Thursday 18 April 2013

Review! The Emergence of Judy Taylor, Angela Jackson

Judy Taylor married the first man who asked her. She lives in the neighbourhood where she spent her uneventful childhood. She still has the same friends she first met in primary school. But everything she once knew is about to be turned upside down. Judy might be ready to start a new life in vibrant Edinburgh, if she's prepared to accept what it means to change. First she has to ask herself if it's ever too late to make up for lost time. The Emergence of Judy Taylor is a story about first loves and second chances. It's about love and life and sex and starlings. It's about Judy and Oliver and Paul and Fabiana and Rob and Min and Lily and Harry and a French siren called Isabella.

Review: I love receiving a book that I know very little about, it means that I have no preconceptions, no idea what i am to expect from a book and I was lucky enough to be in that position with this lovely debut novel by Angel Jackson. I love books about strong, independent females and so I felt sure that I would be onto a winner with this one! The first thing that jumped out at me about this book is that the cover gives absolutely nothing away about the storyline. There are no pictures of crying women of strong men on the cover, there is simply a city skyline and several birds flying in the sky, beautiful and yet not linked the the story in any way-brilliant!

The second thing that will strike the reader straight away is the writing style. It is quite a different style of writing, not the usual style of narrative that comes with romance or chick-lit novels. I expected it to be written in the first person but it was written in the third person and jumps about q bit describing what is going on with each of the different characters in the book. Although Judy is the main character. Paragraph space is also given over the supporting characters, and at different times and places. I think that the fact that the writing style is so different gives this novel a unique voice, and that was a very brave thing to do for a debut author!

The characters and the storyline are both well developed, and the settings interesting. As i have already mentioned, the main plot of the story involves Judy, but husband Oliver, brother Rob, friends Paul and Gina also get time and space in the novel, something which I found led the book to feel well-rounded and complete. The storyline itself does tend to jump from one time period to another quite quickly and without warning. Whilst chapters may be given over to a space of thirty minutes, we then jump on to a month later or a fortnight later without warning. Whilst sometimes i found this to be a little unsettling, it did lend itself well to the book being well-paced and to there being a good conclusion at the end of the novel.

I think that this is a very strong debut novel from this author. I think it has all the major elements a reader would look for in a storyline, love, heartbreak, death, self-discovery, travel. Whilst in general I think that it would appeal to an older female reader than myself, I still took an awful lot from the book. It is a tale of self-discovery and the difficulties on encounters on the way there. A gripping read.

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