For Dora Jerusalem, fresh out of Cambridge with a head full of Victorian novels and romantic dreams, landing a job at Modern Woman magazine seems like amazing luck. But her sheltered background hadn't prepared her to resist the charms of rich, spoilt kids with nasty habits and nothing to lose. Inevitably she falls in love with art dealer Guy Boleyn, but it isn't the right time, place or circumstances for either of them. And all the while a long-buried secret lies in wait to booby-trap any attempt at happiness. Kicking off in 1980s London, One Apple Tasted traces one girl's attempts to be married in the modern world.
Josa gives an overview of the book:
Extract from Chapter One: 1982
‘I feel so sorry for people like him. Cameras poking into his face wherever he goes. Particularly with that difficult-to-manage, flyaway hair and the kind of complexion that always lets you down.’
Dora knew the speaker’s face but she couldn’t remember his name. He shook his head. ‘I would hate to be famous,' he added shuddering.
Dora found him arch but touchingly beautiful. She assumed he was gay and therefore out of the question for anything but friendship. Not that she undervalued that. After Cambridge, her friendships still endured – unlike the relationships she’d had with straight boys.
The pretty, well-bred publicity girls known as Davoli’s puffettes had fielded just one A list celebrity for Davoli’s latest splashy book launch and he’d had a grim time with the paparazzi on the way in. Dora supposed the singer felt obliged to come as Davoli was going to publish the earnest photography he wasn’t ever likely to be famous for in a big glossy book.
‘If it was me I think I would never go anywhere. He’d go to the opening of a stock cube. Lovely for the puffettes to have such a tame celeb.’
There was a bitchy note in the beautiful boy’s voice. Dora thought he sounded jealous. She was only half listening when she became aware of something.
She began to giggle. Laughter rose from her stomach in a bubbling stream. She tried to keep her mouth shut but the joy escaped through her nose. She snorted and clutched her middle with one hand.
‘What’s the matter? Are you all right?’
She was speechless. Giggles were escaping all over her face and her eyes began to stream. She wiped them with the floppy cuff of her New Romantic shirt, staggering backwards, looking for a wall to lean on but encountering only solid, disgruntled, fashionable flesh. She wheezed and ached with laughter. His anxious face only provoked fresh paroxysms.
‘What have you taken?’ the boy inquired, looking down at her hands to see if she had a joint. Her first glass of champagne was still half full.
Dora was held upright by the crush of the party. Davoli always gave good ones – champagne rather than warm white wine. The assembled liggers were squashed firmly together, rapidly smoking and drinking with arms clamped to their sides and hands up near their faces.
‘Look behind you,’ she managed to gasp, an idiotic grin wavering on her face.
The boy swivelled his head over one cramped shoulder. ‘What is it?’
‘It’s him,’ she whispered. The celeb. ‘You’re leaning against him.’
Born in Kent, England, into a large, complicated family, Josa Young has always told stories. She read English at Cambridge University, and started her career at Vogue magazine in London. Since then, she has worked as a consumer journalist, but with thousands of words of...