Monday 13 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Hold Back the Night by Jessica Moor

Manilla Press
9 May 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Compulsive Readers for the invitation to the blog tour

March 2020. 

Annie is alone in her house as the world shuts down, only the ghosts of her memories for company. But then she receives a phone call which plunges her deeper into the past. 

1959. Annie and Rita are student nurses at Fairlie Hall mental hospital. Working long, gruelling hours, they soon learn that the only way to appease their terrifying matron is to follow the rules unthinkingly. But what is happening in the hospital's hidden side wards? And at what point does following the rules turn into complicity - and betrayal?

1983. Annie is reeling from the loss of her husband and struggling to face raising her daughter alone. Following a chance encounter, she offers a sick young man a bed for the night, a good deed that soon leads to another. Before long, she finds herself entering a new life of service - her home a haven for those who are cruelly shunned. But can we ever really atone?

πŸ“– My Review..

Lock-down in 2020 brings its own brand of isolation and indecision and left with just her thoughts Annie is taken back in time firstly to 1959 when she and her friend Rita were student nurses at Fairlie Hall Mental Hospital. With an incompassionate matron who ruled with a rod of iron, Annie and Rita were given tasks which they neither knew nor understood. Moving forward in time we meet Annie in the 1980s when another unknown epidemic was wiping out a specific population and with a house far too big for Annie and her daughter, Annie offers a place of refuge to those who were being shunned in society and considered unworthy of human kindness.

Stark, often brutal its depiction of life, this emotive novel took me right back to my own student nurse days and more particularly to nursing in the 1980s when no-one, unless you were actually there, could understand the fear and ignorance which surrounded this particular time in medical history. I had such an emotional connection to Annie, often seeing myself in her when I too would obey instructions with little knowledge of the far reaching consequences. Although different times calls for different measures this cleverly controlled novel links together three very specific eras and gives them a common thread, that of a disease out of control, the ignorance which surrounded medical treatments and in particular mental illness, and of the isolation borne of fear.

Hold Back the Night is a difficult book to 'enjoy' as the subject matter is a tough read but it's all sensitively handled and very well written and is definitely a story which will stay with me for a while.

About the Author

Jessica Moor studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, Keeper.

Her second novel, Young Women, was published in 2022.

She was selected as one of the Guardian's 10 best debut novelists of 2020, longlisted for the 2020 Desmond Elliot Prize and a Mystery Writers of America Award. She won the 2022 Nouvelle Voix du Polar. She lectures in Creative Writing.

Follow on Social Media

Twitter/X @jessicammoor

Instagram ms_jessica_moor

Twitter /X@ zaffrebooks @Tr4cyF3nton

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