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Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty
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Apple Tree Yard (2013)

by Louise Doughty

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4003126,709 (3.62)41
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    Rupture by Simon Lelic (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Entirely different stories of course, but both examine the danger/violence that exists in ordinary society, I was constantly reminded of one while reading the other
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    The Silent Wife by A. S. A Harrison (fountainoverflows)
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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
The novel opens with Yvonne on trial at the Old Bailey and being questioned by her co-defendant's barrister. All we really know at this stage is that she has been having an affair. The story of the period leading up to the trial is (very) gradually revealed and is interspersed with scenes set in court.

This novel was engrossing and intriguing, although I found Yvonne's character (and she is really the only person we get to know from the inside) rather difficult to grasp - she was a reasonably convincing scientist, but I never believed in her as a mother, despite the fact that she repeatedly referenced the career sacrifices she made for her children. The choices she made and in particular the head-in-the-sand approach she took to her lover's secrecy seemed odd. The dilemma she found herself in in relation to reporting George Craddock was well-done and those scenes very upsetting.

Thought-provoking and with an excellent twist at the end ( )
  pgchuis | Feb 20, 2017 |
Apple Tree Yard is one of those thrillers that grabs you from the beginning and never lets up. It is suspenseful, the kind of book that tempts you to peek at the back page to see if everyone makes it out alive, so to speak. But of course, you don’t do that. Instead you stay up all night reading.

Yvonne Carmichael is a renowned scientist, one involved in mapping the human genome. She is married to man who loves her and whom she loves, empty nesters who are both at the top of their careers. Almost on a whim, she is seduced by a mysterious stranger. They pursue a passionate affair that is heightened by his air of mystery and control. It is reckless and risky, and perhaps a man like that could be dangerous.

But the danger comes from elsewhere, shocking, devastating, and awful. Yvonne’s response is exactly how most women would respond, how they do respond according to all the statistics. Of course, it does not end there and Yvonne seeks support from her man of mystery–with even more consequential results.

I don’t think Louise Doughty was trying to write “the” feminist novel, but she certainly has written one that will, I hope, give people insight into the challenges women face. Louise makes choices, choices with long-term serious and even violent consequences, but those choices are rational recognitions of the position of women, even powerful, successful women, in society.

There is a scene in the courtroom when a female officer gives testimony. Her testimony is undercut because of her association, however, unwilling, with the accused. It was a microcosm of how women are shamed and diminished even when they are the victims. Yvonne understands that, not just as a woman, but as someone who is analytical, who understands the evolutionary power of biological determinism when it is hand in hand with social mores. It makes for fascinating reading, her detached analysis of her own trial.

I loved Apple Tree Yard. It’s a fast-paced, character driven story narrated by a woman who is on trial for murder. There are a lot of twists between her giving testimony in her trial in that first chapter and the shocking revelation at the end, but they are all fair and all very credible.

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/apple-tree-yard/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Sep 20, 2016 |
Apologies, no time to write a full review. Suffice to say that I just loved this book. Cliché time - I just couldn't put it down. I'm looking forward to reading the more of her books. Highly recommended. ( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
This was a mixed bag. The central core of the story (I won't spoil what it is) was very well written. The intrigue and court drama that surrounded it was a little far fetched, a little slight. The central core really affected me emotionally. The rest of it irritated me. ( )
  missizicks | Jul 14, 2016 |
The suspense definitely went up a few notches once the trial got underway but by then it was well past the halfway point of the book. Maybe I would have felt the psychological tension more if I'd had a stronger connection to the enigmatic 'You' but that just didn't happen. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Doughtyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kagan, AbbyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munday, OliverCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The moment builds; it swells and builds - the moment when I realise we have lost.
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Haiku summary
in the dock,
the most scathing scrutiny
isn't from the jury,
it's from herself,
for a life half-lived

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571297889, Hardcover)

"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). "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). "Once you start you can't stop reading. Terrific". (Helen Dunmore). 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 a psychological thriller about one woman's adultery and an insightful examination of the values we live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

'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… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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