Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

apple tree yard

This book was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger for Best Thriller and the Specsavers National Book Awards Crime & Thriller of the Year. I read the back and it gave me chills. “Yvonne Carmichael meets a stranger and 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.” I judged it was another domesticated thriller. A woman makes a mistake, holds a great secret and is a misunderstood victim in so many ways. It is not that.

Told in two halves the affair and the trail, at the centre a crime of passion and jealousy. I started this book with a very negative attitude but it’s cleverer than that. I found it to be more sophisticated in both its telling and its subject. Yvonne is at a staff party, gets drunk and is raped by a member of staff. Because the affair, she can’t go to the police. Instead, she has a very interesting and frank conversation about her chances of having her rapist convicted. What she did that day, wore that day and drunk that day should not be taking into consideration but it would be. Disgusting, unjust and true.

The second half of the book was the trail. This I found fascinating. What a clever way of causing speculation and doubt than with a court case and two versions of ‘the truth’. We are not told the ins and outs of the crime itself. We hear the medical examiner. We hear from witnesses who saw her parked outside. We hear from the victim’s family telling us what a wonderful person they were. The author does not lie or withhold information or twist words to trick us for a big reveal. It is Yvonne and her lover and their lawyers. Part psychological thriller and part courtroom drama.

Watch my video review:

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