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Sunday, 9 August 2009
One Apple Tasted
By Josa Young
As you read this novel, you’ll love spending time in the company of Dora Jerusalem, Guy Boleyn and the rest of the large and well-drawn cast.
The quirky and inspired story takes us backwards and forwards in time, and right across the world to India and back. Each era and each place is lovingly created with delicious detail.
Josa Young’s powers of description really bring the narrative to life. In one scene Dora is dressing for a pivotal moment in her life and the description is so vivid that I found myself thinking, ‘But she’ll never be able to drive in those shoes!’ For me, that level of involvement is a sign of a truly gripping novel.
Josa Young’s background in magazines such as Vogue shines through in the stunning visual quality of the writing. As well as the scene involving Dora, mentioned above, there is a scene involving the young Hilly and Thirza dressing for a ball which is so beautifully drawn that you will be able to see the girls walking in to the room and feel all heads turning to look at them as clearly as if you were there.
The plot of ‘One Apple Tasted’ is complex, and carefully takes threads from different times and generations in order to weave them into a satisfying whole. It is essentially a love story, but with a long-hidden mystery at its heart.
Dora and Guy, and their relationship are pivotal to the novel, but Josa Young takes as much trouble drawing all the other characters and breathing life into them. In particular I loved Hilly, Uncle Eric and Emma Vane, but every character – however minor – earns their keep in the story.
As the story powers towards the end it is genuinely impossible to put down. The intrigue around Dora’s relationship with the troubled Guy Boleyn leads the reader through the novel and as we’re taken back in time more and more layers peel back to reveal the true complexity of the past.
Expect to be on the edge of your seat as you read the last few chapters of this skilfully structured novel, and whatever you do, don’t miss out on reading this one.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt