riveting read and one I won’t forget for a while. It forced me to think, while in the safety net of a well written and exciting novel, because it’s fictional, you can take a step back, the victim is not real. But Laura’s story is real for many people and Jennie Ensor treats that with the respect it deserves while delivering a book that left me shell shocked and disturbed by the events within. It is a fantastic read and I look forward to reading more of her books.
You can purchase The Girl In His Eyes from Amazon
About the author.
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. She sings in a chamber choir.