Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Faber & Faber (paperback), 2013  

434 pages

This is a library book borrowed from The Mitchell Library (


Yvonne Carmichael has a high-flying career, a beautiful home and a good marriage.

But when she meets a stranger she is drawn into a passionate affair.

Keeping the two halves of her life separate seems easy at first.

But she can’t control what happens next… 


The moment builds; it swells and builds – the moment when I realise we have lost. The young barrister, Ms Bonnard is on her feet in front of me; a small woman, as you probably remember, auburn hair beneath the judicial wig. Her gaze is cool, her voice light. Her black robes look chic rather than sinister. She radiates calm, believability. I have been in the witness box two days now and I am tired; really tired. Later, I will understand that Ms Bonnard chose this time of day deliberately. She wasted quite a lot of time earlier in the afternoon, asking about my education, my hobbies. She has been down so many different avenues that at first I am not alert to the fact that this new line of questioning has significance. The moment builds slowly; it swells to its climax. 


I thought Apple Tree Yard was great. Doughty offers something quite unique and pleasantly surprising. A large chunk of the novel, more than half deals with 50-something happily married Yvonne’s illicit affair with someone who is not named for over 300 pages. The fling offers her the risky sex and danger her marriage does not. Doughty implies something unpleasant happens during the course of the affair by including little flash forwards to Yvonne and her lover being on trial for murder. Doughty does not reveal just how this turn of events come about until more than halfway through Apple Tree Yard. I loved the way Doughty builds tension and surprises me at every turn. Yvonne is someone it is easy to sympathise with. She loves her husband but they haven’t had sex in three years. Her lover offers her excitement and adventure and a chance to be a bad girl. What woman can resist? I really liked Yvonne. I found her addiction to her lover fascinating to read. I could relate to an extent to her dilemma. I’ve never had an affair and would like to think I never would but I’ve been in a relationship in the past where my addiction and obsession with my lover caused me to be behave out of character and my life to spin out of control. I loved the moment when Yvonne’s life spins out of control. Doughty took me by surprise. I knew something happened that would lead to murder. I had every scenario running through my head but the one Doughty chose. When terrible events are sent in motion my jaw hit the floor. I was gripped all the way through Apple Tree Yard. The pages burned as I raced through them. I wanted to read this when I read a really good review in the latest issue of MsLexia magazine. Apple Tree Yard is a great, original read. I now want to read Doughty’s novel Whatever You Love.




goes to the woods

Reasons She Goes To The Woods by Deborah Kay Davies



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