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Apple Tree Yard

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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 pi 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.


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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 pi 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.

30 review for Apple Tree Yard

  1. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    "Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works fine as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you." From the start, we are presented with a story that will be unraveled one small fragment "Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works fine as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you." From the start, we are presented with a story that will be unraveled one small fragment at a time. Yvonne Carmichael is middle-aged, married, and a distinguished geneticist. Her story begins with her sitting in the dock at the Old Bailey in London, on trial for a crime for which we have yet to learn. The narrative is told in Yvonne’s voice, but a voice which doesn’t address the reader. Instead she addresses someone else sitting in the dock: her co-accused. We get a brief glimpse of the trial and almost immediately become cognizant of two facts – the trial has taken a turn for the worse and the two defendants have some sort of intimate connection with one another. "Everything we have worked for, everything we have tried to protect – it is all about to tumble… Everyone is fixed on me – everyone, my love, apart from you. You are not looking at me anymore." I was hooked within the first few pages. I needed to know where this was going, why this woman was on trial – for what crime had she been accused? After the opening scene, Louise Doughty takes us back in time and very slowly reveals the mystery to us through a series of typed but undelivered letters as well as Yvonne’s inner reflections. Yet, Yvonne is perhaps an unreliable narrator. She is an intelligent woman, has two grown children, and has a comfortable yet somewhat lackluster long-term marriage. However, she makes a decision that is quite inconsistent with her typical behavior as she plunges into an affair with a virtual stranger. But then again, she is human and don’t humans sometimes make illogical choices from time to time? Yvonne begins to fill in the unknown pieces of this enigmatic lover’s story with her own assumptions. Until one day, disaster strikes and we are back in the courtroom with Yvonne and her co-accused. Apple Tree Yard started off with a bang. It was suspenseful and I was instantly intrigued by the initial courtroom scene. But then, as we are taken back in time through Yvonne’s narrative, I started to lose interest. It dragged for me quite a bit in the middle section of the book and I was quite anxious to get back to the courtroom. Though I do believe even the most educated individual is certainly not without flaws, I had trouble wrapping my head around Yvonne’s choices. I couldn’t bring myself to believe she would act as she did and the relationship was unconvincing. I was sucked back in again once we returned to the Old Bailey and the drama of the trial. This was the most compelling and well-written portion of the novel. There are some interesting reflections on marriage, family, consequences and the distortion of truth. In the end I was entertained; but because I felt detached during the middle section, I can really only rate this 2.5 stars – rounded up to 3 stars for the riveting courtroom scenes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty is one of those psychological thrillers that you are compelled to read by just the blurb alone. This book tells the story of Yvonne Carmichael a woman in her fifties, married with two grown up children and a great career. One day she makes a choice that ends up putting her on trial in the Old Baily for the most serious of crimes. When I initially picked up this book to read I was totally drawn in by the first 60-70 pages and I at this early stage was thinking this Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty is one of those psychological thrillers that you are compelled to read by just the blurb alone. This book tells the story of Yvonne Carmichael a woman in her fifties, married with two grown up children and a great career. One day she makes a choice that ends up putting her on trial in the Old Baily for the most serious of crimes. When I initially picked up this book to read I was totally drawn in by the first 60-70 pages and I at this early stage was thinking this is going to be a 5 star read. As the story unfolded I became increasingly disappointed with the all the characters and the plot. It just did not work for me. I found the characters were not realistic and they they lacked emotions, and I could not gel with any of them. By the end of the novel I really did not care what happened to Yvonne Carmichael. The term "my love" was so overused in the story by Yvonne and it really got on my nerves by the final chapter. I gave this book 2 stars, an ok read but not one for my favourites shelf. Having said that I would recommend it as a book club read because I think it really had some great discussion material and important topics for groups to discuss and debate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    “Three decades of being the most respectable science professional or suburban mother count for nothing set against one fuck in a doorway.” 3.5 ⭐️ Ok, so the first 100 pages or so I was bored, I wasn’t invested. It was just a middle aged woman meeting a stranger and forming an obsessive extra martial affair where they would have sex everywhere from the Houses of Parliament, a cathedral and an alley during rush hour called Apple Tree Yard. Once I got into part 2 though things became a lot more in “Three decades of being the most respectable science professional or suburban mother count for nothing set against one fuck in a doorway.” 3.5 ⭐️ Ok, so the first 100 pages or so I was bored, I wasn’t invested. It was just a middle aged woman meeting a stranger and forming an obsessive extra martial affair where they would have sex everywhere from the Houses of Parliament, a cathedral and an alley during rush hour called Apple Tree Yard. Once I got into part 2 though things became a lot more interesting. I still didn’t like the characters much but I was interested in how the court case would pan out. (view spoiler)[ it was interesting to see that her lover told her to keep their relationship a secret in the court case to protect her only to then use it to betray her. (hide spoiler)] You definitely need to suspend your disbelief in places. (view spoiler)[ like how the entire case blew up because someone happened to see them having sex in Apple Tree Yard. 1. That someone actually saw them. 2. That the lawyers/police were actually able to track them down. Seems highly unlikely. (hide spoiler)] But I was gripped in the last 2/3 of the book so 3.5 from me. “I’m not afraid of dangerous men anymore. I’m afraid of friendly, ordinary men. I’m not afraid of burglars or strangers after dark. I’m afraid of men I know.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    “Relationships are about stories, not truth.” Apple Tree Yard – one of the most compelling psychological mysteries I’ve read in years – is the story about a relationship and the truths that gradually become detached from any objective reality. It is a thinking person’s book and a page-turner at the same time – a challenging feat to play off. Yvonne Carmichael is a highly respected geneticist, married for many years to her husband Guy. Yet in an impulsive moment, she falls into n erotic affair wit “Relationships are about stories, not truth.” Apple Tree Yard – one of the most compelling psychological mysteries I’ve read in years – is the story about a relationship and the truths that gradually become detached from any objective reality. It is a thinking person’s book and a page-turner at the same time – a challenging feat to play off. Yvonne Carmichael is a highly respected geneticist, married for many years to her husband Guy. Yet in an impulsive moment, she falls into n erotic affair with a man she calls “X”. In the months to follow, they meet clandestinely, each not willing to jeopardize his or her marriage and Yvonne only learns the barest details about “X’s” life. And then something horrendous happens that shifts everything into high gear and inexorably links their fates. To say more would be to get into spoiler territory. But I can at least say this: Apple Tree Yard is a book of amazing psychological acuity. It explores essential questions such as, “When you are a rational being, with free will and agency, is there any such thing as a point of no return?” It examines how far we go to extract revenge, to develop and mine our own fictions, to become a survivor at all costs. And ultimately, it displays how far we can go when we fall out of love with ourselves. I believed in all these characters and the dilemmas they found themselves in. Once you start reading, clear the decks…because if you’re like me, it will be awhile before you’ll want to come up for air.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maxine (Booklover Catlady)

    Exceptional book, the writing it exquisite and meaningful, the characters portrayed like real people, believable (contrary to other reviews). This book outlines so clearly how every decision we make in our lives leads to an outcome, wanted or not. The plot is clever, the book pulls you in bit by bit, almost gently until you are hooked turning page after page to see the story unravel and reveal itself, right to the final reveal on the last page. I loved this book, especially as in the beginning it Exceptional book, the writing it exquisite and meaningful, the characters portrayed like real people, believable (contrary to other reviews). This book outlines so clearly how every decision we make in our lives leads to an outcome, wanted or not. The plot is clever, the book pulls you in bit by bit, almost gently until you are hooked turning page after page to see the story unravel and reveal itself, right to the final reveal on the last page. I loved this book, especially as in the beginning it's not really clear where the book might end up, it's clever like that, the book keeps it's secrets wound tightly. An excellent read, well written, unexpected and a real page turner.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    As this story begins we meet Dr Yvonne Carmichael, a London based geneticist. She is, we will learn, so expert and well respected in her field that she is invited to speak at parliamentary select committees. Yvonne is middle-aged, married to Guy, another scientist, and has two grown-up children. Yet incongruously, she’s sat in the dock at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. We’re not yet aware of the charge she’s facing, but it must be serious. And to make matters wo As this story begins we meet Dr Yvonne Carmichael, a London based geneticist. She is, we will learn, so expert and well respected in her field that she is invited to speak at parliamentary select committees. Yvonne is middle-aged, married to Guy, another scientist, and has two grown-up children. Yet incongruously, she’s sat in the dock at the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. We’re not yet aware of the charge she’s facing, but it must be serious. And to make matters worse she’s just been caught out by a prosecuting counsel. She’s clearly in trouble – deep trouble. From this point we are taken back in time and begin to learn what brought her to this place and put her future freedom in so much jeopardy. Yvonne is the first person narrator of this story, sometimes through letters she types on her computer but never sends but more often courtesy of an inner monologue. We will return to the courtroom later – quite a bit later, actually – when we have had time to absorb her enthralling account. Sometimes a book cries out (to me, at least) to be listened to rather than read, and this is a classic example. It helps if the reader is a gifted story teller and here Juliet Stevenson, a superb actress of stage and screen, excels in living the role of Yvonne whilst also breathing life into the supporting characters. This is a dense, detailed story full of wry and insightful observations. It’s about love and the pure joy it can bring, but also the complications and the potential impediments we all face if we are to achieve longevity in any serious relationship. And it provides an insight into how we can be persuaded to fall for an ideal view of how things could be - or maybe should be - if only we’d let them. The few characters we meet are beautifully drawn and all totally believable. Most of all, the author gets right inside the head of the lead character: on the face of it she is a sensible but also fallible professional woman, but really no more flawed that most of us. I was batting for her from very early on. Dougherty teases and tempts with little bits of information that suggest a twist yet to come. Yet she controls the narrative to the point that I was never quite sure what was around the corner. It’s a difficult trick to pull off, yet she achieves it with an assured touch. It’s a brilliantly contrived and beautifully written tale that I found totally engrossing from start to finish. I’m delighted to find another author whose other books I now intend to seek out and devour post-haste.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pat Elliott

    The the main protagonist was a successful scientist, an intelligent woman. She threw her intelligence aside, feeling she deserved her little fling because of how competent she'd been when her family were growing. If you want to have a tawdry fling, fine. Have it. Don't delude yourself that he is 'your love' because he isn't. Don't hold on to the delusion even after you have heard all the evidence to the contrary. It makes you unbelievable as a scientist and a person. Perhaps the point of the nov The the main protagonist was a successful scientist, an intelligent woman. She threw her intelligence aside, feeling she deserved her little fling because of how competent she'd been when her family were growing. If you want to have a tawdry fling, fine. Have it. Don't delude yourself that he is 'your love' because he isn't. Don't hold on to the delusion even after you have heard all the evidence to the contrary. It makes you unbelievable as a scientist and a person. Perhaps the point of the novel was to show how we delude ourselves, but frankly, the woman irritated me. The X who is the other half of the affair is just as unbelievable. Who goes to the lengths he goes to, to protect the affair from discovery, only to throw caution to the wind when he decides to confront the man who is causing her grief? He forgets to check for cctv, gets her to drive him to the confrontation in her own car? All this, when he has already replaced her in the quick thrill stakes. Unbelievable. The only person I could believe was Kevin. A decent copper, saddened by the system. I'm sorry there weren't more believable characters in this novel. I am sorry I feel so disappointed in it to give it a solitary star.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colette

    UGH! This book was maddening! I'm genuinely surprised by the multitude of glowing reviews. The technically well-written sentences are overshadowed and ultimately diminished by the most annoying protagonist/narrator of a novel I can EVER remember reading. Many fellow reviewers did comment that they found Yvonne to be a woman to whom it was difficult to relate and stated that her actions were implausible. I would add that she simply never felt like a real character to me and there was zero emotion UGH! This book was maddening! I'm genuinely surprised by the multitude of glowing reviews. The technically well-written sentences are overshadowed and ultimately diminished by the most annoying protagonist/narrator of a novel I can EVER remember reading. Many fellow reviewers did comment that they found Yvonne to be a woman to whom it was difficult to relate and stated that her actions were implausible. I would add that she simply never felt like a real character to me and there was zero emotional intensity to her point of view. I didn't care about or remotely believe the climactic event that was supposed to have put the whole chain of events in motion and nothing about her adulterous relationship felt anything but irritating and whiny. Not to mention that there was so much hinting without any reveal for so long that I just wanted to abandon the book entirely. It's rare and surprising that I would give one start to a book this technically well-written, in terms of prose and turn of phrase, but I really just hated reading it and wanted to murder Yvonne myself just to shut her up. Probably the most cloying, irritating narrator I've ever encountered.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    Marriage is predicated on the ability to pretend. Pretend in a myriad of little ways that you feel an interest in your partner’s day or his mother’s turn of health or the 10k he’s running this weekend. When really, what’s on your mind is making certain one of you is picking the kids up from soccer practice, the snide comment your boss made at staff meeting yesterday, the three pounds that jumped onto the scale with you this morning. But you muddle through with the smiles, the “hmmms,” and the “I Marriage is predicated on the ability to pretend. Pretend in a myriad of little ways that you feel an interest in your partner’s day or his mother’s turn of health or the 10k he’s running this weekend. When really, what’s on your mind is making certain one of you is picking the kids up from soccer practice, the snide comment your boss made at staff meeting yesterday, the three pounds that jumped onto the scale with you this morning. But you muddle through with the smiles, the “hmmms,” and the “I love yous” on the way out the door, because deep down, you really do care. Yvonne Carmichael, an attractive, successful geneticist, long-married with two grown children, invites us to pretend along with her. But she has taken a tumble down the rabbit hole and her misadventures unravel the pretense of her marriage to chilling effect. A lingering look is all it takes to make her follow a stranger to the damp crypt of a London cathedral. The passionate tryst with a man whose name she doesn’t even know explodes into an affair and Yvonne’s well-organized life and her comfortable, though passionless, marriage, crumble like a dried-out scone. The book opens in a courtroom. Yvonne’s inner monologue is not addressed to us, her voyeurs, but to someone who sits at the next table over; no, not the plaintiff. On her other side: a second defendant. The who, how and why of her presence in Old Bailey, the United Kingdom’s central criminal court, is spun out masterfully by Louise Doughty over the next 300 pages. The reader is kept on tenterhooks by an unreliable narrator. We have only Yvonne’s word to make our judgments, to align our sympathies and guess at the truth. Louise Doughty plays out the suspense, twisting the road so we can never see more than a step or two ahead. But Apple Tree Yard is more than a psychological thriller, more than a courtroom drama--though these elements make this an unputdownable, deliciously agonizing read. It is a dissection of middle-age, of the accumulation of decades of self-deceit and of the changing nature of truth. It is about, as Yvonne herself explains, "The stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves, to ourselves.”

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I have always been interested in stories about marital affairs. Don't judge me by this as I've never had one and have no intention of joining the rank and file. I'm just curious as to what happens in a marriage that causes the stray. Apple Tree Yard seems a simple case of sex rearing its lusty head. Don't let the simple brief encounter, quick gratification fool you. It becomes much more complicated than that as it often does. You know right from the start that the adulterers are on trial for a se I have always been interested in stories about marital affairs. Don't judge me by this as I've never had one and have no intention of joining the rank and file. I'm just curious as to what happens in a marriage that causes the stray. Apple Tree Yard seems a simple case of sex rearing its lusty head. Don't let the simple brief encounter, quick gratification fool you. It becomes much more complicated than that as it often does. You know right from the start that the adulterers are on trial for a serious crime. You're not quite certain exactly what crime brings them to the Old Bailey. The court trial is interwoven with the commencement of the affair as bits and pieces of all is revealed. There was a point when author, Louise Doughty made me gasp and to tell you why would be a spoiler. Suffice it say that I admire Doughty's ability to bring the story full circle realistically. Each reader will make their own moral judgment of the characters guilt in both infidelity and in trial. Fling, cheating, love? What brings two people to this place? I loved it. I listened to Apple Tree Yard. I am positive that the expert narration by Juliet Stevenson added to my enjoyment. My sincere thanks to Jill Shtulman for recommending this to me. You know what I like Jill.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This I have watched as a film and read the book. I much preferred the film.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    So, Apple Tree Yard has been sat patiently waiting on my kindle while many people have told me to get on with it, its terrific, one of the best books of the year…and so I decided it was about time I gave it a go. Do I agree with all the hype? Well. Yes. Synopsis 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 So, Apple Tree Yard has been sat patiently waiting on my kindle while many people have told me to get on with it, its terrific, one of the best books of the year…and so I decided it was about time I gave it a go. Do I agree with all the hype? Well. Yes. Synopsis 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. Addictive. Totally and utterly addictive. Yvonne tells the tale…opening with a courtroom scene as she stands accused along with her lover of what, exactly, we are unsure of at that point and then takes us back to the beginning of it all and leads us to the truth of the matter. Louise Doughty has an alluring writing style…Yvonne, as she tells us the story, is very dry and exacting – in some ways “Just the facts, Ma’am” but with an emotional core that is hard to fault. You will just keep reading…each part leading inexorably to the next while she digs herself deeper and deeper into an affair with a man of whom she knows nothing. She assumes, gives him depth and fleshes him out…but we all know what “assume” does, do we not? In a lot of ways this is much more a character piece than it is a mystery – in that the mystery is unlocked by coming to know the character. Yvonne, her choices, her reasoning, her “excuses” if you like all add up to make a whole. The man she is embroiled with IS an enigma and seeing him only through her eyes makes him that way. We see him as she does…and as her eyes open so do ours. Brilliantly done…clever, intriguing, utterly compelling, the story of how a normal, intelligent and pretty average woman gets caught up in infidelity and brutality, almost by accident. Highly recommended. Happy Reading Folks!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    There is absolutely no doubt that Doughty is a talented writer, nor that this book is well written. I willingly followed where the author led, and in the beginning of the novel, alternately tried to understand Yvonne and at times even pitied her. In her fifties, having raised two children, one who has bi-polar disorder, a husband who she had forgiven for having his own affair, a career as a geneticist at which she is very successful, but she is willing to throw it all away over a sexual affair. There is absolutely no doubt that Doughty is a talented writer, nor that this book is well written. I willingly followed where the author led, and in the beginning of the novel, alternately tried to understand Yvonne and at times even pitied her. In her fifties, having raised two children, one who has bi-polar disorder, a husband who she had forgiven for having his own affair, a career as a geneticist at which she is very successful, but she is willing to throw it all away over a sexual affair. Okay, maybe she is bored, wants to shake up her life, add some spice, yes I am still on board, I can understand this. Yet, somehow she goes from this, to this supposed affair that is basically sexual, to acting like this is the great love interest of her life. Manages to fool herself that he quite possible feels the same? This is where I am beginning to not quite get on-board to wherever this novel is going. A smart successful woman, a crime, a cover-up, lies and this woman manages to fool herself the whole way. Is she innocent? How and why did this happen? I avidly read this train wreck of a woman's life to the very end. I did however, lose all sympathy and understanding of Yvonne, and that is the thing that is crucial to this story. If one can not continue to relate to Yvonne, find her understandable and likable despite the silly things she does, the story looses its oomph! That is what happened with me, that is why despite the wonderful writing in this book I could not really give it a higher rating. Read it yourself and see what you think.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-0... Description: 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 ch http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-0... Description: 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. From the Guardian: "What a thrill it has been to watch Apple Tree Yard fail to live up to its initial billing as thinking person’s bonkbuster. The series materialised in a thunderclap of notoriety, with considerable hubbub attending a stage-setting scene in which two middle-aged strangers enjoyed a steamy liaison in a House of Commons broom cupboard. But this emphasis on novelty nookie was quickly dispensed with. Episode three offered further confirmation that, far from an upmarket Fifty Shades of Grey, the BBC has wrought a meticulously misanthropic psychodrama with devastating insights into the human capacity for self-destruction." Great description.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hilary G

    This book deserves a really high score .... for implausibility. I just couldn’t take it seriously at all because the whole plot revolved round a premise that is about as likely as meeting aliens from Alpha Centauri buying hot cross buns in your local supermarket. I mean, I’m sure there are hundreds of wiry blokes with glasses and wavy brown hair that are irresistible babe magnets, and lots of highly educated, high-achieving, happily married women who are desperate to ---- (ahem!) in a broom cupbo This book deserves a really high score .... for implausibility. I just couldn’t take it seriously at all because the whole plot revolved round a premise that is about as likely as meeting aliens from Alpha Centauri buying hot cross buns in your local supermarket. I mean, I’m sure there are hundreds of wiry blokes with glasses and wavy brown hair that are irresistible babe magnets, and lots of highly educated, high-achieving, happily married women who are desperate to ---- (ahem!) in a broom cupboard in the House of Lords (or it could have been the Commons, I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter), but I would say the chances of such a pair meeting and mating was not a million to one, as Yvonne thought, but about a zillion to one against. And even if such an unlikely pairing occurred, how could it be sustained without passion, intelligent conversation, common ground, or any reason on earth to sustain it. And even if it were sustained, is it likely that a bloke who had a couple of ahems and a few coffees and carrot cakes in various cafes would go and top someone who had injured his insignificant other? It was absolutely obvious what was going to happen from the moment the chimp story hit the page, so it was excruciating how long it took, so long that the author had to remind us about the chimps in case we had forgotten or not got the point. Note to author: I got the point and managed to remember it despite the goodness knows how many pages it took you to complete the comparison. But it’s not even true, is it? A five minute Google brings up numerous stories of (human) mothers who died protecting their children, in earthquakes, tornadoes, or pushing them away from runaway vans and heroes who gave their lives to save others. Humans and chimps may share 98.8% (or whatever the number was) DNA, but that doesn’t make us chimps, does it? Apparently, we share 70% DNA with fruit flies, but we don’t go from egg to adult in 8 days and swarm round fermenting fruit. The first person narrative, be it imaginary letters or just stream of consciousness, was SO tiresome. Perhaps the format (audiobook) made this more apparent. Even the lovely voice of Juliet Stevenson couldn’t make Yvonne’s thought processes seem any more than whining, delusional, self-obsessed ramblings. Yvonne whatever-her-name-was (I’ve forgotten already and will have forgotten the whole book by the weekend) could rival Tess Durbeyfield in the victim stakes. I am just not convinced that a highly respected, logical, scientific high achiever could be as compliant, passive and irritatingly dense as Yvonne is. The writer comes from Melton Mowbray, but surely the 21st century has arrived even in the home of pork pies and Stilton cheese? I don’t think this sort of woman has all the angst about her competence that Yvonne does. All the stuff about suicide and bipolar and even the spouse affair seemed wholly irrelevant, not adding up to anything, certainly not any sort of explanation. The book was flagged as a "psychological thriller," I think, but the psychology is very dubious. I am just not sure what the book set out to achieve. I listen to audiobooks when I am doing the housework and what this book achieved for me was to make the housework seem more pleasurable than this humourless and depressing story. Those of my friends who know how much I like housework will realise this is a huge achievement. I think there could have been an interesting story in this mish mash, but there wasn’t.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    One mistake, one bad judgement, can change a life forever. Yvonne Carmichael seemed to be a woman who had everything. A successful career; she was a scientist, a geneticist, and she had climbed to the very top of her profession. A long and stable marriage, to a good man. Two children – a boy and a girl – both grown up and independent. A lovely home … But, for all that, there was something missing. She wanted someone to look at her – not as wife, not as a mother, not as a professional – but as an i One mistake, one bad judgement, can change a life forever. Yvonne Carmichael seemed to be a woman who had everything. A successful career; she was a scientist, a geneticist, and she had climbed to the very top of her profession. A long and stable marriage, to a good man. Two children – a boy and a girl – both grown up and independent. A lovely home … But, for all that, there was something missing. She wanted someone to look at her – not as wife, not as a mother, not as a professional – but as an interesting, attractive woman. Maybe the man she met, when she was giving evidence to a Select Committee at the Houses of Parliament saw that. And maybe she saw something in him. Or maybe it was a classic coup de foudre. Whatever it was, they fell into an intense, physical affair. They were careful to keep it secret – she loved her husband, he didn’t want to hurt his wife – but they were both caught up, they behaved recklessly. And there were terrible, terrible consequences. Yvonne didn’t want to tell her husband – she couldn’t without telling him about her affair – and she tried to cope alone. But she couldn’t cope, and she chose to talk to her lover. And that set off a chain of events that would end with them both on trial at the Old Bailey. Still Yvonne didn’t want to tell her husband, didn’t want to hurt her family … That was were the story began – with Yvonne in the witness box, being asked about Apple Tree Yard, and knowing when she hears those words that her world is about to crumble. It’s a dramatic, attention grabbing opening, and I so wanted to know what had happened, what had led her there. I found out as Yvonne told her story, a mixture of recollections and letters to her lover that she would never send. At first I questioned the way the story was told, and I decided that a more straightforward confessional style would have been more effective, but as the story progressed I realised that I was wrong and the author was right: the style she chose allowed her to strike the perfect balance between telling the story and exploring Yvonne’s emotions, and the reasons why she did the things she did. I didn’t like her, but I didn’t dislike her either. The affair was madness, but I could see what made her susceptible, and though I didn’t understand many of her decisions I did appreciate that she wanted to protect her family; the more I learned the more I understood. Crucially, I believed in her. Psychologically, her story worked. There was some very clever and well thought out writing going on to make all of that work, to keep the story compelling, and to keep a degree of suspense to the very end. It was only at the very end, when all of the drama was over that the story maybe lost a little credibility, by leaving no space for the reactions of Yvonne’s wife and closest friend. The resolution was a little too simple for the story that had gone before. It was a story of the consequence of deceit, and of the way those consequences can spiral. It was perfectly observed, it was clearly carefully researched, and it made some telling points about 21st century society. But that never overwhelmed the story of one woman, who made a mistake, and had to deal with terrible consequences. A credible, believable story, told with real understanding …

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “We discovered that safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement but you can never buy them back.” ― Louise Doughty, Apple Tree Yard Stunningly good. 4.5 stars. TRIGGER WARNING:.. Very graphic rape scene. You know how many a thriller lets one down? Not Apple Tree Yard. Exceptionally well written, dark, brooding and riveting, this is a must read for all Suspense fans. When the book opens, we learn that Yvonne is on trial for murder. The book switches back in time to show “We discovered that safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement but you can never buy them back.” ― Louise Doughty, Apple Tree Yard Stunningly good. 4.5 stars. TRIGGER WARNING:.. Very graphic rape scene. You know how many a thriller lets one down? Not Apple Tree Yard. Exceptionally well written, dark, brooding and riveting, this is a must read for all Suspense fans. When the book opens, we learn that Yvonne is on trial for murder. The book switches back in time to show the events that brought Yvonne where she is today. But there is so much m ore to the story. I think it has become a TV show or Mini Series in England though I am not sure about that. What I AM sure of, is the book is terrific. This is not your average thriller that is for sure. I actually think it is less a thriller then a character study on the whole emotional unraveling of Yvonne. It was much darker then I thought it would be and I wish whoever did marketing for this book made it sound as interesting as it is because it is outstanding and honestly the blurp did not make it sound so and I almost did not pick this book because of that factor. If you like strange, dark, intense, rather haunting books that are character driven then you will like this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    The book is well written and starts promisingly. However, I saw the 'twists' a mile off and (it pains me to say this) I found it difficult to have any sympathy for Yvonne Carmichael, the main character who, despite being a high-flying, intelligent businesswoman, naively gets herself into such a sordid, hopeless muddle. The book is well written and starts promisingly. However, I saw the 'twists' a mile off and (it pains me to say this) I found it difficult to have any sympathy for Yvonne Carmichael, the main character who, despite being a high-flying, intelligent businesswoman, naively gets herself into such a sordid, hopeless muddle.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara Nelson

    A 52-year-old woman begins an affair with a mysterious man she meets by chance, and soon both she and the lover are on trial for murder. How does such a thing happen to a married woman of maturity and gravitas, a renowned scientist whose first encounter with her lover took place in the halls of Parliament, where she had just testified before a government committee? In this masterful novel by British journalist/novelist/playwright Louise Doughty, every page builds the case that it’s often the sma A 52-year-old woman begins an affair with a mysterious man she meets by chance, and soon both she and the lover are on trial for murder. How does such a thing happen to a married woman of maturity and gravitas, a renowned scientist whose first encounter with her lover took place in the halls of Parliament, where she had just testified before a government committee? In this masterful novel by British journalist/novelist/playwright Louise Doughty, every page builds the case that it’s often the smartest among us who invent the most unreliable stories about ourselves, and how it’s possible--likely, even--for essentially good solid people to do bad and stupid things. Less about torturous plot twists than slow, dawning revelations--and mercifully short on moralizing--this intelligent, sexy, grown-up thriller explores the power of desire and its consequences.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    A surprisingly original and disturbing novel about a woman who embarks on an affair with disastrous consequences. Surprising, considering the description makes it sound like an average nail-biter when in fact it turns out to be much more. From the very beginning we are told that the main character is on trial as a direct result of her affair. Gradually, the events leading up to the trial are revealed. Yvonne is a successful middle-aged geneticist, highly respected in her field and happily marrie A surprisingly original and disturbing novel about a woman who embarks on an affair with disastrous consequences. Surprising, considering the description makes it sound like an average nail-biter when in fact it turns out to be much more. From the very beginning we are told that the main character is on trial as a direct result of her affair. Gradually, the events leading up to the trial are revealed. Yvonne is a successful middle-aged geneticist, highly respected in her field and happily married with two grown children. It may seem strange that she would risk all this for illicit sex with a stranger who won't even tell her his name, but little by little, it becomes clear that neither her work nor marriage are as perfect as they seem. Doughty masterfully reveals the small resentments simmering under the surface. At one point, Yvonne recalls that she and her husband decided to combine childrearing with working on their PhDs, and dryly concludes: "Guy completed his PhD in three years. Mine took seven. Funny that." Also, kindly Guy does a very shitty thing which makes Yvonne's infidelity seem kind of lame. In her role as an authority in academia she wields a certain power, yet is propositioned by a young male student who offers sexual favours in return for a training position. And the Awful Thing That Happens is so awful I could barely keep reading (view spoiler)[ I'm referring to the rape, not the murder of the rapist in case that wasn't obvious. (hide spoiler)] . Doughy seems to say that no matter how successful or independent you are as a woman, you are still just a woman in a man's world, at the mercy of a thouroughly sexist society. She does this brutally, believably and unapologetically. Yvonne is a rare, nuanced character bound to be disliked by readers who need their heroines to be lovable. At times, I found her behaviour frustrating (view spoiler)[ Not leaving Guy after his affair, mooning over Mark despite his aloofness (hide spoiler)] , but I never stopped rooting for her. It is suspenseful, but perhaps too dark for those looking for a quick thriller, or rather, dark for the wrong reasons. There is very little blood and gore here, yet this is one of the most nightmarish, frightening novels I've read in a long time. The horribly depressing anecdote of an experiment with mother and baby chimps almost made me lose all faith in mankind (and apes). Eager to read more by this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    When I started reading this, I wasn't in love with it - I found the writing style a bit strange (it's like a pseudo 2nd person narrative) and sparse. But somewhere along the way, it got me. It sucked me in and I finished it within the weekend (don't you love it when that happens?) I had to find out the answers to the questions introduced in the opening pages: Who is Yvonne Carmichael? Who is her lover? What violent actions have led to them to the point they've reached? And what is "Apple Tree Ya When I started reading this, I wasn't in love with it - I found the writing style a bit strange (it's like a pseudo 2nd person narrative) and sparse. But somewhere along the way, it got me. It sucked me in and I finished it within the weekend (don't you love it when that happens?) I had to find out the answers to the questions introduced in the opening pages: Who is Yvonne Carmichael? Who is her lover? What violent actions have led to them to the point they've reached? And what is "Apple Tree Yard"? I've gone on a bit of a thriller binge lately, and this one isn't as immediately satisfying in that juicy, melodramatic, punch-in-the-face twists kind of way. It's more on the subtle side, with a sense of foreboding sneaking through the pages. And the dry prose style is actually somewhat smart - Yvonne, the main character and accused, is a scientist, and she gives you the facts of the story matter-of-factly, with a scientific level of detail and analysis. "Her love" is a bit of an enigma, and since the story is from her perspective, speaking to him, he stays that way. She never gets to see his true emotions or motivations, so neither do we. "Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works fine as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin (from Long Island, NY)

    Man this was good. Different for me, but so good. A 14 hour audio & im just sorry it’s over! Not a lot of big bangs or twists & turns, just exceptional writing- I hung on every word. Then that ending! Phew. I wouldn’t call this so much a thriller, more a domestic drama or even a character study. It really is more then that though.. The characters are human, loving & wonderful, but weak & flawed. & there was just enough intrigue to keep you hooked.. Definitely a compelling, hauntingly realistic s Man this was good. Different for me, but so good. A 14 hour audio & im just sorry it’s over! Not a lot of big bangs or twists & turns, just exceptional writing- I hung on every word. Then that ending! Phew. I wouldn’t call this so much a thriller, more a domestic drama or even a character study. It really is more then that though.. The characters are human, loving & wonderful, but weak & flawed. & there was just enough intrigue to keep you hooked.. Definitely a compelling, hauntingly realistic story that’ll stay with me. I’ve heard that they’ve made some kind of tv version of this.. I’m curious & will definitely check it out. But for me, the power in this book lied solely in the writing. & I can’t imagine how it could translate from thought to out loud on screen. I’m curious to see..

  23. 4 out of 5

    ❀Julie

    A very creepy but compelling story that slowly unravels as the tension builds, with some twists I did not see coming. If I had the time, I would have read it in one sitting. So good!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Yvonne Carmichael is 52 years old' happily married and a well respected geneticist. But she will do something entirely new that will change her life forever. A seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious stranger will lead to an act so surprising for her with rough sex in a public place in the maze of inner London's lanes. The man is assured and likes to devour her like a wolf in hidden doorways that makes her recalibrate her personal life in all manner of ways. For months Yvonne will secretly s Yvonne Carmichael is 52 years old' happily married and a well respected geneticist. But she will do something entirely new that will change her life forever. A seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious stranger will lead to an act so surprising for her with rough sex in a public place in the maze of inner London's lanes. The man is assured and likes to devour her like a wolf in hidden doorways that makes her recalibrate her personal life in all manner of ways. For months Yvonne will secretly see her lover until two incidents will destroy there relationship and show them both for who they really are. After going to a party Yvonne will be sexually and physically assaulted. She will make a huge mistake in informing her lover of what happened the consequences will see them both end up in court' there relationship and afterwards laid bare for all to see. Louise Doughty's structure for this murder mystery is unconventional as it is absorbing. The book is wonderful example of top draw thriller writing with the way it sets about putting a microscope over modern life. The twist with the courtroom viewpoint from that of the offender were we think we know all the facts in inspiring. My only slight gripe is it does take a while for the story to take shape and for some that may cause them to lose patience. Overall Apple Tree Yard is a unique read and may make you re look over your own life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Brody

    Yvonne Carmichael, 52 years old, is a respected geneticist, married for many years with two grown children. She works for an esteemed institute called The Beaufort and is also an external examiner for graduate students. Her life is rich in many ways. Thus, it comes as a surprise to her that when she is scheduled to give a report at the House of Parliaments she notices a man who is giving her a come hither look and she begins to follow him. This begins an extraordinary affair. She doesn't even kn Yvonne Carmichael, 52 years old, is a respected geneticist, married for many years with two grown children. She works for an esteemed institute called The Beaufort and is also an external examiner for graduate students. Her life is rich in many ways. Thus, it comes as a surprise to her that when she is scheduled to give a report at the House of Parliaments she notices a man who is giving her a come hither look and she begins to follow him. This begins an extraordinary affair. She doesn't even know his name or what he does, though after some time she surmises that he is a spy of some type. This first time they have sex, he leads her to the Crypt Chapel on the House of Parliaments grounds and in the rank basement they make love. Yvonne thinks "From my empirical knowledge of you I know one thing and one thing only. Sex with you is like being eaten by a wolf." The affair begins suddenly and is all-consuming for Yvonne. Her lover gives her a pre-pay phone with his number programmed in and she is to call him only on that. She fantasizes about him continually and her life is one long effort to be with him in every free moment. "It is worrying me, how easy you found it to have sex with me. I could have said, how easy you found it to seduce me...but seduction suggests a process of persuasion over the passage of time. You just went right ahead and I went right along with it - there wasn't any persuading necessary. I need you to know this was not normal for me." Yvonne is caught up in the high of her sexual power, her ability to court a man who desires her so fully. The mystery of the affair is also a pull for her. It is so different from her daily life. "I am fifty-two. I have status and gravitas - when I don't have my tights around my ankles in a secluded chapel beneath the Houses of Parliament, that is." We learn in the prologue that there is a court case, that something is happening to the two of them that is very serious and earth-shattering. Yvonne realizes in court as the novel opens, "That is the moment when it all comes crashing down . . . We both know we are about to lose everything - our marriages are over our careers are finished, I have lost my son's and daughter's good regard, and more than that, our freedom is at stake. Everything we have tried to protect - it is all about to tumble." Their affair leads them to an act that finds them in court, fighting for their freedom with every ounce of their strength. This is a bountiful novel, filled to the brim with wonderful writing, psychological suspense, an erotically charged relationship and a harrowing courtroom battle. Told from the first person, with Yvonne as the narrator, we travel with her from her first glance at her lover to the denouement which is riveting. Louise Doughty has written a truly compelling novel, one that has me wanting to read her other works, and soon.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    When I started reading this book I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. But because it was recommended to me I felt obligated to give it fair chance. I didn't like the characters. To me they were flat and lacked emotion. The main character, Yvonne Carmichael really irritated me and her repeated use of "my love" made me want to choke her. Then, about half way through, it felt like I was riding a freight train downhill with no brakes. I couldn't put the damn book down. My finger had RSI from co When I started reading this book I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. But because it was recommended to me I felt obligated to give it fair chance. I didn't like the characters. To me they were flat and lacked emotion. The main character, Yvonne Carmichael really irritated me and her repeated use of "my love" made me want to choke her. Then, about half way through, it felt like I was riding a freight train downhill with no brakes. I couldn't put the damn book down. My finger had RSI from continuously hitting the down arrow on my laptop. Mostly written in first person, which I don't like, it moves backwards and forwards as we learn about Yvonne's history, her affair with a man she calls X and the trial. The ending dragged on for too long. For me, the last dozen or so pages didn't add much to the story. But, all in all, it was a good read. Am I glad I finished it? Yes!. Thanks to M for recommending it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars. "When you are a rational human being, with free will and agency, is there any such thing as a point of no return?" Yvonne Carmichael is a renowned geneticist, well-established in her career. She and her husband Guy, a fellow scientist she met while in college, is loving and comfortable, and they have two adult children. One day, after testifying before a committee of Parliament on a scientific issue, she meets a man. They talk, they walk, her takes her by the arm, and lead I'd rate this 4.5 stars. "When you are a rational human being, with free will and agency, is there any such thing as a point of no return?" Yvonne Carmichael is a renowned geneticist, well-established in her career. She and her husband Guy, a fellow scientist she met while in college, is loving and comfortable, and they have two adult children. One day, after testifying before a committee of Parliament on a scientific issue, she meets a man. They talk, they walk, her takes her by the arm, and leads her to a little-used chapel in the basement. And Yvonne begins to undress. The two begin an affair, despite the fact that she doesn't know her lover's name at first, and he has kept most of his life a mystery from her. He is constantly paranoid, worried that Yvonne might say something to someone, or that their relationship might be discovered. Because of his need to control the situation, Yvonne believes her lover must be a spy for the British government, a fact that excites her almost as much as their relationship has. She knows that they can only see each other at certain times, yet she longs for more, longs for the passion he has ignited in her. As the pair's relationship wanes and intensifies, one night Yvonne finds herself confronting an utterly unexpected danger from another direction. And it is there the course of her life changes, as she suddenly finds herself, along with her lover, on trial for murder. She is prepared to do just as he has always told her, disclose as little about their relationship as possible so the truth will not be discovered. Or will it? "Relationships are about stories, not truth. Alone, as individuals, we each have our own personal mythologies, the stories we tell in order to make sense of ourselves to ourselves. That generally works fine as long as we stay sane and single, but the minute you enter an intimate relationship with another person there is an automatic dissonance between your story about yourself and his or her story about you." Apple Tree Yard tells a familiar story, one of love, longing, secrets, and betrayal. Yet in Louise Doughty's hands, the story seems fresh and tremendously interesting, even though you're fairly certain where the plot will go. Yvonne's character is so well drawn, so complex (if not entirely sympathetic), you can truly see how she found herself in the middle of a relationship she never expected, as well as trouble she never imagined. Yvonne never really makes any excuses for her actions, but you understand them, and as the story unfolds you realize that even the most intelligent people have blind spots they're unaware of. I really enjoyed this book and thought Doughty was an excellent storyteller. It takes a talented writer to make you want to continue reading a story you've seen before, but there are still a good number of twists and turns to keep you thinking. There aren't many books I've read lately with this type of protagonist, and it really worked for me. And it certainly makes you consider your own life, your own relationships, and how a seemingly rational person could be so overtaken by desire and fear. "Is heartbreak even possible now, I wonder? I'm fifty-two. Anyone my age knows that all things pass. If the transitory nature of our feelings means that true heartbreak is impossible, then where does that leave happiness?" Give this one a read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacki (Julia Flyte)

    This is a page turner of a book that has some very unexpected twists, so I'll keep my description vague. Yvonne Carmichael is a successful geneticist who has been married for many years. One day she meets a stranger and impulsively begins an affair with him. Soon she becomes obsessed with her lover, despite the fact that they are both married and he is highly secretive. When something unexpected and shocking occurs in her life, the stakes will rise and events will spiral out of her control. I lik This is a page turner of a book that has some very unexpected twists, so I'll keep my description vague. Yvonne Carmichael is a successful geneticist who has been married for many years. One day she meets a stranger and impulsively begins an affair with him. Soon she becomes obsessed with her lover, despite the fact that they are both married and he is highly secretive. When something unexpected and shocking occurs in her life, the stakes will rise and events will spiral out of her control. I liked the book but it didn't hang together for me. For starters, I didn't buy into the relationship between Yvonne and her lover. (The book is written as if she is talking to him, so we don't discover his name until very late in the piece. She even addresses a text to him as "Dear You" which struck me as ridiculous - given that we will find out his name eventually, why be so mysterious about it?) He was so obviously a serial adulterer who was taking advantage of her, and it infuriated me that she couldn't see that or if she could, that she didn't care. Nor did I believe that he would do the things that he does later in the book, given the nature of their relationship. Another structural issue was the prologue, which adds little to the book other than giving away something which would otherwise be a source of suspense and tension. The ending is also dragged out - almost everything is resolved, so it's obvious that there is going to be one final reveal, and there is really only one thing that it could be. This is a gripping story and the novel holds your attention, but ultimately it doesn't deliver quite as much as it promises too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Listened to in audio format. I bought this audio book in an Audible sale a couple of years ago. After reading the synopsis I decided the book wasn't for me and left it at the bottom of my TBR pile. I finally dusted this off my virtual book shelf when Apple Tree Yard was dramatized on television. All credit to the author the plot was sensational, I would never of guessed how the story would play out. The story begins with scientist Yvonne Carmichael on trial at The Old Bailey. Yvonne had a sexual en Listened to in audio format. I bought this audio book in an Audible sale a couple of years ago. After reading the synopsis I decided the book wasn't for me and left it at the bottom of my TBR pile. I finally dusted this off my virtual book shelf when Apple Tree Yard was dramatized on television. All credit to the author the plot was sensational, I would never of guessed how the story would play out. The story begins with scientist Yvonne Carmichael on trial at The Old Bailey. Yvonne had a sexual encounter with a stranger in the crypt of the Houses of parliament. Bored, Yvonne starts an affair with Mr X who gets a thrill of having sex in dangerous places. Both Yvonne and Mr X are happy to have a fling but do not want to end their marriages. I don't want to ruin the story for you but Yvonne's life is turned upside down after a party at her university. Devastated Yvonne feels she cannot and will not go to the police. Reluctant to tell her husband, she confides in Mr X with devastating consequences for them both. The best part of this story is the trial when we find out more about the mysterious Mr X. The only reason I have given this book 3 stars is because I did not understand Yvonne. I thought she was a cold fish and not particularly likeable. I can appreciate that Yvonne was lonely after her two adult children had left home and was ripe for an affair. However Yvonne was very clinical, I doubt she would have sex with a man in a crypt within five minutes of meeting. All in all an enjoyable thriller but spoiled because of Yvonne's stupid decisions.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    I was uncertain whether I was going to like this book as it took me a little while to get into it. It all seemed a little odd initially but then it really took off for me and I struggled to put it down. Yvonne, a very well liked Geneticist, is married to Guy and they have two adult children, Carrie and Adam. Yvonne starts a shamefully quick affair with X and the story is told from the perspective of her relating past events to X as typed on her personal computer at home. We know that a crime has I was uncertain whether I was going to like this book as it took me a little while to get into it. It all seemed a little odd initially but then it really took off for me and I struggled to put it down. Yvonne, a very well liked Geneticist, is married to Guy and they have two adult children, Carrie and Adam. Yvonne starts a shamefully quick affair with X and the story is told from the perspective of her relating past events to X as typed on her personal computer at home. We know that a crime has been committed from the onset, but we don't know who or why, only that Yvonne and X are on trial at The Old Bailey. The extraordinary events that take place in the middle of the book, which ultimately shapes the story, are remarkable in the extreme; I actually gasped aloud and was quite disturbed, and from that point on I really admired Yvonne. She is a strong character and, although she makes some life changing decisions, these are done to protect the people she loves. X is a little different to get to know as Yvonne knows very little about him but I have to say I thought him a little distant and odd from the outset. There, I will say no more for fear of ruining this terrific, and very different, book. Enjoy. Highly recommended.

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