Monday, August 11, 2014

Apple Tree Yard

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, published in 2013, is one of the books I downloaded to my Kindle awhile back. One of my goals for the summer was to read more of the books on my Kindle, but so far, this is the only book I've read. I can't help it--I love holding an actual book in my hand!

Apple Tree Yard, part thriller and part courtroom drama, is the story of successful 52 year old geneticist, Yvonne Carmichael. She is married to Guy, also a geneticist, and they have two grown children and live in London. She has spent her life doing the right thing and is starting to regret it.

Yvonne goes to Parliament to testify before a select committee. She meets a man who claims to have a security job there, and the attraction she feels for him is so strong that she gives in to this passion in an encounter with him in a broom closet. She finds this very exciting, and part of the excitement is that she doesn't know his name. We don't find out his name until about halfway through the novel.

The affair she embarks on becomes her undoing. Although she thinks she is good at leading a double life, she learns that a co-worker is on to her. The co-worker is a vile man who does something horrendous which sets into motion the murder that Yvonne and her lover are on trial for at the Old Bailey when the novel begins.

Yvonne is the narrator of the story, telling the events of the trial and revealing more through letters that she writes to her lover. Yvonne's life is not what it appears to be. Her son is bi-polar which has presented challenges for her and her family, and her marriage is loveless and complicated.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, Doughty does a brilliant job with the scenes at the Old Bailey in her portrayals of the major players and their motivations. These scenes were compelling and tightly written, and they were what made me want to keep reading.

On the other hand, I had a problem with Yvonne. It was hard to comprehend how such a successful and intelligent woman could make such bad decisions. I understand that Yvonne's personal life is so dismal that she needs a little excitement. But she puts her trust in her lover even though she knows little about him. Certain truths come out about this man in the course of the trial, and Yvonne learns the hard way what a mistake she has made.

I spent the book feeling sorry for Yvonne. I can't recommend Apple Tree Yard.

Have you read Apple Tree Yard? What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. Maybe because I do know the areas in London this books plays in. I think the author got the tension just right and revealing what we need to know at the right times within the story. You are right about Yvonne though. It is a bit like 'YOU DID WHAT?' isn't it. I'm also not sure if I can understand her husband? Would you really stand by your wife?