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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish...
Sometimes a book you don't expect to like really takes you by surprise and makes you sit up and take notice. Gripping from the beginning this book takes you on a roller coaster of a journey as we watch as Yvonne Carmichael, a renowned scientist, begins an illicit and highly addictive extra marital affair with man who is at first a stranger. This irresponsible liaison...
Published 12 months ago by jaffareadstoo

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars it has lots of recommendations including Ian Rankin who is one of my favourite authors, so I made sure that I saved ...
*SPOILERS* There are spoilers in the following review.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, it has lots of recommendations including Ian Rankin who is one of my favourite authors, so I made sure that I saved it for when I had no distractions and the time to savour and enjoy. Unfortunately the book was a total let down.

The narrator,...
Published 20 days ago by Sandra Foy


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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish..., 13 July 2013
By 
jaffareadstoo (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Hardcover)
Sometimes a book you don't expect to like really takes you by surprise and makes you sit up and take notice. Gripping from the beginning this book takes you on a roller coaster of a journey as we watch as Yvonne Carmichael, a renowned scientist, begins an illicit and highly addictive extra marital affair with man who is at first a stranger. This irresponsible liaison which begins with a risky sexual encounter will ultimately spin Yvonne's life out of control.

I think what I found refreshing is that Yvonne is fifty-two, not some inexperienced ingénue, so it could be argued that she should have known better - but what it does prove is that we are never too old to act out of character - and that pushing self destruct buttons is not merely a prerogative of being young and in love.

To say more about this story would be to do the book a complete disservice- it is definitely one of those books which once started you simply can't put down. I started reading it on a sunny day in the garden at about 11:30 and didn't look up, except for food and drink some twelve hours later.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely gripping, 14 Mar 2014
By 
Macey89 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Kindle Edition)
‘Apple Tree Yard’ opens in a courtroom, with our narrator in the dock, although we don’t yet know her crime. To explain how she got there, Yvonne takes us right back to the beginning - to the events that set everything in motion.

Yvonne is 52, married, has two children and is a successful geneticist. She could be any one of us. As she takes pains to point out – her life is ordinary. But the choices she makes over the course of a few short months will take her down a road that Yvonne never thought she would travel.

The direction of the book continually changes as it progresses. Every time we think we can see where the story is leading, something shifts, changing with it our perceptions of characters. The end, when it comes, is a tense and anxious experience, all building up to the one moment that has the potential to change her life forever.

The style of writing in this book, as though the narrator is talking directly to her readers while she tells her story, creates an immediate feeling of intimacy. We are thrown completely into Yvonne’s world and her innermost thoughts. She isn’t too kind on herself, instead treating the whole situation with the type of biting honesty and self-criticism that we all have in hindsight. Because of this intimacy and the way that the story unfolds, we feel each betrayal or cutting remark thrown her way, just as we feel alternately vindicated, frustrated or devastated by every decision Yvonne makes.

We don’t find out Yvonne’s name until quite far into the book. Similarly we don’t know the names of her husband, her children, or her co-defendant. In fact, for much of the book, it is just ‘I’ and ‘You’ and ‘my husband’. When Yvonne does start to use people’s names in her story, it signals a breaking of the exciting, fictional illusion that she has created, and the reality of her decisions and their impact on the people around her starts to creep back in.

This book hits a nerve is because we’re watching someone’s life unravelling right in front of us. We all make bad decisions. We all have secrets. We all have parts of ourselves that we’re not proud of or that we’d like to keep hidden. And as Yvonne is forced to confront her secrets and her choices in a very public way, it’s clear that she could be any one of us, had we only chosen differently.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars it has lots of recommendations including Ian Rankin who is one of my favourite authors, so I made sure that I saved ..., 4 July 2014
By 
Sandra Foy "Sandra" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Paperback)
*SPOILERS* There are spoilers in the following review.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, it has lots of recommendations including Ian Rankin who is one of my favourite authors, so I made sure that I saved it for when I had no distractions and the time to savour and enjoy. Unfortunately the book was a total let down.

The narrator, Yvonne Carmichael, a 52yrs old scientist at the peak of her career embarks on an affair, I use the term very loosely as it consists of meeting in coffee shops then having sex in back alleys. The entire affair on both sides just beggars belief. He tells her absolutely nothing; he takes her nowhere; he doesn't even offer to get them a room. And yet we are expected to believe that this 52yrs old, highly intelligent woman, believes this man to be in love with her. I think possibly the worst part of the book, is where, with no encouragement from Mark (the lover), she decides that he is a spy!! There cannot be one person who read that and thought it likely.

The woman is unlikeable, unbelievable, delusional and has no credibility whatsoever. I presume that was the author's intent, to show how people's emotions overtake them to to the detriment of everything else. But you must have some basis in reality and this story did not. I lost the will to live.

Mark's perspective was just as bad, here is a serial adulterer who, we are asked to believe, is prepared to commit the worst crime known to man for a woman who he has sex with on occasion in a back alley.

On a positive note the rape scene is well depicted and quite harrowing. It is a pity it is enmeshed in the rest of this story. The trial scenes are interesting and well researched. But the plot just goes from bad to worse. The explanation for Mark's actions is no more than cod-psychology and the verdict is laughable. How a man who takes and uses a change of clothes to a crime scene can get his sentence reduced from premeditated murder to manslaughter, I have no idea. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

The 'twist', as some people have referred to it, on the last page is no twist at all. It is totally predictable and the only thing left to happen.

I don't particularly like giving poor reviews, but this book has barely anything to recommend it. While the prose is fine and the court scenes well described, the plot is ludicrous in my opinion. But there are, at this moment in time, nearly 400 Amazon reviews that say I am wrong. They all give the book 5 stars, meaning that they believe it is one of the best books ever written. They can't all be wrong: can they?
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72 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anxious, uneasy and edgy, 3 Jun 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Hardcover)
"The minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and their story about you"

This is a wonderfully slippery text which wrong-foots us repeatedly as we navigate the story. It opens with a trial, but we don't know who is on trial or for what. Gradually the narrator draws us into her world: she's 52, a well-known geneticist, happily married - so how has her life narrowed to the Old Bailey?

This sounds as if it might be another one of those familiar stories where a respectable woman is drawn into an affair and her life spirals out of control and, to some extent, it is. Only this time Doughty's treatment of this scenario is done so well, with such control and lack of sensationalism that it feels completely fresh and utterly believable.

Our narrator's voice is compelling in its honesty, and especially stark as it lays bare the feelings of a still attractive woman in her 50s. A number of times we feel that we know what kind of book this is but somehow Doughty manages to pull off a switch that is so subtle it is almost unnoticeable until we realise this is a different kind of story altogether.

So this is quiet in lots of ways and doesn't indulge in the kind of overt twists and impossibilities that we sometimes find - but, for all that, it builds up into something which is increasingly anxious and uneasy, leaving us apprehensive and on edge. Highly recommended.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb novel, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Paperback)
This novel took my breath away - for the entirety of the last fifty pages and at many points in between. It is beautifully written, sharply observed, thrilling, emotionally acute, and a needle sharp commentary on marriage, sex, love and the grey areas in between. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 4 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Kindle Edition)
It's a real treat to come across a book as gripping, intelligent and impassioned as this. I'd previously read one book by Louise Doughty - Whatever You Love - which I thought had great strengths, but also some weaknesses (still, I'd heartily recommend it), but with Apple Tree Yard she's delivered an astonishingly accomplished novel that delivers on all fronts. It's brilliantly written, structurally very clever, exquisitely suspenseful. And underneath all of the literary skill and brilliance - and confidence, for LD is a supremely confident writer - this is an angry novel that has many important things to say - about inequality between the sexes, sexism, violence against women, how women are treated in the legal system; and also about the nature of identity, the idealised images we can form of others, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, how we define ourselves. This is a novel of nuance and depth, it sparkles with intelligence, it's angry, but cogent and lucid, and to top it all it's a kick-ass thriller that gripped me from beginning to end. I finished it two days ago and it's still with me; I'm still thinking about it, reflecting on it, and I probably will be for some time. Outstanding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely loved this book. I found the first part a little slow but when you get through this bit the rest of the book takes you on a journey that leaves you breathless with excitement. I couldn't put this down.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Jun 2013
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Hardcover)
I have enjoyed all Louise Doughty's earlier books and I think this one is very clever indeed. I do appreciate a book which is so well written and yet so easy to read which of course means it is difficult to put down until the very end. I suppose you could argue that not many women would have transgressed in the way our heroine does, but when a tale is woven so well - just enjoy. The research that obviously went into the book is also very evident and this sense of how realistic the court case is added to the enjoyment for me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost gave up halfway, glad I didn't but disappointed in outcome, 16 Feb 2014
By 
L. Allen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Kindle Edition)
Thought the writing was very good, descriptive and easily created scenes in your mind. Found it hard to sympathise with the self-absorbed main character, and was not convinced by the affair. Maybe post-50 shades, this is the type of affair that women in their 50s fantasise about. But given Yvonne's self-importance and patronising air, I wasn't convinced that her character would have carried on this type of affair.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Such a disappointment, 18 May 2014
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Paperback)
After all the hype, I thought that there must be something here to grab me, grip me and hook me right to the end.

Alas, there was nothing to grab, grip or hook. It was a long, long slog to the end with no surprises, no thrills, nothing to grip, nothing to hook me.....in fact, I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters, nothing for the plot (such as it was), and felt cheated when I finished. I was also relived that I can now move on and read something else , anything, that will have a good plot and interesting characters and suspense.

This was a total let-down, and had none of the above.

Don't bother with it. Move on, and enjoy something else.
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Apple Tree Yard
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Paperback - 2 Jan 2014)
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