‘Young Women’ is the debut novel by Jessica Moor, winner of the ‘The Observer’ Top Novelist of the Year Award.
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.
Emily is a lawyer at a Women’s Advocacy Centre, who’s bored with her life. Her best friend, Lucy wants to settle down and start a family, whilst Emily still lives for the weekend. One day she bumps into Tasmin and they forge a new friendship. Tasmin is fun and spirited, until decades old sexual assault cases resurface and Tasmin withdraws from society when she has to face old ghosts.
A cleverly crafted story about sexual exploitation and the aftermath, this story delves into toxic relationships and masculinity and privilege in light of the Me Too movement and makes for difficult reading at times. With scenes of sexual abuse, this book is an intense read that really highlights the deep, dark issues of society. The characters are an interesting mix, Tasmin being an actress has multiple faces whereas Emily, is unlikable, selfish and even though, her job is to defend women, she’s not that good at it. I pitied Lucy, who tried to confide in Emily, only to be pushed away.
This debut is a strong one and timely one highlighting the continuing issue of consent and women seizing back control.
A story about the complexities of being a women and it’s navigation, ‘Young Women’ is a dark and thought provoking read that made for uncomfortable and gripping reading.
You can buy ‘Young Women’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.