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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely gripping
‘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...
Published 11 months ago by Macey89

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I thought it would be but worth a read.
Yvonne Carmichael has a high-flying career as a Geneticist, renowned in her field. Married to Guy, with two grown up children she doesn't really want for anything. Or does she? As one day she makes the most irrational of decisions.
Whilst giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament, Yvonne meets a man and has sex with him in the secluded Chapel...
Published 11 months ago by Jennifer


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41 of 43 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychological thriller combined with a story about the wrong choices and morality, 29 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Hardcover)
“Apple Tree Yard” by Louise Doughty is a novel that combines psychological thriller with a story about the wrong choices and morality.

In the centre of the story is woman named Yvonne Carmichael who is in her fifties, married and has two grown children. In professional life Yvonne also had only successes and a great career behind, as known geneticist.

But one day she will make irrational choice when during giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament, she will meet a man and will have sex with him in the Chapel in the Crypt.

This will start an adventure with this man and while getting to know him, she will gradually realize that he is much different from what she thought at the beginning. An adventure that will eventually evolve from casual short-term escape from her marriage will evolve to something serious and lead to violence.

And due to that Yvonne will end up in the trial in the world's most famous court - Old Bailey - accused of the most serious possible crime that she could commit…

Louise Doughty with “Apple Tree Yard” delivered an original and moving novel about a woman in (often unjust) men world; a woman who made a mistake engaging in an affair with terrible ending.

The author successfully avoids many clichés and although at the novel beginning we know what happened to the main, only with the completion of the reading will catch all the threads of the story.

Therefore this story is not one in a series of romantic novels that often are perhaps unfairly called a light literature, but surprisingly the novel that with each page becomes more and more interesting. And although our heroine can sometimes go on our nerves with her behavior, yet reader cannot help but cheer for her, all through the interesting and unexpected end.

“Apple Tree Yard” is novel full of suspense, a psychological thriller that at times starts to seem too heavy for reading due to the darkness which brings, leaving the impression of chill and fear behind – a work that was a big surprise for me, a book worth your time.
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76 of 83 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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6 of 6 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I thought it would be but worth a read., 5 April 2014
By 
Jennifer "Jen" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Paperback)
Yvonne Carmichael has a high-flying career as a Geneticist, renowned in her field. Married to Guy, with two grown up children she doesn't really want for anything. Or does she? As one day she makes the most irrational of decisions.
Whilst giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament, Yvonne meets a man and has sex with him in the secluded Chapel in the Crypt. It is the beginning of a reckless liaison and whilst Yvonne finds that keeping the two halves of her life separate seems easy at first, she eventually discovers there is more to her lover than is at first apparent and she can't control what happens next.
Apple Tree Yard is about a 52 year old woman who makes one rash choice, that ends up with her on trial at the Old Bailey charged with a serious crime and after reading the blurb on the cover, I thought this sounded right up my street .

The Prologue begins with Yvonne on trial at the Old Bailey, for what, we don't know, but it is a little teaser to intrigue the reader and it works. From there, the first chapters introduce us to Yvonne as she meets this stranger at the Houses of Parliament and embarks on a passionate affair.
The story is told in the first person and right from the start I found I didn't particularly warm to Yvonne's character and during the first few chapters I became increasingly disappointed by both her character and that of her mystery lover, a married man whose name we don't find out until near the end of the book.
This was something else which I found irritating too, as Yvonne's constant reference to him as "my love" was overused and pathetic sounding. Indeed I would have preferred her character to call him by his name and given that we do find out his name eventually, why the mystery?
Even when we discover her own husband had once been unfaithful and her son is bi-polar, I still found I could not warm to her character.

I had read about a third of this book and I was trying to ignore the disappointment I felt with it overall at this point, but I kept reading as I had a nagging feeling that it would have to get better, based upon the opening Prologue.
Whilst it wasn't exactly boring, it was far from being a page turner. Indeed the only real intrigue for me personally at this point was when I found myself wondering why Yvonne's lover had a number of mobile phones and seemed so secretive, but I very quickly decided that he must have multiple lovers as well as his wife and Yvonne.
I think the fact that I didn't particularly care about Yvonne and her lover and couldn't see where it was headed, saw me beginning to lose what little interest I had left. They both lacked emotion and were incredibly annoying and Yvonne seemed totally obsessed with her lover and naive despite her obvious intelligence.
Her lover is described as a fantasist, a person who could only manage his normal life as long as it was propped up by a series of self-flattering tales, so it annoyed me how such an intelligent, "self-aware" woman as Yvonne herself claims to be, appears so blinded and taken in by him. I can appreciate how this can happen of course and people can be taken in and blinded by love, but because I could feel no warmth or sympathy for her character it was difficult not to become annoyed by it.

Then suddenly something happened which gave me a renewed interest in Apple Tree Yard. The story picked up and I found I was intrigued again. Needing to know the answers kept me reading. I still felt little warmth towards the characters, but I became interested in the story again and from then on, my initial disappointment faded away and I became absorbed in the story.
The courtroom scenes are tense and make for quite a riveting read. I have read many courtroom sagas and found many of them to be fairly tedious and filled with complicated jargon from time to time, but that is not the case here and I give credit to the author for keeping it real and concise and at all times interesting.
The court case makes you think about how women can be judged differently from men, how they are treated by the legal system and how the truth is manipulated by barristers to try and get the verdict they seek. It also shows however, how the defendant can also try and manipulate the jury and barristers. Overall, it throws up some interesting discussion points.

There is also a final sting in the tale, a clever twist I had not foreseen, which left me thinking a lot about the story after I finished reading and appreciating it a little more too.
I am pleased I read Apple Tree Yard and although I often found the characters annoying and could not find any sympathy for them throughout, the latter part of the story made for a compelling read. I am hovering between three and four stars to rate this book so maybe 3.5 would be a more accurate rating from me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fish-hook, line and sinker!, 26 July 2013
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Hardcover)
This was a superb piece of writing; an edge of the seat courtroom drama with twists and turns of back-story, believable and necessary blind alleys and secrecy, and lots of dark undercurrents about relationships between the sexes, the casual violence and patronisation even other women can offer to each other.

There is little which can be usefully laid out in a review without spoiling the reader's journey. All I will say is that it took quite a long time for me to really realise why the central character was in that court as a defendant in a murder trial. None of Doughty's journey red-herrings were at all spurious, and the various shocks she offers are absolutely tight, believable and coherent.

Several reviewers have compared her grasp of believable psychological twisting of the reader, unfurling of character and plot, to Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell in darker, more disturbing psychological mode) For once, such an admiring comparison is accurate.

I've been disappointed recently in several sub-psychological crime/thrillers, but recommend this highly. Doughty does not manipulate any of her characters in an unbelievable way.

As long as you accept the premise that the madness of love and lust can strike any of us and make us go places which are surprising, all the rest follows

I like the elegant structure of the book which in the major sections, connects to the work of the central character, a geneticist, and how what is hidden, twisted, subterranean in the journey of the novel echoes that double helix.

This is a perfect summer (or winter holiday) read, but also leaves you thinking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, angry, must-read for women and men, 12 Feb. 2014
By 
Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Paperback)
This is an incredible book: a fantastic story, an absolutely gripping read, and a furious indictment of the way women are treated by the law and the courts. I can't praise it highly enough.

Louise Doughty is absolutely brilliant at creating tension and suspense. The story starts with a woman who is in court, obviously on trial with her lover for a very serious offence but we don't know what they're supposed to have done or why, or any details at all. The story is revealed bit by bit and it makes for compulsive reading. The details of the workings of parliaments, universities and the courts are fantastically detailed, as are the workings of the human mind.

However what will stay with me most from this book is the fury the author clearly feels (and so will every person who reads this) about the way women are humiliated, bullied, exposed and mentally assaulted by the legal system when they either instigate, or are unlucky enough to be called as witnesses, in cases where sex is involved. And this is without once mentioning the further humiliation and shame likely to be heaped on them by the press. That and the horrendous anecdote about the chimpanzees and the heated floor...

This is a staggeringly good book. It's a great story. It's amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not my usual type of book but a good story well written and compelling, 1 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Apple Tree Yard (Kindle Edition)
It was well researched and felt very real, although the events were extraordinary.
She wrote it in such a way that I could understand why a rather ordinary man could feel compelled to
Create a fantasy other life and why he would choose such a successful and apparently un available woman to be his
Companion and accomplice.
I have worked in the courts in my professional career and I am impressed at the way she conveyed the feeling of being onto either side .
I have also seen the way lawyers work and know how they spin their stories to suit their own purposes. It was all very realistic and yet not boring,which real court cases often are.
I think this book would appeal to men and women and to anyone interested in human psychology and relationships. Their Are always reasons why we do the things we do and without being heavy handed, this is shown by unravelling what extraordinary things happened to two very ordinary people when they decided to step out of their everyday lives. It is a great recommendation for monogamy! And for simplicity and for honesty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner, but frustrating., 29 July 2014
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A well written and researched book that I read very quickly and would recommend. However, I felt little sympathy for the main character, whom I struggled to like and I found the male character little more than a caricature. Maybe that was the author's intention? I have given 4 stars because I can't deny it was a page turner, even though I was frequently frustrated by the woman's actions.
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29 of 34 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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Apple Tree Yard
Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
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