52 in 52

Apple Tree Yard – Book Review

February 14, 2017

apple tree yard the bottom stepThis is the first fiction novel in my 52 in 52 challenge and it was recommended by my good friend Laura, who was adamant that I had to add it to the list.

As I very rarely get the opportunity to watch TV, I wasn’t aware this book was currently airing as a new BBC drama. However, I’m led to believe that like most cases, it doesn’t stand up to the book.

It is hard to write about this book without giving too much away, but what I can tell you is that it starts with the main character (Yvonne Carmicheal) in court on the witness stand. The story is then told in the first person from Yvonne’s perspective, steadily outlining all the events that led to this particular moment.

There were so many aspects of this book that I loved. Firstly it is set in London (where I live) and Louise Doughty (the author) really takes the time to describe each location, allowing you to follow the story, physically and mentally.

“I decide to walk up to Piccadilly … I decide to cross Birdcage Walk and skirt the edges of St James’s Park, a park that always looks different to me each time I walk through it. This time I notice the swans, the Hansel & Gretel house, the tumescent fountain.”

apple tree yardThis added to the reality of the story. I often found myself walking down these same streets and would catch myself glancing around as if I was going to bump into one of the characters. It was a thrilling element that helped to make the book more real.

The other technique that made this story a real page turner was how Louise withheld the main plot and the reason for Yvonne being in the courtroom until over half way through the story. Throughout the first half of the book, she hints to important pieces of information.

“… the next time I see that same expensive grey suit is in the dock of Courtroom Number Eight at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey.”

This coupled with the astounding twist midway through meant I was totally hooked throughout.

However I do have to admit that whilst the beginning and middle are truly riveting, the end is a little anticlimactic. Sometimes the best part of finishing a book is being left to wonder what happened to the characters after the pages finished. Instead, Louise has chosen to complete the story, wrapping it all up with a nice little bow, and whilst I usually prefer to know all the outcomes, for this book I would have preferred to have been given the option to explore my own.

Final Thoughts

Even with the slightly weakened ending, it doesn’t change how brilliant the rest of the story is, I can understand why the BBC chose to make it into a drama, as it makes for great TV.

This book is perfect for anyone who likes to absorb themselves in a book on their commute to work, on holiday or over the holidays. You will want to pick it up whenever you have the chance.

Thank you Laura, for this suggestion, you were right … I loved it!

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  • Reply lostandfoundthenovel May 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Its a pleasure to meet you. I have just completed my first novel and I would be delighted if you might consider reviewing in your blog. Frankly I am new to all this and I would love your support or at least some advice. I am a passionate traveler. http://lostandfoundthenovel.com/

    • Reply Tash T May 20, 2017 at 11:21 am

      I would love to review your novel, I will add it to my book challenge. Where can I find a copy?

  • Reply D T February 14, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Great work Tash T!!

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