The story begins in London in 2005, a few months before the 7/7 bus and Tube bombings. Georgie agrees to have sex with Julian, her close friend from their university days. Wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, she is shocked when Julian reveals he has loved her for a long time but felt unable to tell her.
Soon afterwards Georgie meets Nikolai, an ex-soldier recently arrived from Russia. Despite her misgivings, she can’t resist him; Julian, jealous of his perceived rival, struggles to deal with Georgie’s rejection. Georgie begins to realise how deeply war-time incidents in Chechnya have affected Nikolai, and wonders what terrible thing the Russian is hiding from her.
Then London is attacked. In the climate of anxiety and suspicion post-7/7, Georgie must work out who she can trust and who she should fear, before it’s too late.
Blind Side explores love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession. How well we can ever really know anyone? And what should we do if we find out that the unthinkable has happened? An explosive, debate-provoking thriller that confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears.
“Jennie Ensor’s writing is graceful, poetic, intelligent and captivating. She builds suspense brilliantly, and is a master at dialogue that communicates the accents and personalities of the characters. BLIND SIDE is a wonderful debut, an exciting story about three flawed and fascinating people living in dangerous times.”
— Gail Cleare, author of DESTINED and THE TASTE OF AIR
“... a gripping tale. Whilst not the light-read that this genre usually pitches itself at,this complex tale was an immensely satisfying read.”
— Cleopatra Loves Books (full review)
“For a debut novel this is a brave topic as [is] the time it is set in, but what Jennie Ensor brings is a thrilling psychological story that I really enjoyed and raced through. If you enjoy a thriller with a number of themes running through the story, then Blind Side is one not to be missed.”
— The Last Word Book Review (full review)
“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.
...There are so many subjects and issues to discuss in Blind Side, that I think it would be excellent for book groups.
...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!”
— The Book Magnet (full review)
“This isn’t a straight-up book by any means as the author builds on many themes such as terrorism, immigration, family and sexual relationships, trauma, secrets, guilt and regret. The pace and the writing in this book was easy to become caught up in and I read this book over the course of the day without putting it down once. It’s a powerful and engaging novel, thought-provoking and difficult to forget once you’ve reached the end.”...
“Blind Side both surprised and captivated me. It was tense and suspenseful at times, with some thrilling themes, so I can understand the psychological thriller branding but I think it’s probably going to be a fair bit different to what you’re expecting. I suppose it feels more real and believable, not to mention more human, and I could buy into this story much more than many other psychological thrillers. The book grabs a hold of you instantly with a spine-tingling prologue and it doesn’t let you go physically until the end – mentally not for a while longer as the themes are left there on your mind for much more than 300+ pages. A great debut – and I’m looking forward to reading more from Jennie Ensor in future.”
— Reviewed The Book (full review)
“This is a smart, fast-paced romantic thriller set in London during the terror attacks of 2005. It confronts issues of class, illegal immigration and the traumas of war - all of which are sadly still relevant today. This is beautifully written, character-driven fiction without heroes and villains; people are much more complicated and morality is nuanced. At the heart of this novel is a love story about realizing you can never fully know the people you love and learning to trust them (and yourself) anyway.”
— Katie O'Rourke, author of FINDING CHARLIE
“When I received my copy of Blind Side, on the face of it I was expecting a fairly standard suspense / thriller – right up my street, don’t get me wrong, but likely similar to a lot of books I have read before and probably will again. I am pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised...”...
“What sets this book apart is the setting – the story takes place in London in 2005 in the run up to and aftermath of 7/7. Tensions are high and distrust is in the air. Nikolai has links to Chechnya which are hard for Georgie to ignore. Whilst I wasn’t in London during this time, the descriptions of how people felt, their anxiety and constant looking over their shoulder and suspecting people felt very real to me.”
— Once Upon A Littlefield (full review)
At the heart of Blind Side is a love-story – the classic love triangle of one woman and two men – that explores many issues of relationships and human behaviour ‘love and friendship, guilt and betrayal, secrets and obsession’ but more interestingly, importantly, also ‘confronts urgent issues of our times and contemplates some of our deepest fears’ Indeed, in Blind Side Ensor skillfully combines political and thriller elements, but while the aspects of 7/7 undoubtedly colour the story and heighten the gripping nature they add to the story, not detract like I feared.
— Poppy Peacock Pens (full review)
“A prologue that pulls you in and a storyline that doesn’t let you go until the very last page. This is such a thought-provoking read; pitched as ‘a thriller about a love triangle set in London before and after 7/7’ – it is that and so much more... Blind Side tells a compelling story that grips you in a unique way.”...
“The characters of Georgie and Nikolai are extremely well developed and the setting perfect - living not too far from where these attacks took place, I feel Ensor really captured the true atmosphere that stretched across London at that time; the distrust was ripe, the fear was real.
I found it particularly thought-provoking reading about Nikolai's experiences as a soldier in the Chechen war, you really begin thinking about the realities of war and terrorism, people’s attitudes and how they treat each other in the aftermath. Ensor has written a beautiful, well thought out and well researched story. A difficult read, in the sense that it touches on some very real issues, and really gets you thinking about society; a book that will stay with you long after reading it.”
— Keeper of Pages (full review)
Julian has been quiet since he arrived. His rigid posture, stick-thin back and clump of pale hair suddenly make me think of a scarecrow.
‘What’s the matter, Jules?’
His eyes fix on mine with an uncanny intensity. Instead of his studious-looking black plastic-rimmed specs – ‘Joe 90s’, I call them – he’s wearing his new contacts. They transform the uncertain haze of his irises to a precise blast of metallic blue. The effect is disconcerting.
‘Oh, just things,’ he replies, finishing his glass of wine. He prods a piece of the tandoori chicken from the local Indian as if a slug has crawled onto his plate. ‘I’ve been feeling a bit off lately.’
As I’ve not popped in to my Unbound project for a while, here’s an ‘Update’. Note: Sadly the Shed was demolished after being found unconducive to late night scribbling.
Lots happening lately, so I will attempt to be concise :)
Recent book events
I organised a crime author panel at Crouch End Waterstones last week which went wonderfully well, with only one person deterred by the…
Hello everyone, especially all you wonderful people who supported my book and helped to get it published. It's been a while since you've had the pleasure of a shed update from me, so thought I'd remedy that pronto :) Now there's a mass of stuff I could tell you about since the last update, such as more splendid reviews and a huge spike in sales over Christmas, when Blind Side was on sale at a reduced…
First of all I want to thank all the wonderful people who've put mouse to screen and found something to say about my book. I really appreciate your generosity and the effort taken to post an Amazon or Goodreads review. From my own recent reviewing attempts I know how difficult it can be to say something half sensible about a novel, especially a thriller, without giving away too much of the plot!…
By now most of you will have noticed that my book has come out. Yes, it actually happened! The publication date was brought forward at the last minute so the book would be available during the blog tour - more on that later. Thanks again for helping to make it happen, I’m waiting here in suspense to find out what you think of it!
If you enjoy reading Blind Side... it would be TOTALLY BRILLIANT…
In a tizz here with 1001 things to do now that Blind Side's release date has been moved forward to 23 July. That's this Saturday! *wipes brow, collapses onto keyboard*
Everyone who isn't a Blind Side supporter will then be able to buy it via Amazon, Kobo and iTunes at the retail price, which I still don't know but should be under £5. Anyone in a desperate rush to get their hands on an ebook on…
A brief update on the fortunes of my book-in-progress:
In case that's a bit too brief, here's more:
The search for the right title these past few weeks has been responsible for many finger-chewing, hair-pulling moments. As Ghosts of Chechnya doesn't sound like a thriller and may make people think the book is some kind of ghost story/documentary…
The day before yesterday (11pm actually, was up late making last-minute tweaks) I handed in my final version of my book-in-progress to Unbound. Hooray, hurrah, hallelujah and jolly gobstoppers!
I’ve now had two editorial reports back from editor Rachel Rayner and have been working very hard to implement her suggested changes (or at least considering doing so – some changes I haven’t made but most…
All supporters, friends and relatives of supporters, along with anyone remotely interested in my book are cordiallly invited to a celebratory book reading on 16 June 2016. By this time fingers crossed my book should be nearly ready with all the editing, cover design and other big things done. This date may also be the actual publication date of Ghosts of Chechnya should the book be totally ready by…
This really will be a short post as I'm in full-on Edit Mode. I've had a very thorough report back from my editor and yesterday I discussed the changes I'm going to make with her. She's made lots of excellent points which I've been considering for the past week, with only one extremely unwelcome thing. (Past to present tense - frustrating as I had lots of present tense in an earlier version before…
10, 9, 8... Countdown to launch has begun. Everyone is strapped in, the lights are flashing and there's plenty of fuel on board.
Ghosts of Chechnya will be published by Unbound early this summer, I'm delighted to announce. Hopefully in June, before everyone goes on hols and good for launch parties (thinking I'd better do something) though it's possible there will be delays.
My novel has…
The story continues... Second reading from Ghosts of Chechnya with actor Gavin Mitchell. Georgie has returned to the pub near Kings Cross where she met Nikolai, hoping to see him again.
At Hillhead Library, Glasgow on February 21st for a ‘double book launch’ organised by fellow Unbound author Ian Skewis. Here am I reading the first of two extracts from Ghosts of Chechnya with actor Gavin Mitchell. (I know, my acting skills need some polishing... just concentrate on Gavin!)
The action starts in a pub near Kings Cross. Nikolai, standing alone with a pint after his imprompu keyboard…
Or is my mind playing tricks? My project page has a bright orange disk with 101% on top and "This book is fully funded" beneath it. And this morning my progress report said
Amount to raise:
(cue habitual stab of anxiety)
(swiftly turning to relief bordering on euphoria)
OK, I haven't won Lotto, been rescued from a stormy sea, discovered a galleon of gold ingots or finished…
Just one final gut-wrenching slog and I will be galloping along the home straight towards the finish line, forgetting that I'm feeling as knackered as my mud-splattered old Adidas trainers and everything aches and my throat is dry as a camel's you-know-what and all the spectators have gone to watch that guy who overtook me ten miles back... All those hours and days and weeks of pledge-gathering…
It’s make or break time for my Unbound book. As of today (Friday 12th) Ghosts of Chechnya is 49% funded. I have raised around £1900 - but I must raise the same amount again in order to reach 100%.
I have until 22nd February to get there, or a significant part of the way - if not, the pages of my half-materialised book will be scattered unceremoniously/consigned to the deepest vaults at the Unbound…
With Russia and Britain once again exchanging blows in a battle of words over the Russian state's involvement in the killing of an exiled former KGB officer, the BBC has been doing its bit to salvage relations between the two nations. (I for one have been avidly consuming each episdode of Andrew Davies' adaption of Tolstoy's War and Peace.) Given last week's onslaught of Russian-related drama…
First, I’d like to warmly welcome my most recent supporters, and welcome back all you wonderful people who first stepped on board with me to take this journey into the unknown. Thanks to you all, and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride - also that our little shed will survive the winter storms. Anyone else who’s slipped in for quick nose around, make yourself at home. No heckling though and go easy on the…
These people are helping to fund Blind Side.