What’s it all about?:
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 in the secluded Chapel in the Crypt. It’s the beginning of a reckless liaison, but there is more to her lover than is at first apparent – as Yvonne discovers when the affair spins out of control and leads inexorably to violence.
Apple Tree Yard is about a woman who makes one rash choice that ends up putting her on trial at the Old Bailey for the most serious of crimes. Like the highly acclaimed Whatever You Love, it is part literary investigation of personal morality, part psychological thriller.
What did WE think?:
CHRISSI: Did the book grab you immediately, or did it take a while for you to connect with the story? Did you ever connect with the story?
BETH: When the novel opens, Yvonne is in court charged for an offence committed with an unnamed man. We aren’t told immediately what has happened, and it is a while before we find out which intrigued me from the start and made me want to continue reading. As for connecting with the story, I don’t think I felt any real empathy for the characters themselves although they were interesting enough to make me want to carry on with the story.
BETH: Was this book what you expected or did it surprise you in any way?
CHRISSI: I’m not sure what I expected from this book as I went into it not knowing much about it. From reading the synopsis, I thought it was going to be more of a psychological thriller but I actually got a courtroom drama/thriller feel out of it. So, it didn’t really surprise me in any way. Despite the promising start, I didn’t start to become intrigued by the book until the last quarter. I think this is because I didn’t really find the characters believable as much as I wanted to. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. It’s not a bad book. It just didn’t grab me.
CHRISSI: Do you think that the outcome to the story is inevitable as soon as Yvonne starts the affair, or do you think there was still a point up to which things could have been different?
BETH: I didn’t really know what the outcome was going to be, to be honest it could have gone either way depending on what the author wanted to do. What was interesting for me as to how my opinions changed about our main character Yvonne throughout the novel. It was like the author was deliberately swaying me one way or another, and to be honest I’m still not sure how I feel about her!
BETH: What did you think of the way in which the characters were presented?
CHRISSI: This is an interesting question. I think part of the reason that I didn’t connect with this book, was because I didn’t really connect with the characters. I don’t always have to like a character, but I usually like to find something about them that intrigues me, or makes me realise why they act the way they do. I can’t quite make up my mind on my thoughts about Yvonne. She’s certainly complex. Credit to Louise Doughty for that! I didn’t think Yvonne’s lover came across very well. I think the most likeable character was Yvonne’s husband, Guy. He put up with so much.
CHRISSI: Discuss the ending of the book, and what you see Yvonne’s future to be now?
BETH: I don’t really want to give too much away about the ending in the book, but I felt dreadful sympathy towards Yvonne and how much she has changed as a person through the events she experienced. It was quite hard to read about her husband Guy, and the unconditional support he gave her despite what she did. As for her future, it’s hard to say, I don’t think that she would be able to go back into such a high-powered role career wise, and there is a risk that she could spiral into depression.
BETH: Were there parts of this book you didn’t enjoy? Why?
CHRISSI: As I mentioned, I didn’t really get pulled in by the book until the last quarter of it, despite the promising beginning. I think for me, the characters weren’t very believable and I didn’t become invested in their story. I was intrigued enough to keep reading, of course, so again, it’s not a bad book. I think it’s one that will definitely be a good book club read. There is a lot to discuss within the book.
CHRISSI: Would you read another book from this author?
BETH: Yes, I would. I enjoyed this novel and thought the telling of it was very unique. I’ve already got the authors Costa Award nominated book Whatever You Love on my Kindle and hope to get to it fairly soon!
BETH: Do you think Yvonne has learned anything by the end of this novel?
CHRISSI: Yvonne’s life is a bit of a train wreck. I think she did learn something by the end of the novel. I think a lot of it was self-discovery.
Would WE recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):