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Apple Tree Yard

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  22,400 ratings  ·  2,050 reviews
Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she's a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who's sitting across from her, watching: a man who's also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must pi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 6th 2013 by Faber and Faber
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Karen Sweeney He actually said, “I never did tell them.” I watched with closed captioning on & the caption was incorrect and should have read as I noted.
Robin You certainly didn't miss it. My feeling is that the lover only became his real self, a rather ordinary man with a name during the trial. This is when…moreYou certainly didn't miss it. My feeling is that the lover only became his real self, a rather ordinary man with a name during the trial. This is when we (and Yvonne) learn his name. The real man is not an X of spook background but an ordinary man who fantasizes and has drawn Yvonne into his fantasy (as he has done other women). Lest this be seen as making Yvonne a fool to have become embroiled, she, too , has embellished her background and achievements. She, too is an ordinary person who enjoys the fantasy life they have together until reality overtakes them - then both are ordinary, named people in the dock.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,400 ratings  ·  2,050 reviews

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"Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works fine as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you."

From the start, we are presented with a story that will be unraveled one small fragment
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Charlotte May
“Three decades of being the most respectable science professional or suburban mother count for nothing set against one fuck in a doorway.”

3.5 ⭐️

Ok, so the first 100 pages or so I was bored, I wasn’t invested. It was just a middle aged woman meeting a stranger and forming an obsessive extra martial affair where they would have sex everywhere from the Houses of Parliament, a cathedral and an alley during rush hour called Apple Tree Yard.

Once I got into part 2 though things became a lot more in
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“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
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Exceptional book, the writing it exquisite and meaningful, the characters portrayed like real people, believable (contrary to other reviews). This book outlines so clearly how every decision we make in our lives leads to an outcome, wanted or not.

The plot is clever, the book pulls you in bit by bit, almost gently until you are hooked turning page after page to see the story unravel and reveal itself, right to the final reveal on the last page.

I loved this book, especially as in the beginning it
Andrew Smith
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As this story begins we meet Dr Yvonne Carmichael, a London based geneticist. She is, we will learn, so expert and well respected in her field that she is invited to speak at parliamentary select committees. Yvonne is middle-aged, married to Guy, another scientist, and has two grown-up children. Yet incongruously, she’s sat in the dock at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. We’re not yet aware of the charge she’s facing, but it must be serious. And to make matters wo ...more
Pat Elliott
Jan 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Julie Christine
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
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
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
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This I have watched as a film and read the book.

I much preferred the film.
Liz Barnsley
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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

Description: Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she's a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who's sitting across from her, watching: a man who's also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has ch
Hilary G
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 as 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 cupbo
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Mysteries, Legal thrillers, Suspense and just great books in general.
“We discovered that safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement but you can never buy them back.”
― Louise Doughty, Apple Tree Yard

Stunningly good. 4.5 stars.

TRIGGER WARNING:.. Very graphic rape scene.

You know how many a thriller lets one down? Not Apple Tree Yard. Exceptionally well written, dark, brooding and riveting, this is a must read for all Suspense fans.

When the book opens, we learn that Yvonne is on trial for murder. The book switches back in time to show
Kevin Ansbro
The book is well written and starts promisingly.
However, I saw the 'twists' a mile off
(it pains me to say this)
I found it difficult to have any sympathy for Yvonne Carmichael, the main character who, despite being a high-flying, intelligent businesswoman, naively gets herself into such a sordid, hopeless muddle.
Sara Nelson
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Man this was good. Different for me, but so good. A 14 hour audio & im just sorry it’s over! Not a lot of big bangs or twists & turns, just exceptional writing- I hung on every word. Then that ending! Phew. I wouldn’t call this so much a thriller, more a domestic drama or even a character study. It really is more then that though.. The characters are human, loving & wonderful, but weak & flawed. & there was just enough intrigue to keep you hooked.. Definitely a compelling, hauntingly realistic s ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very creepy but compelling story that slowly unravels as the tension builds, with some twists I did not see coming. If I had the time, I would have read it in one sitting. So good!!
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bonnie Brody
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Ruth Turner
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
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 co
Larry H
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Listened to in audio format.

I bought this audio book in an Audible sale a couple of years ago. After reading the synopsis I decided the book wasn't for me and left it at the bottom of my TBR pile.

I finally dusted this off my virtual book shelf when Apple Tree Yard was dramatized on television. All credit to the author the plot was sensational, I would never of guessed how the story would play out.

The story begins with scientist Yvonne Carmichael on trial at The Old Bailey. Yvonne had a sexual en
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
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
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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.

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