Apple Tree Yard - Louise Doughty

Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she's a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who's sitting across from her, watching: a man who's also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.


Review: When I noticed this book massively dividing opinion on Rick O'Shea's bookclub, I knew I had to read it asap just to see which side of the debate I'd sit on. On average, when I read a book for this reason, I come down on the side of those who didn't enjoy it. Not sure why, but there you go.

This book was an exception! I actually thoroughly enjoyed Apple Tree Yard. Now, me saying that is slightly conditional.My enjoyment of ATY kind of came in two waves - first, the intial pleasure of reading writing that is about 98% awesome (the other 2% consists of 'my love' being thrown all over the shop, which eventually stops making any sense) and speculating about all kinds of awesome that might be in store. There was a brief lull, maybe halfway through, when I realised this book was going to be far less thrilling than I had hoped, and a lot more ordinary. However, once I accepted that, and got into the swing of the courtroom section of the book, the second wave of enjoyment of good writing hit. I really enjoyed the lead up to discovering the significance of Apple Tree Yard, which was mostly suspence, and then I really enjoyed reading the courtroom proceedings, despite already knowing exactly where it was all going.

Now, the characters aren't spectacular. In fact, the primary thing the book has going for it really is the writing, and possibly its depiction of place - I've never felt like I've 'seen' London before in a novel. Native or local Londoners may scoff at me for that, but I don't scare. In most negative reviews I've read, its dislike and incredulity regarding the main character which put readers off. I can understand that, for sure. I didn't dislike the main character, but she definitely ranged from unrelatable to outright inconsistent. What can I say, I loved the writing. Loved it.

Rating: 4/5

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