‘Don’t tell them about Apple Tree Yard, don’t tell them about us. No one has any way of knowing. Nothing is written down’.
Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children. Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and, on impulse, begins a passionate affair with him – a decision that will put everything she values at risk.
At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can’t control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.
Apple Tree Yard is both a psychological thriller and an insightful examination of the values we all live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.
About the author…
Louise Doughty is the author of seven novels, including Apple Tree Yard, published by Faber & Faber UK. So far, rights have sold in fourteen territories worldwide. Apple Tree Yard is her first novel since Whatever You Love, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non- fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her hugely popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC.
I'm a member of a book group and this book was chosen by the host of our next meeting which will be on Tuesday 7th January. I'll be very interested to hear if everyone shares the same thought as me.
I swing between chick lit and psychological thrillers, two extremes which equally satisfy. As I had read quite a few christmassy themed chick lit novels in December I was craving grit and looking forward to reading Apple Tree Yard.
It didn't disappoint, I was hooked from the first page. The book begins towards the end of a court case at The Old Bailey. The narrator is in the person in the dock, just realising their fate. At this stage it's not known who or what this case is about but I couldn't help feeling deep empathy - Louise Doughty's description of the accused had my heart beating faster and I was only on the prologue!
Through a series of flashbacks Louise takes us back to where it all began when super confident Yvonne Carmichael first meets the man who takes control of her totally, her life and her every waking thought. She wasn't consciously unhappy with her life yet the speed at which she is sucked into an affair suggests to me sub-consciously she was.
Louise Doughty's research was clearly very thorough and her writing style dragged me straight into Yvonne's life as if she was someone I knew yet a chapter later I didn't know her at all. Hat's off to you Louise. As I progressed through the book I read faster and faster devouring each chapter trying to second guess where the story was going. For every bit I understood there was twice as much I didn't which kept me glued.
I don't think I've ever come across an author who describes a scene in such detail then suddenly ends it in a short sentence to change direction at the same time keeping me glued to the page. Superb!
I was saddened when the pages ran out on this book - but Louise left me thinking. I would lay down my life for my family - or would I?
I highly recommend this book and I will be seeking out more from Louise Doughty.