Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Apple Tree Yard is a tense page-turner about a short affair with criminal consequences.  The book dives straight into the action with the protagonist, Yvonne Carmichael, sitting in the witness box for a crime which has yet to be revealed.  The story is told in the first person by Yvonne – a fifty-two year old geneticist.  Respected in her field, she is happily married and the mother of two grown children.  What has derailed her seemingly successful life so drastically that she has arrived here?

The novel is written in the first person so we are relying on Yvonne to tell the story.  She is analytical and dispassionate which makes it somewhat difficult to warm to her.  She meets X, a shadowy figure with whom she quickly becomes obsessed, and even though she is matter-of-fact about the nature of their relationship, she does tend to come up with her own theories about X and run with them without any of the questioning one would expect from an experienced scientist.

The story moves from past to present quite a bit as gaps in the story are gradually filled in.  I enjoyed this book – Yvonne is not a likeable character and the irresistible appeal of X is not at all apparent yet this is a satisfying psychological tale.  The tension builds nicely through the book and insights into the criminal justice system were fascinating.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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