Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard: A Book Review

The author of APPLE TREE YARD is Louise Doughty.

The novel begins with a court case description. The woman who wrote the story is on trial with a male, although we do not know for what crime. Murder, espionage, or theft? The author recalls the crucial moment when everything goes apart in court. After this, the novel returns to the beginning, where the events began.

The first-person narrative provides increasing detail about the woman’s marriage, work, and children, as well as her abrupt, atypical affair with a man she decides is a “spook.”

The woman narrating the story is a geneticist in her mid-50s with grown children; her name is Yvonne. She is frequently required to testify in murder prosecutions and to explain genetic facts to lawmakers. Her relationship with the anonymous man is kinky in the sense that they frequently engage in sexual activity in public. It is uncertain when she will next see him or how their relationship will progress. Despite this, she feels she loves him.

After becoming intoxicated at a company party, Jane is raped by a coworker she misjudged. She does not report the rape to the police or her husband because she believes her affair will be revealed if she does. Following a little while, the rapist continues to stalk her. At this moment, she informs her partner, who states that he will handle the problem.

By page 120, it is unclear why she is involved in the trial of her boyfriend. What did he accomplish, and how did she become involved? Is he indeed a spy, or only a junior security officer? Where has he vanished to? What about his wife and kids? The mystery keeps you reading and turning pages because you are gradually given more and more parts of the jigsaw puzzle on each page. The closer you come to the conclusion of the book, the more information you crave. Even her husband finds it simple to empathize with Yvonne, as she appears reasonably innocent, respectable, clever, and affectionate.

As the text progresses, each question is settled, and all the answers are provided. The plot develops and culminates in a satisfying conclusion. The court descriptions are highly precise and realistic due to their level of detail. Simultaneously, we hear the narrator’s voice conveying her feelings, ideas, anxieties, astonishment, and the agony of being disbelieved. The court suggests that she was not raped, but rather had a sexual relationship with the alleged offender. She is described in court as a promiscuous, cheap, and easygoing woman.

The story has a strong female focus, especially in the court case depicting what it would be like to make a rape complaint. Women will connect with the emotional pain of a court case such as this, including the sarcastic remarks and insinuations of loose morals, as well as the feeling of being up for it.

The novel is well-written and constantly progresses, leaving us wondering where it will go and what will happen next. It is not merely the mystery that keeps us engaged, but also the emotional trip aided by the writing’s natural, flowing cadence. The novel takes place in the center of London, including The House of Lords, Piccadilly, Pall Mall, St. James’ Square Gardens, and the small side alleyways where the characters go.

This is a fascinating work, in part because we do not know what has occurred or why things are proceeding as they are until each occurrence is described in full. All of this contributes to a gratifying and enlightening tale due to the fact that we eventually learn all the facts, which fit together not only physically but also emotionally for the characters.

Printed in 2013