Set against London’s summer of terror this novel explores topics as racism, stalking and the love between Georgie and her Russian lover Nikolai.
When Georgie realises her best friend Julian is in love with her, she cannot but ease back on the friendship, something Julian does not take lightly. Is it a coincidence that she ends up in a place she has never been before and meets the dark Russian Nikolai, an illegal immigrant, with his charming smile but sad eyes? Theirs is a love affair clouded by his disturbing past fighting as a Russian soldier in Chechenia. Then there is Julian, who has trouble letting go. This all happened in London, in the Summer of 2005 – when two vicious bomb campaigns unnerved the capital’s inhabitants.
Julian and Georgie have been friends since forever. When Georgie fell in love at University and was totally obsessed with her first real love, it was Julian who was there for her when they broke up. It was Julian who arranged for her to come home after her accident in Thailand. They truly are best friends. Until that fateful evening when they share a bottle too many and Julian confesses to Georgie that he loves her. He always has. The change is dramatic: from what was a close friendship they drift apart. They have to, according to Georgie, because she will never love Julian the way he loves her. Fate wills it that Georgie finds herself in a bar, listening to an awful band. Suddenly, other sounds reach her ears: beautifully played melancholy piano tunes. Georgie is intrigued and wants to meet the pianist. It turns out to be the Russian Nikolai, an illegal immigrant who came to London six months ago. Part of Georgie urges her to walk away.
Although her mind keeps sending her warning signals, Georgie cannot resist Nikolai’s charming demeanour. Slowly, their infatuation deepens. But Georgie knows that Nikolai has dark secrets and disturbing nightmares because of what he saw and had to do during the Russian-Chechenian war. Does he bear a grudge against the world seeking revenge for the innocent victims of that war? Where Georgie has no idea, her father has suspicions after the first bombings of 7th July: Nikolai is a terrorist and out to kill. Julian hates Nikolai but the reason becomes the more clear as the novel progresses. Is he just keeping an eye out for Georgie or is Julian stalking her? His behaviour seems to get more and more out of control. Meanwhile, Georgie discovers what it is Nikolai keeps hidden from her and when the second series of bombs on July 21st go off the situation between Georgie and the men around her is also on the verge of explosion.
Jennie Ensor has written a captivating debut novel! Whether you regard it as a psychological thriller or novel, it is a great read. This book covers several topics, from illegal immigrants working in dangerous circumstances to racism and the traumatising effects of the Russian-Chechenian war. Somewhere, in the middle of the book, the focus changed and I felt a bit sorry at first as the events of the time, shocking as they might be, were at the same time fascinating. I feel the Prologue could set you off on the wrong foot as I thought this to be not the main theme of the book. Because most of all it is a story of love and coming to terms with your past, accepting who you are and taking responsibility for your actions and of, crazy as it might sound, coming of age, even if Georgie is in her late twenties. Georgie is the protagonist and we experience everything from her point of view. Her doubts and considerations lead us through the story and we witness what happens through her eyes. A lovely and entertaining novel that I enjoyed. I look forward to the author’s next book!
About the Author
Jennie Ensor is a Londoner descended from a long line of Irish folk, which may be why she sometimes sneaks off from writing novels to indulge her other love, writing poems, preferably with a bar of Lindt chocolate. Her poetry tends to inhabit the darker, bleak and surreal side of life. It is published in a range of journals and magazines. Jennie’s first degree was in physics and astrophysics, on which she blames her ancestor William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse (who observed the first spiral nebulae with the gargantuan telescope he built in Birr, Ireland). While on an extended trip to Australia – a six-month working holiday somehow turned into 12 years – Jennie was inspired by investigative journalist John Pilger. She completed an MA in journalism and became a freelance journalist, focusing on the environment and social justice issues. Her articles covered topics from forced marriages to accidents in coal mines to the fate of Aboriginal Australians living on land contaminated by British nuclear tests. For much of her life, Jennie has been a wandering soul. But now she is settled with her husband and their cuddle-loving, sofa-hogging Airedale terrier in a lively part of north London that’s perfect for wandering from café to café with a Kindle and chasing disobedient dogs.
|Publisher||Unbound (Feb 28, 2017)|