APPLE TREE YARD by Louise Doughty
“I can scarcely believe we had sex in the Houses of Parliament. I can scarcely believe that we ever had sex at all. That acute feeling, the giddiness of it, as if I had plunged my face into a bouquet of lilies, their scent so blissful it would make me feel faint – that was what it was like. Was it happiness? Was that all it was? Or was it a kind of addiction, to the story, to the drama of what we were doing? If it was a film, we were the stars.”
Review by Bonnie Brody В (JAN 14, 2014)
Yvonne Carmichael, 52 years old, is a respected geneticist, married for many years with two grown children. She works for an esteemed institute called The Beaufort and is also an external examiner for graduate students. Her life is rich in many ways. Thus, it comes as a surprise to her that when she is scheduled to give a report at the House of Parliaments she notices a man who is giving her a come hither look and she begins to follow him. This begins an extraordinary affair. She doesn’t even know his name or what he does, though after some time she surmises that he is a spy of some type. This first time they have sex, he leads her to the Crypt Chapel on the House of Parliaments grounds and in the rank basement they make love. Yvonne thinks “From my empirical knowledge of you I know one thing and one thing only. Sex with you is like being eaten by a wolf.”
The affair begins suddenly and is all-consuming for Yvonne. Her lover gives her a pre-pay phone with his number programmed in and she is to call him only on that. She fantasizes about him continually and her life is one long effort to be with him in every free moment.
“It is worrying me, how easy you found it to have sex with me. I could have said, how easy you found it to seduce me…but seduction suggests a process of persuasion over the passage of time. You just went right ahead and I went right along with it – there wasn’t any persuading necessary. I need you to know this was not normal for me.”
Yvonne is caught up in the high of her sexual power, her ability to court a man who desires her so fully. The mystery of the affair is also a pull for her. It is so different from her daily life. “I am fifty-two. I have status and gravitas – when I don’t have my tights around my ankles in a secluded chapel beneath the Houses of Parliament, that is.”
We learn in the prologue that there is a court case, that something is happening to the two of them that is very serious and earth-shattering. Yvonne realizes in court as the novel opens, “That is the moment when it all comes crashing down . . . We both know we are about to lose everything – our marriages are over our careers are finished, I have lost my son’s and daughter’s good regard, and more than that, our freedom is at stake. Everything we have tried to protect – it is all about to tumble.” Their affair leads them to an act that finds them in court, fighting for their freedom with every ounce of their strength.
This is a bountiful novel, filled to the brim with wonderful writing, psychological suspense, an erotically charged relationship and a harrowing courtroom battle. Told from the first person, with Yvonne as the narrator, we travel with her from her first glance at her lover to the denouement which is riveting. Louise Doughty has written a truly compelling novel, one that has me wanting to read her other works, and soon.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 7 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Sarah Crichton Books (January 14, 2014)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Louise Doughty|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:
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- Dance With Me (1996)
- An English Murder (aka Honey Dew in UK)(1998; 2000 in US)
- Fires in the Dark (2003)
- Stone Cradle (2006)
- Whatever You Love (2010)
- Apple Tree Yard (January 2014)