|Elliot & Thompson
Set between several very different time frames, One Apple Tasted explores the boundaries between love, friendship and those indefinable moments which can change the course of a life in a heartbeat. The story opens in 1982, on St Agnes Eve, when according to Keats... “..Young virgins might have visions of delight...” and for Dora Jerusalem meeting the charming Guy Boleyn at a party offers a very charming vision of delight.
I enjoyed getting to know Dora; she is product of her time. I remember that to be young and female in the eighties was a time of great individuality, however, for Dora, despite her independence, she yearned for the conventional. I was less sympathetic to Guy who I felt was an ungentlemanly man and undeserving of Dora’s adoration. Whilst Guy and Dora’s friendship is beset with problems, which beguile throughout the whole of the novel, interspersed within the narrative are the threads of two quite different stories which when taken as a whole help to pull the entire book together.
I won’t go into great detail about plot as that would spoil the overall charm of the story but what I’ll concentrate on is the way that the author manipulates all the threads so that , like a mammoth jigsaw puzzle, when the last little piece fits , you think ..ah, yes, that makes sense ! Overall, One Apple Tasted is nicely written, and I can see why there was such excitement about it when it was first published, however, it must be remembered that this was the author’s debut novel, and at times, perhaps her enthusiastic excitement at this being her first novel shows in trying to place too many people and plots together. However, generally speaking the book works rather well and once I had all the characters in their rightful place in my mind, I could relax into the story.
I’m embarrassed to say that this book has sat unread on my book shelf since its publication in 2009. I remember reading a very good review of the book in one of the weekend newspapers and bought it on the strength that. Why it has then remained unread is a mystery to me - it just emphasises that we all have hidden gems squirreled away for a rainy day and that from time to time we should delve into the dusty recesses of our bookshelves to see what hidden delights we can discover.