Apple Tree Yard

  • by Louise Doughty
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 14 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life that she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children. Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and begins a passionate affair with him - a decision that will put everything she values at risk.
At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can't control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.
Apple Tree Yard is a psychological thriller about a woman's adultery and an insightful examination of the values we live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.

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What the Critics Say

“Doughty is a brilliant storyteller who knows how to build the suspense to breaking point.” (The Times)
“A compelling cautionary tale of what happens when fantasy begins to occlude real life. ‘The trouble with stories is, they are addictive,’ Doughty states. In this case, she may never have written a truer word.” (Guardian)
Apple Tree Yard is a chilling novel, in part because of the unsparing light it shines on our ability to deceive ourselves. Doughty has a particular gift for unsettling stories, for making us ask difficult questions of ourselves, our own relationships and choices, and this is her strongest book yet. It's not a comfortable read, but it is entirely compelling.” (Stephanie Merritt, Observer)
“Taut and psychologically persuasive ... A disquieting, perceptive and gripping read.” (Daily Mail)
“Gripping.” (Sunday Times)
“Welcome to Louise Doughty's world in which individuals are complex and fallible ... Doughty drops sharp, shiver-inducing insights, like winter raindrops, on every page ... The story is compelling but Doughty makes sure that we're enthralled by teasing us with tantalising glimpses of future events ... Her writing is piercing and potent, overpowering emotions captured in sharp, pithy phrases ... The court scene is one of the best I've ever read, the suspense and tension building to a taut peak ... Riveting.” (Independent on Sunday)
“If a prologue to a novel is to whet the reader's appetite, Louise Doughty provides irresistible temptation with the opening of Apple Tree Yard... A compelling read ... Recollection, interspersed with the growing tension as the trial plays out in the Old Bailey, provides a perfectly dovetailed structure. But within the thriller framework lies a wealth of acutely observed detail, a dissection of social attitudes and an examination of lust, trust, predatory sex, risky behaviour and responsibility ... there is considerably more to Apple Tree Yard than thrilling narrative alone.” (Herald)
“Nobody who reads Apple Tree Yard is likely to complain about feeling short-changed ... Here the sharp domestic details are powerfully combined with (among other things) a dark crime thriller, a gripping courtroom drama and an unforced meditation on the pleasures and dangers of self-deception ... Superbly teasing.” (Readers Digest)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Complex questions

Where do I start to review this book. It has so much in it. A profound psychological drama, cleverly unfolded, with so many facets. The book explores relationships, morality, motivations, perceptions, personality and the exigencies of circumstance which can turn our lives inside out. The author considers the working of the law and its relationship to underlying moralities, the meaning of truth and lies. Her central character lives and breathes through the outstanding performance of Juliet Stevenson. I loved this book and will look for more by this author.
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- Bjerkana "Love the outdoors and like to spirit a good book or audiobook into my pack. Live in the bush, grow much of my food and make stuff by hand."

Juliet Stevenson could read me the phone book.

If you could sum up Apple Tree Yard in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant story, cleverly told and perfectly narrated.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Apple Tree Yard?

It's such a slow build but you're there all the way - scared, intrigued - and you care about all the characters.


What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

Perfect pitch, rhythm and pace. She is The Business.


Any additional comments?

I am almost prepared to listen to it again.

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- Jane F. Clifton

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-02-2014
  • Publisher: Canongate Books