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Apple Tree Yard

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  6,343 ratings  ·  905 reviews
Safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement, but you can never buy them back.

Yvonne Carmichael is a geneticist, a scientist renowned in her field but one day, she makes the most irrational of decisions. While she is giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament, she meets a man and has sex with him in the secluded Chapel in
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published 2013)
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Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty is one of those psychological thrillers that you are compelled to read by just the blurb alone.

This book tells the story of Yvonne Carmichael a woman in her fifties, married with two grown up children and a great career. One day she makes a choice that ends up putting her on trial in the Old Baily for the most serious of crimes.

When I initially picked up this book to read I was totally drawn in by the first 60-70 pages and I at this early stage was thinking this
“Relationships are about stories, not truth.” Apple Tree Yard – one of the most compelling psychological mysteries I’ve read in years – is the story about a relationship and the truths that gradually become detached from any objective reality. It is a thinking person’s book and a page-turner at the same time – a challenging feat to play off.

Yvonne Carmichael is a highly respected geneticist, married for many years to her husband Guy. Yet in an impulsive moment, she falls into n erotic affair wit
Pat Elliott
The the main protagonist was a successful scientist, an intelligent woman. She threw her intelligence aside, feeling she deserved her little fling because of how competent she'd been when her family were growing. If you want to have a tawdry fling, fine. Have it. Don't delude yourself that he is 'your love' because he isn't. Don't hold on to the delusion even after you have heard all the evidence to the contrary. It makes you unbelievable as a scientist and a person. Perhaps the point of the nov ...more
Marriage is predicated on the ability to pretend. Pretend in a myriad of little ways that you feel an interest in your partner’s day or his mother’s turn of health or the 10k he’s running this weekend. When really, what’s on your mind is making certain one of you is picking the kids up from soccer practice, the snide comment your boss made at staff meeting yesterday, the three pounds that jumped onto the scale with you this morning. But you muddle through with the smiles, the “hmmms,” and the “I ...more
One mistake, one bad judgement, can change a life forever.

Yvonne Carmichael seemed to be a woman who had everything. A successful career; she was a scientist, a geneticist, and she had climbed to the very top of her profession. A long and stable marriage, to a good man. Two children – a boy and a girl – both grown up and independent. A lovely home …

But, for all that, there was something missing. She wanted someone to look at her – not as wife, not as a mother, not as a professional – but as an i
Diane S.
There is absolutely no doubt that Doughty is a talented writer, nor that this book is well written. I willingly followed where the author led, and in the beginning of the novel, alternately tried to understand Yvonne and at times even pitied her. In her fifties, having raised two children, one who has bi-polar disorder, a husband who she had forgiven for having his own affair, a career as a geneticist at which she is very successful, but she is willing to throw it all away over a sexual affair. ...more
I have always been interested in stories about marital affairs. Don't judge me by this as I've never had one and have no intention of joining the rank and file. I'm just curious as to what happens in a marriage that causes the stray.

Apple Tree Yard seems a simple case of sex rearing its lusty head. Don't let the simple brief encounter, quick gratification fool you. It becomes much more complicated than that as it often does.

You know right from the start that the adulterers are on trial for a se
A surprisingly original and disturbing novel about a woman who embarks on an affair with disastrous consequences. Surprising, considering the description makes it sound like an average nail-biter when in fact it turns out to be much more. From the very beginning we are told that the main character is on trial as a direct result of her affair. Gradually, the events leading up to the trial are revealed.

Yvonne is a successful middle-aged geneticist, highly respected in her field and happily marrie
Colette Iacobellis
UGH! This book was maddening! I'm genuinely surprised by the multitude of glowing reviews. The technically well-written sentences are overshadowed and ultimately diminished by the most annoying protagonist/narrator of a novel I can EVER remember reading. Many fellow reviewers did comment that they found Yvonne to be a woman to whom it was difficult to relate and stated that her actions were implausible. I would add that she simply never felt like a real character to me and there was zero emotion ...more
Liz Wilkins
So, Apple Tree Yard has been sat patiently waiting on my kindle while many people have told me to get on with it, its terrific, one of the best books of the year…and so I decided it was about time I gave it a go. Do I agree with all the hype? Well. Yes.


Yvonne Carmichael is a geneticist, a scientist renowned in her field but one day, she makes the most irrational of decisions. While she is giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament, she meets a man and has sex with
Yvonne Carmichael is 52 years old' happily married and a well respected geneticist. But she will do something entirely new that will change her life forever. A seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious stranger will lead to an act so surprising for her with rough sex in a public place in the maze of inner London's lanes. The man is assured and likes to devour her like a wolf in hidden doorways that makes her recalibrate her personal life in all manner of ways.

For months Yvonne will secretly s
Craig Allen
4.5 stars! Such a tremendous book. I always dread the "Gone Girl" comparison to books but this one was in that same level type of book. Yvonne is a geneticist, early 50's, family and career until she makes a baffling decision to have an affair with a stranger. This choice spirals her life into chaos both morally and legally. I didn't know much about the plot going in and I liked that--don't read too many previews, let yourself be surprised on this one. The story unfolded at such a great pace, te ...more
When I started reading this, I wasn't in love with it - I found the writing style a bit strange (it's like a pseudo 2nd person narrative) and sparse. But somewhere along the way, it got me. It sucked me in and I finished it within the weekend (don't you love it when that happens?) I had to find out the answers to the questions introduced in the opening pages: Who is Yvonne Carmichael? Who is her lover? What violent actions have led to them to the point they've reached? And what is "Apple Tree Ya ...more
Ruth Turner
When I started reading this book I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. But because it was recommended to me I felt obligated to give it fair chance.

I didn't like the characters. To me they were flat and lacked emotion. The main character, Yvonne Carmichael really irritated me and her repeated use of "my love" made me want to choke her.

Then, about half way through, it felt like I was riding a freight train downhill with no brakes. I couldn't put the damn book down. My finger had RSI from con
Sara Nelson
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 sma ...more
Hilary G
This book deserves a really high score .... for implausibility. I just couldn’t take it seriously at all because the whole plot revolved round a premise that is about as likely meeting aliens from Alpha Centauri buying hot cross buns in your local supermarket.

I mean, I’m sure there are hundreds of wiry blokes with glasses and wavy brown hair that are irresistible babe magnets, and lots of highly educated, high-achieving, happily married women who are desperate to ---- (ahem!) in a broom cupboard
Bonnie Brody
Yvonne Carmichael, 52 years old, is a respected geneticist, married for many years with two grown children. She works for an esteemed institute called The Beaufort and is also an external examiner for graduate students. Her life is rich in many ways. Thus, it comes as a surprise to her that when she is scheduled to give a report at the House of Parliaments she notices a man who is giving her a come hither look and she begins to follow him. This begins an extraordinary affair. She doesn't even kn ...more
I was uncertain whether I was going to like this book as it took me a little while to get into it. It all seemed a little odd initially but then it really took off for me and I struggled to put it down.

Yvonne, a very well liked Geneticist, is married to Guy and they have two adult children, Carrie and Adam. Yvonne starts a shamefully quick affair with X and the story is told from the perspective of her relating past events to X as typed on her personal computer at home.

We know that a crime has
This is a page turner of a book that has some very unexpected twists, so I'll keep my description vague. Yvonne Carmichael is a successful geneticist who has been married for many years. One day she meets a stranger and impulsively begins an affair with him. Soon she becomes obsessed with her lover, despite the fact that they are both married and he is highly secretive. When something unexpected and shocking occurs in her life, the stakes will rise and events will spiral out of her control.

I lik
If I'm being totally honest, I read about 66% of this book, but only because it started getting pretty predictable so I skimmed the last third. If anything, this book taught me that you really need to have someone to route for in a story. I found the first adulterous encounter so far-fetched that I absolutely could not get on board with the rest of the story. Once the reason for the trial reveals itself, I just couldn't see why Mr. X would really fight for "justice" for Mrs. Y. The author basica ...more
I think this novel pretty much completes my own personal quartet of 'Wife' mysteries starting with GONE GIRL, to "How To Be A Good Wife", followed by "The Silent Wife" and finally "Apple Tree Yard".

A well-written mystery novel which gets to the heart of how we construct our world and how we view it, not only through our own eyes but through the eyes and motives of others. And of course, how we really choose to see what is there and what is not by lying to ourselves.

It was really interesting to
I'm terribly torn on this one. It tells the tale of the consequences that befall a middle-aged scientist when she embarks on a rash sexual adventure with a stranger, opening with her in the dock at the Old Bailey and then going back to fill in how she got there. For most of the book, I would have said that it's the best psychological thriller that I've read in ages. It was smart about people and relationships, and quite interesting and intelligent gender-wise, which is unusual in a book of this ...more
Smart, sexy, sinister.... Apple Tree Yard starts out as an illicit, sexually charged romance and ends as a suspenseful courtroom drama.

A highly educated, intelligent but also slightly naive sounding female narrator gets herself into big trouble when she embarks on a torrid affair with a stranger she meets one day through work.

Written in epistolary form to her lover, Dr Yvonne Carmichael only gives us select pieces of information, anecdotes and thoughts so that we have to keep guessing until th

Yvonne Carmichael is a middle aged married woman, a mother of two grown children, and a respected scientist. When we meet her, she is in Court – facing cross examination at the Old Bailey. As her story unfolds, we discover how, and why, she came to be there and what happened. Yvonne herself is the narrator of her story and we see everything through her eyes. Although content in her career and her marriage, life seems to have settled into a certain routine dullness. Therefore, when she is giving
Ana Camarena
I started reading this book because everyone said it was the next 'Gone girl'. I loved 'Gone girl', but I haven't loved 'Apple tree yard' at all. I’m not even too sure about the 2 stars!
Why haven't I liked it? First of all, because of the characters (and reading some other opinions I can see I'm not the only one). I only liked Guy (except for the weird knife moment). Yvonne was so annoying I couldn't feel any empathy towards her - Honestly, I didn't really care if she went to prison or not.

Larry Hoffer
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

"When you are a rational human being, with free will and agency, is there any such thing as a point of no return?"

Yvonne Carmichael is a renowned geneticist, well-established in her career. She and her husband Guy, a fellow scientist she met while in college, is loving and comfortable, and they have two adult children. One day, after testifying before a committee of Parliament on a scientific issue, she meets a man. They talk, they walk, her takes her by the arm, and lead
switterbug (Betsey)
In this genre-bending novel, Doughty creates a combination of courtroom suspense, domestic drama, and crime thriller. From the first page of the prologue, the narrator tells us that she is in the witness box in Old Bailey, a criminal courtroom in London. She is silently addressing her narration to "you," her co-defendant. Aloud, she is being interrogated by the prosecution. What crime is she accused of? And who is she?

"DNA made me and DNA undid me."

Yvonne Charmichael is a 52 year-old respected g
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Apple Tree Yard wasn't anything like what I was expecting from a cursory reading of the blurb and I think that played a part in my mixed feelings about this novel. Part psychological suspense, part courtroom drama, Apple Tree Yard explores the consequences of deceiving others, and ourselves.

Yvonne Carmichael, middle aged wife, mother and renowned geneticist, puts her comfortable life in jeopardy when she plunges into an affair with an enigmatic stranger. The relationship with the man she refers
We are the stories we tell ourselves, the narrative that allows us to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. But in a relationship, there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you.

In the opening chapters of "Apple Tree Yard: A Novel," we are seeing the effects of these stories, while listening to attorneys create their own stories about these defendants, from the view of a prosecutor, and then from the view of two separate defense attorneys. For o
Clodagh Phelan
There are books that leave you feeling a little bereaved when you have finished them. ‘Apple Tree Yard’ is one of those books. There are books that, however good they are, leave you unsatisfied by the way they are concluded. ‘Apple Tree Yard’ is not one of those books. It gripped me from the perfectly paced prologue to the very end.

When I say perfectly paced prologue I mean just that. The tension builds in the book just as it is doing in the courtroom. We follow the line of questioning without
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Louise Doughty is a novelist, playwright and critic. She is the author of five novels; CRAZY PAVING, DANCE WITH ME, HONEY-DEW, FIRES IN THE DARK and STONE CRADLE, and one work of non-fiction A NOVEL IN A YEAR. She has also written five plays for radio. She has worked widely as a critic and broadcaster in the UK, where she lives, and was a judge for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for fiction.

More about Louise Doughty...
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“We discovered that safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement but you can never buy them back.” 3 likes
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