Tuesday 14 June 2022

Young Women by Jessica Moor BLOG TOUR #YoungWomen @jessicammoor @ZaffreBooks #BookReview @RandomTTours


When Emily meets enigmatic and dazzling actress Tamsin, her life changes. Drawn into Tamsin's world of Soho living, boozy dinners, and cocktails at impossibly expensive bars, Emily's life shifts from black and white to technicolour and the two women become inseparable.

Tamsin is the friend Emily has always longed for; beautiful, fun, intelligent and mysterious and soon Emily is neglecting her previous life - her work assisting vulnerable women, her old friend Lucy - to bask in her glow. But when a bombshell news article about a decades-old sexual assault case breaks, Emily realises that Tamsin has been hiding a secret about her own past. A secret that threatens to unravel everything . . .

Young Women is a razor sharp novel that slices to the heart of our most important relationships, and asks how complicit we all are in this world built for men.

Young Women by Jessica Moor was published in hardback on 26 May by Manilla Press / Zaffre. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this #RandomThingsTours blog tour.

Some books come along at exactly the right time, sometimes for personal reasons and sometimes because of events that are dominating the news. 

Young Women is one of those books, as we find ourselves constantly being told of how women continue to be treated, despite the excellence of the #MeToo movement, this story hits home. It's stark and often brutal and not everything gets resolved perfectly ... just like real life. However, this is not a new idea, sadly it is a take on events that are as old as the planet. Concentrating as it does, on the power of the male, and how this power, combined with money can protect those who do the most wrongs, and injure the victims even more. 

The story begins as Emily and Tamsin meet for the first time. They obviously have at least one in thing in common as they are both arrested at an environmental protest march. However, it soon becomes clear that these are two very different women.  Emily is English, living in a flat in London, working as a lawyer for a women's charity.  Apart from her childhood friend Lucy, Emily is insular and isolated. Tamsin, on the other hand, is bright and exudes glamour and excitement. An actress, Canadian by birth, but living in London. Emily is dazzled and soon falls under Tasmin's spell. It's something of a one sided relationship at times, with Tasmin supplying the material things such as champagne and gourmet food, whilst Emily invest heavily emotionally. 

Moor excels in detailing the beginnings of a new friendship, and as Emily becomes more desperate to be part of this bright new world, she lets her old friendships and her work commitments slip. It's a joy to watch unfolding, and probably familiar to many women.

What is also familiar is what happens as the story takes a sharp turn and the reader learns about the accusations made by woman against a well-known and well-respected man in the film trade. Readers will not be surprised to hear the accusations, they seem to have become part of everyday life. What is quite shocking is how this impacts Emily and Tasmin's relationship. When Emily learns of Tasmin's involvement, she is determined to make things right. However, Tasmin deals with issues in her own way.

I applaud the author for the way that she deals with uncomfortable issues and how she doesn't take the reader exactly where they expect to go. The characterisation is precise and real, with all of the female characters often choosing what could be seen as the wrong path. This is a story that will raise many issues, I can imagine the debates within book groups as they discuss the rights and the wrongs, the whys and the what-ifs. 

Unsettling, sometimes challenging but always compelling. Highly recommended by me. 

Jessica Moor studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester

Her debut novel Keeper was published in 2020 to rave reviews and critical acclaim. 

Jessica Moor was selected as one of the Observer's debut novelists of 2020, and her debut, Keeper was chosen by the Sunday Times, Independent and Cosmopolitan as one of their top debuts of the year. 

Keeper was nominated for the Desmond Elliott Prize and an Edgar Award. Young Women is her second novel.

Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessicammoor

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