Apple Tree Yard - Louise Doughty

January 4, 2019

5 / 5 Stars


Fabulously well-written and clever as hell.

This book was a charity shop find, and I had no idea what to expect really; only that I'd heard it was good, and vaguely knew of a TV adaptation (which I'll HAVE to watch now...).


Yvonne is a successful scientist with a seemingly perfect life. She's got a solid marriage, two children and she's relatively affluent. She also occasionally advises at parliament, which is when she meets a man she refers mostly to as 'You'. Throughout the book, she aims the narrative at 'you', which renders the reader complicit in the action (very clever indeed). 

She embarks on an affair, which is filled with the usual frisson of forbidden excitement and panic at getting caught. Then, disaster strikes at a party. Yvonne has a hideous encounter with another man and her lover decides to get revenge. This would all be fine, had he not taken things too far...

So, what is this book exactly? It's not a thriller, nor is it a crime drama or piece of literary fiction. Instead, it's a highly readable page-turner of a book, examining not only one woman's reaction to an affair, an assault and a court case; but also the reactions of those around her - how society reacts to these things too. 

Thanks to the strong narrative voice, it was also impossible to put down. The author manages to place the reader right inside Yvonne's head, but minus any emotional twaddle - it's very clear-concise and occasionally brutal in its practicality. I loved this; it was refreshing to have a bold, no-nonsense female protagonist exhibiting traits that are conventionally associated with male characters (yawn). 

If you're looking for a gripping yarn, definitely give this one a go.


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