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Apple Tree Yard Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,332 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571297889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571297887
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,332 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Once you start you can't stop reading. Terrific. (Helen Dunmore)

There can't be a woman alive who hasn't once realised, in a moment of panic, that she's in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man. Louise Doughty, more sure-footed with each novel, leads her unnerved reader into dark territory. A compelling and bravely-written book. (Hilary Mantel)

Brilliant. Thrilling, thought provoking & utterly addictive. (SJ Watson)

Brilliant and bruising. Obsession, betrayal and blood-letting... (Ian Rankin)

A superb novel. Grown-up, genuinely suspenseful, wonderfully well-constructed, intelligent and provocative. I really didn't want to finish it. And I don't say that very often. (Julie Myerson)

Just finished Apple Tree Yard ... Realised I'd been holding my breath for last 40 pages. Gripping. (Val McDermid)

Doughty is a brilliant storyteller who knows how to build the suspense to breaking point. (The Times)

A compelling cautionary tale of what happens when fantasy begins to occlude real life. "The trouble with stories is, they are addictive," Doughty states. In this case, she may never have written a truer word. (Guardian)

Intelligent and captivating, Apple Tree Yard makes you realise how one bad decision can change the course of your life forever. (Stylist)

Apple Tree Yardis a chilling novel, in part because of the unsparing light it shines on our ability to deceive ourselves. Doughty has a particular gift for unsettling stories, for making us ask difficult questions of ourselves, our own relationships and choices, and this is her strongest book yet. It's not a comfortable read, but it is entirely compelling. (Stephanie Merritt Observer)

Taut and psychologically persuasive ... A disquieting, perceptive and gripping read. (Daily Mail)

Guaranteed to have you on the edge of your sun-lounger. (Hilary Mantel, Observer Best Summer Reads)

Gripping. (Sunday Times)

Welcome to Louise Doughty's world in which individuals are complex and fallible ... Doughty drops sharp, shiver-inducing insights, like winter raindrops, on every page ... The story is compelling but Doughty makes sure that we're enthralled by teasing us with tantalising glimpses of future events ... Her writing is piercing and potent, overpowering emotions captured in sharp, pithy phrases ... The court scene is one fo the best I've ever read, the suspense and tension building to a taut peak ... Riveting. (Independent on Sunday)

So, so good. (Jojo Moyes)

If a prologue to a novel is to whet the reader's appetite, Louise Doughty provides irresistible temptation with the opening of Apple Tree Yard... A compelling read ... Recollection, interspersed with the growing tension as the trial plays out in the Old Bailey, provides a perfectly dovetailed structure. But within the thriller framework lies a wealth of acutely observed detail, a dissection of social attitudes and an examination of lust, trust, predatory sex, risky behaviour and responsibility ... there is considerably more to Apple Tree Yard than thrilling narrative alone. (Herald)

Doughty's daringly constructed psychological-cum-courtroom thriller is compelling. (Daily Mail Best Summer Reads)

Amazing ... Aspiring writers of psychological thrillers, I urge you to study the prologue which is a MASTERCLASS in how to create suspense. (Erin Kelly)

Tense, unnerving and gripping. (Woman and Home)

A brilliant drama highlighting disquieting questions of consent and moral judgement. (Sainsbury's Magazine)

A brilliant, gripping novel. (Jenni Murray)

Impossible not to read whole thing in one sitting. (Polly Samson)

An absolute cracker of a novel. (John Boyne)

Really gripping, actually made me lose sleep. (Daisy Goodwin)

I find Louise Doughty to be an excellently dark, angry, risky writer. (Marian Keyes)

Doughty writes with consummate pacing and psychological acuity, bringing fresh force to a common regret of adulterous lovers. (New Yorker)

Spellbinding. (, Spring's Ten Best Suspense Novels)

Ingenious and disturbing. Great read. (Francesca Simon)

Read until 2am to finish it. Once you start, you just have to keep reading to find out. (Emma Brockes)

Tearful and awed. It's brilliant. (Claire McGowan)

Troubling, well-crafted, unease-making courtroom drama. (Damian Barr)

Certainly not typical thriller territory, but all the more appealing and unexpected for it. I loved this slow burner of a story which ignites into a nail-biting finale ... Full of sharp, yet almost throwaway observations about women and careers, the differences between men and women, about love and long-term relationships, this book was nothing like what I expected. This was a fascinating read, reminiscent of Nicci French in top form, yet with an added twinge of melancholy. (

Nobody who reads Apple Tree Yard is likely to complain about feeling short-changed ... Here the sharp domestic details are powerfully combined with (among other things) a dark crime thriller, a gripping courtroom drama and an unforced meditation on the pleasures and dangers of self-deception ... Superbly teasing. (Readers Digest)

Book Description

A stunning psychological thriller about a respected female scientist and the single reckless decision that leads to her standing trial for murder.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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’.
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1 Comment 73 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: 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.
3 Comments 94 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: 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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