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In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son's red coat was fished out of the River Ouse....
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others....
"I have been acquainted with the smell of death." So begins Clytemnestra's tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city....
Gerry, once an architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. Stella is tired of his lifestyle and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith....
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A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first....
Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5....
How far would you go to protect your family? Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children, with the help of his devoted mother, Judi. And then Ben meets Amber....
Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in....
Anna Kerrigan, nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family....
When, in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across from the Kremlin....
Mary scours Craigslist for fast-cash jobs and finds the "Girlfriend Experiment," the brainchild of an eccentric and narcissistic actor determined to find the perfect relationship....
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An intelligent, erotically charged thriller with deep moral implications
Yvonne Carmichael, renowned geneticist, public authority, happily married mother of two, sits in the accused box. The charge is murder. Across the courtroom, not meeting her eye, sits her alleged accomplice. He wears the beautiful pin-striped suit he wore on their first meeting in the Houses of Parliament, when he put his hand on her elbow, guided her to a deserted and ancient chapel, and began to undress her. As the barrister’s voice grows low and sinuous, Yvonne realizes she’s lost herself and the life she’d built so carefully to a man who never existed at all.
After their first liaison, Yvonne’s lover tells her very little about himself, but she comes to suspect his secrecy has an explanation connected with the British government. So thrilled and absorbed is she in her newfound sexual power that she fails to notice the real danger about to blindside her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Then, reeling from an act of violence, Yvonne discovers that her desire for justice and revenge has already been compromised. Everything hinges on one night in a dark little alley called Apple Tree Yard.
There was Eve and that forbidden apple, Snow White and her poisonous apple, and here is Yvonne Carmichael, and her 'apple' of sorts -- a damning lie about Apple Tree Yard, a back alley near the House of Parliament where Yvonne and her former lover now sit, on trial for murder. A slow, but blunt start, this novel picks up speed like a sprinter and holds the listener in its slipstream until the very last sentence. I couldn't put it down, except for a few times when it was necessary to shake out the tension.
Doughty's novel is an intelligent, cleverly constructed suspense thriller, at times sharp, provocative, frank and straight forward, twisting into unexpected moments of beautiful prose and searing insight. This is a book that leads you into moral judgements, then has you chucking them aside, looking closer at substance and shadows. The author's depiction of the modern day woman and the duality of roles is brilliant : does good mother mean no career? earns half the income, so half the housework? does a philandering husband suffer the same scrutiny as an adulterous wife? are middle-aged men judged as harshly as middle-aged women?
The book begins by revealing the ending, but it is the last couple of sentences that pull the trigger. The first person narrative is done in the style of an imaginary retrospective letter Yvonne reads to her former lover (whom she calls only 'X' for most of the book) while she awaits questioning. Her cool professional style paints the events in a glaring, harsh light; the almost scientific delivery void of emotion, adding to the mystery and drama surrounding this crime...of passion ?
"DNA made me and DNA undid me."
While the pragmatic approach may slow down the launch, it's what develops the psychological arc of the story. Cutting in and out of the past and present, Yvonne selectively discloses the chain of events that propelled the two lovers to this tragic end. The details are rationed out like steamy little bits with just hints of everyday family life, dropped in like speed bumps as the affair proceeds with lightning rapidity.
“In 18 months' time, I would discover that his blood group was O Positive.”
A few moments later, the narration is thrust to the present, a black-robed barrister closing in.
Doughty's courtroom scenes make you understand the term *sweating bullets* -- they are deliberate and tense, as wonderfully agonizing as a poisonous spider crawling up an arm. Yvonne's facts begin to hint at the slightest insecurities about being an aging female. The barrister seems over confident. You feel the hold you thought you had on the truth slipping away and find yourself asking, where is the deceit. Is it the experienced lover that emphasized constantly to never admit the affair, there is no way to prove the affair, no evidence....or Yvonne herself, the respected 52 yr. old geneticist with "status and gravitas...when I don't have my tights round my ankles in a secluded chapel beneath the house of Parliament, that is." The truth is somewhere between the lines in Yvonne's narration. Yvonne may not elicit sympathy from readers, but she isn't deserving of the scarlet letter. She feels real and vulnerable, even similar to some modern professional women you may have met.
I wondered why this was placed on that curtained-off bottom shelf of Erotica & Sexuality, not a genre I usually choose. Call me kinky, but I would say more spicy than erotic; a tightly woven courtroom drama/psychological thriller (for men & women), that is definitely sexually and erotically charged -- deserving more of a full-frontal shelf in Fiction (since Henry Miller, Anais Niin, D. H. Lawrence are stacked in those shelves). Add cautionary tale to the many genres tagged to this book: one impulsive bad choice can upset the whole apple barrel.
50 of 59 people found this review helpful
This was a very well written, well narrated story. It starts slow but it is worth the wait to hang in there until things get going. I don't like to give s synopsis of the story because you can read the summary on the Audible page. I would categorize this as psychological suspense. The author takes her time in revealing intermittent surprises but she keeps the story interesting along the way for the most part. I am one who doesn't have much patience for a boring story. I have returned more than a couple of books because I could not get into them. I did not return this one. I would recommend it slow start and all.
10 of 14 people found this review helpful
Where does Apple Tree Yard rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Top ten, of hundreds.
What did you like best about this story?
The way I was forced to admit I had been enjoying my own smug judgments. I was unable to maintain that attitude for long, as characters came alive and their flaws no longer wholly defined them. Also, the book went in a direction I didn't see coming and it really stunned me, which made me realize I'd been underestimating the novel even as I'd been enjoying it tremendously.
Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favorite?
Guy. I practically fell in love with him just for his extemporaneous demonstration as he explains why, in the face of unexpected threat, the limbic system will trump the cerebral cortex. That short scene told so much about him, even as he had so much to deal with he was still loyal and protective. <br/>Juliet Stevenson was terrific throughout the book, I can't think of a character she did not perform well. Now that I think about it, the narration was so good I should have mentioned it above- what I liked best. But it was such a good narration that I didn't think much about it, I was so caught up in the story.
Any additional comments?
BUY THIS NOVEL! It's costs less than $13, and thru Dec 17th it is $9.09. headline . It's worth a credit, or a higher cost, the low price is just one more reason to buy.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Juliet Stevenson infuses pathos and melancholy into a dreamy, naive protagonist who becomes entrapped in what proves to be a rather mundane murder. The story is told first-person from the protagonist's viewpoint and she addresses her thoughts to a unnamed "you," the man with whom she engages in an improbable affair. For most of the novel, the real mystery is figuring out who the man really is, his motivations and his true feelings for the protagonist. We don't even know his name until more than two-thirds of the way into the story. I found the device wore very thin and I probably would have bailed were it not for Stevenson's expert reading. As it turned out, I am glad I stuck with it because I do think the novel had some intriguing elements and the writing is excellent in parts, with interesting characterizations. By the end it was clear Doughty meant this to be, in part, a play on the techniques of storytelling. At one point in the protagonist's trial, she observes, "I realized that all one needs for a story is a collection of facts." Yes, that and few more things, and maybe especially a consummate actress like Juliet Stevenson reading your stuff.
8 of 14 people found this review helpful
I seldom read crime novels, but I am really glad I got the Apple Tree Yard.I found it to be a real masterpiece - the descriptions of feelings and thoughts are so compelling, so true. This book is so much more than a crime novel - it is like a slice of life, an in depth look into what drives us to do what we do, to make the choices we make. I really hope to be able to listen to more works by Louse Doughty. Juliet Stevenson's narration is excellent as always.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Apple Tree Yard in three words, what would they be?
Suspenseful, emotional, and compelling
What was one of the most memorable moments of Apple Tree Yard?
The entire story was compelling. It was difficult to turn it off!
Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
A wonderful narrator ! I would like to hear more of her narration
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I was drawn into this story by the elegance of the prose and the intimacy of the narration. I related to the emotions of the first person narrator.
Any additional comments?
Loved it !
3 of 7 people found this review helpful
It took me days to finish this listen, so sad and painful it was. I loved the story and could hardly wait 'til the end but it's intense and sad storyline had me taking frequent breaks. The narrator is British and is wonderful, I could visualize this story while she read. This is one of the rare books I have come across that did not have a happy ending. I am glad I chose this book, fiction that can play havoc with your emotions like this one did mine is worth the pain and sadness I endured.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful
A profound exploration of the myriad lies we accept from others, tell to others, and above all tell ourselves--this is the first of Doughty's work I've read, and I can hardly wait to read more.
Juliet Stevenson's phenomenal reading--I should say her artistry--both illuminates and enhances the author's perfect craftsmanship. I have listened to several of her other Audible performances and every time have been bowled over not just by her acting genius by but her extraordinary knowledge of human nature itself and of how emotions, experience, and characacter can be evoked with the tiniest pause or inflection or in the most subtle vocal mannerism. I would happily listen to her read the text on a cereal box, but how fantastic it is to hear her read novels like this one that provokes listeners to think deeply about truth, to understand how perilous and precious our relationships are, and to feel the heart open as we do.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Surprised by how much this impacts the reader. Totally worth the journey. Really thought provoking. Loved the performance.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Like many reviewers I had difficulty with the underlying assumption of the story but the writing and the narration were so good that it did not hinder my involvement. In fact I took it as a method for a good author to take a character and put her in an odd place to build the framework for the fiction.
If you like this book I recommend "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan and also narrated by Juliet Stevenson. It seems almost like a sequel (or prequel).
1 of 4 people found this review helpful