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Apple Tree Yard: A Novel Hardcover – January 14, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374105677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374105679
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2014: A 52-year-old woman begins an affair with a mysterious man she meets by chance, and soon both she and the lover are on trial for murder. How does such a thing happen to a married woman of maturity and gravitas, a renowned scientist whose first encounter with her lover took place in the halls of Parliament, where she had just testified before a government committee? In this masterful novel by British journalist/novelist/playwright Louise Doughty, every page builds the case that it’s often the smartest among us who invent the most unreliable stories about ourselves, and how it’s possible--likely, even--for essentially good solid people to do bad and stupid things. Less about torturous plot twists than slow, dawning revelations--and mercifully short on moralizing--this intelligent, sexy, grown-up thriller explores the power of desire and its consequences. --Sara Nelson

From Booklist

Wrong place, wrong time, wrong man. For respected scientist Yvonne Carmichael, her split-second and totally uncharacteristic decision to engage in a harmless bit of flirtation with a charismatic stranger is one that will ultimately have fatal repercussions. Self-described as a bit of a middle-aged frump mired in a stolid and sexless marriage, Yvonne leaps at the chance for risky romance with a man who exudes an air of danger and mystery. Is he a spy for MI5 or a high-powered politician? The sex-crazed Mr. X plays his cards close to the vest, but when Yvonne is savagely raped by a sadistic colleague, he is the only one she can turn to when her attacker continues to stalk her. When their plan for revenge results in murder, Yvonne and her lover find themselves at cross purposes at their tabloid-fodder trial in the venerable Old Bailey courtroom. Spellbinding, shocking, seductive, and wickedly intense, the latest literary work from top British author and columnist Doughty (Whatever You Love, 2012) is a knockout novel with thriller undertones. --Carol Haggas

Customer Reviews

A well written story.
Wilhelmina Zeitgeist
Really enjoyed this book,,, kept me hooked thru out..... While I felt a few issues were just skimmed over, would still recommend.
This book will keep you turning pages.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull on July 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Nitty's Mom TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I cannot think of a better way to start 2014. Louise Doughty nailed it perfectly with her flawless prose, superb character development and her original storyline. Apple Tree Yard delivers a literary thriller, psychologically nuanced with a compelling courtroom drama all expertly combined to make for a page-turning journey.

In the prologue we learn that Yvonne's (Y ) and her lover (X) are on trial. and their fates will be determined in the dock of Old Bailey in London We initially are not aware of what the charges are against them. This we learn as Yvonne begins the twisting and winding course that has brought her to this crossroads.

Yvonne Carmichael is 52 year old Geneticist at the top of her game. She is happily married and has two grown children. While she has lived through heart-break she is in control of her life. That is until her chance meeting with a charismatic and secretive man in the House of Parliament, turns into a precarious affair. As Yvonne tells her lover in this cautionary tale, this can happen to anyone.

"I need you to know this was not normal for me, and if you
had tried a year before or a year later, or simply when I was
in a different mood, it would never have happened. You caught
me at the precise moment I was ripe for it."

Unfortunately, the affair leaves Yvonne vulnerable to receiving justice for an act of violence that is not her fault. Yvonne's story is cleverly told in the first person narrative, as if she is speaking to her lover. Very similar to the novel "sister" which was told in the form of an open letter.

I cannot imagine anyone not liking this novel. Perhaps the difference between a 4 or 5 star review depends on how you feel about Yvonne.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By weathered1 VINE VOICE on December 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What makes this an effective mystery, in my view, is that it is delivered to the reader by a clever device: it’s as though Yvonne is telling the story and her background to her lover. In that way, information is revealed in drips and drabs, she drops hints about pertinent events in her past that she’ll get around to talking about later, and the timeline jumps all over the place for most of the story. I think this was a smart decision on the author’s part because the reader is constantly wondering what’s going on, what is the nature of the criminal act with which Yvonne and her lover have been charged, how they went from embarking on a risky affair to being on trial, and of course, how it’s all going to end.

When you’re reading this, you feel compelled to keep turning the pages to find out the answers to all of those questions. The journey on which Louise Doughty takes her readers is one filled with darkness, yearning, infidelity, love (or obsession) at first sight, betrayals, revenge, and violence. It offers a peek into the mind of a middle-aged wife and mother as she makes the choice to have an affair, why she believes she made that choice, and its repercussions. It also eventually becomes a very interesting study of a court case, as we’re given the chance to see the ins and outs of the trial- the prosecution’s strategy, the problems that come with having two defendants each having their own representation, stall tactics, and a fair amount of surprise testimony.

There are a lot of twists (most of which are actually intriguing) throughout this story, up to the very end, and I give the author a lot of credit for writing a mystery with the power to truly keep readers guessing, because that is quite a feat in today’s day and age.
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