Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
'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
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.
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.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Doughty's (Whatever You Love) masterly psychological suspense novel finds 52-year-old geneticist Yvonne Carmichael on trial for murder along with the man with whom she has been having an affair. As she reflects back to tell the story, in letters she writes to her lover (initially known only as "X"), the tale reveals a trail of sexual passion, obsession, secrecy, and calamity. Narrator Juliet Stevenson's delivery is mesmerizing, perfectly capturing the nuances of the main character and offering distinct vocal characterizations of the secondary players. -verdict Fans of the genre should not miss this riveting tour de force. ["This is a thinking person's Gone Girl, with a British flavor, about the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell about ourselves," read the review of the Sarah Crichton: Farrar hc, LJ 11/1/13.]-Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Riveting from the opening scene of geneticist Yvonne Carmichael on the stand being cross-examined-at what readers will eventually discover is her trial at London's Old Bailey, along with her lover, for murder-this taut British psychological thriller from Doughty (Whatever You Love) boasts just about everything a mystery lover could want, except a truly likable protagonist. Which proves to be a problem in the case of narrator Yvonne, a successful scientist who, at age 52, gambles her marriage, family, career, and future on what starts as furtive sex with a stranger in a secluded chapel beneath the Houses of Parliament, and progresses to something approaching folie a deux. It's even more of an issue with her paramour, known initially as "X," a man whose true nature she discovers only after it is too late. Eventually, even Doughty's cunningly constructed and cannily revealed plot can't camouflage the emotional void at what should be Apple Tree's core. Agent: Anthony Harwood, Anthony Harwood Ltd. (U.K.). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Wrong place, wrong time, wrong man. For respected scientist Yvonne Carmichael, her split-second and totally uncharacteristic decision to engage in a harmless bit of flirtation with a charismatic stranger is one that will ultimately have fatal repercussions. Self-described as a bit of a middle-aged frump mired in a stolid and sexless marriage, Yvonne leaps at the chance for risky romance with a man who exudes an air of danger and mystery. Is he a spy for MI5 or a high-powered politician? The sex-crazed Mr. X plays his cards close to the vest, but when Yvonne is savagely raped by a sadistic colleague, he is the only one she can turn to when her attacker continues to stalk her. When their plan for revenge results in murder, Yvonne and her lover find themselves at cross purposes at their tabloid-fodder trial in the venerable Old Bailey courtroom. Spellbinding, shocking, seductive, and wickedly intense, the latest literary work from top British author and columnist Doughty (Whatever You Love, 2012) is a knockout novel with thriller undertones.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Sex with an anonymous stranger blows apart a British scientist's carefully ordered life in London resident Doughty's seventh novel (Whatever You Love, 2010, etc.). We know from the beginning that narrator Yvonne Carmichael is on trial, but we don't know for what, and we don't know why she reacts with panic when a barrister begins asking her about a London back alley called Apple Tree Yard. We learn its significance as she unfolds the story of her affair with a man who observes her testifying before a parliamentary committee, strikes up a conversation in the corridor and leads her to a secluded area where they have sex. She doesn't even know his name, yet they continue having sex for months, most recklessly "in Picadilly, in the rush hour, with a thousand people hurrying by a few meters away"--in Apple Tree Yard, that is, just before Yvonne goes to a professional party where she gets drunk and is brutally raped by a colleague, George Craddock. She can't tell the police, since a physical exam would find semen inside her not belonging to her assailant; she can't tell her husband, Guy, "because too much was at stake, our home, our happiness, our children." Yvonne still loves Guy and, until this affair, hadn't quite realized how tired she was of their responsible, respectable union. So she tells her lover, who has hinted he works for MI5, and goes along with him when he promises to "frighten the living daylights out of [George]." This violent encounter sends them both to the dock, where she finally learns her lover's name and the extent of his deceit and betrayal. But Yvonne is no helpless victim; her narration reveals anger and vengefulness, as well as vulnerability and fear. The slightly anticlimactic trial outcome isn't as interesting as the adult ambiguities Doughty unravels in smooth, sinuous prose, leading to two shocking yet credible final revelations. Brooding, emotionally complex and powerful.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.