Friday, 21 September 2018

THE GIRL IN HIS EYES by Jennie Ensor @Jennie_Ensor

4 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: the author asked me if I would like an ARC for a review/quotes, and I said yes please!

Genre: Dark family drama/'grip lit'.

The Girl In His Eyes is a disturbing family drama, told from the points of view of the three main characters: mother Suzanne, daughter Laura and father Paul.  An affluent, middle-class family living in a nice area of London, their lives seem fine to their set of equally successful friends, but behind closed doors lie dark secrets of the most heinous kind.

Suzanne was a frustrating character to read about, which I am sure was intentional.  Although around fifty, she behaves and thinks like a child, is emotionally dependent, and wishes to know only about her nice little world where everything is, she needs to believe, safe and discord-free.  Laura, in her twenties, lives alone in a rundown flat where her life is coming to pieces, a slow unravelling that began when she was eleven or twelve—when her father started to touch her.  She can't hold down a job and has no friends aside from the horribly censorious and insensitive Rachael.  I thought Laura's inner thoughts were beautifully depicted, so real.

What makes this novel such a page-turner is not only the slow unfolding of the chaos within, but the clever inclusion of Paul's point of view: Paul, the handsome, well groomed and athletic fifty-three-year-old, with a penchant for young girls.  This was exceptionally well done, and most disturbing without being remotely tacky.  He tells himself that he is only acting on urges common to all men.  Every time he feels bad, he excuses his own behaviour.

Laura's life continues to unravel as she pursues a maybe unwise solution to her debt problem—an aspect of this novel that kept me engrossed.  Meanwhile, back in suburbia, Paul is asked to take a friend's daughter swimming ... and over the course of five months, the family's lives change forever.

I imagine this novel will do extremely well in this ever-popular genre of dark domestic drama; it deserves to.  It is structured well, and the writing really flows.  I enjoyed the first three quarters, in particular, and looked forward to opening my Kindle each time I was able to get back to it.  Now and again, though, I did find the writing a little 'safe'.  Also, I wasn't convinced by some of the developments in the last quarter; it all seemed too neatly tied up, particularly the choices made by Suzanne and the brother's change of heart.  Other than that, though, it is a most compelling novel, and I'd most definitely recommend it to those who love well-written stories of family turmoil. 


  1. Thanks ever so much Terry! Very glad you found my book compelling despite the quibbly bits. sorry slow to respond was away on weekend

    1. You're welcome - and it's only ever a personal opinion; who cares anyway, it's doing brilliantly!!!!!