Review: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Title: Apple Tree Yard

Author: Louise Doughty

Published: Faber  July 2013

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from July 19 to 20, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy of Allen & Unwin}

My Thoughts:

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 to as ‘X’ begins as a passionate and exciting diversion from respectability but quickly descends into a nightmare of violence and betrayal.

Apple Tree Yard opens with Yvonne being cross examined as she sits in the dock of the Old Bailey. I have never been a fan of prologues and in this instance I think it serves as a spoiler, rather than simply an effective hook.

The narrative is written largely in the first person but moves back and forth through time revealing Yvonne’s personal history, the development of the affair and the courtroom drama that follows, examining choice and consequence.

I didn’t much like Yvonne though I thought she made for an interesting character. Doughty thoughtfully explores the choices Yvonne makes, the ways in which she interprets and rationalises her behaviour and the behaviour of others, especially that of X. Apple Tree Yard is not only about lust and adultery but also about the way in which we see ourselves.

“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…. but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself, and their story about you.”p329

I have to admit the first quarter or so of this novel was a bit of a struggle for me, and I thought there was a distinct lack of tension present overall. Yet Apple Tree Yard is an interesting story, offering insightful observations about the complexities of who we believe we are and what we are capable of.

Available to Purchase from

Allen&Unwin I Boomerang Books I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko

Amazon UK i Amazon US I BookDepository

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty | Cleopatra Loves Books

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