First of all, if anyone reading this hasn’t seen Anna’s post from May 26, stop right here and go read that immediately, because Anna is amazing. I know that this blog is usually all about YA fiction and torturing ourselves with Atlas Shrugged, but Anna’s post is a good reminder of why we chose the name for this blog, and how important books have been and continue to be for all of us.
And now for a book review that is neither YA or Ayn Rand.
I’ve already raved here about how much I loved Gone Girl, and Anna has written about enjoying another Gillian Flynn book. For the past couple of years I’ve seen a great deal of discussion about what would be “the next Gone Girl,” and one of the suggestions that came up was the English book Apple Tree Yard. Apple tree yard–doesn’t that sound pretty and pastoral, peaceful almost? Yeah, that not what this book is at all. But if you’ve liked any of Gillian Flynn’s creepy mysteries, I bet that you’ll enjoy this one as well.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but from the beginning you understand that the main character, a British woman in her 50s, is on trial for something bad that went down when she was having an affair with a mysterious man who isn’t names until late in the book. The real story is the process, the downward spiral of exactly how the affair happened and what went so terribly wrong. The whole thing is very grim, and everything in the main character’s life–marriage, work, children–seems to have a dark cloud hanging over it. In fact, each time I closed the book I found myself feeling a bit disappointed in people and in life. Here was this woman who seemed to have made such good decisions and have such a nice life, and yet things were just rotten underneath it all and everyone and everything was sort of horrible. Much like the Gillian Flynn books, I sort of wanted to take a shower after reading.
Although there’s not a single huge twist as in Gone Girl, I found myself frantically turning pages to learn how things all went so wrong. The book also offered a nice look into the English justice system, which is a bit different than we’re used to seeing on American TV. And for the record, Apple Tree Yard is the name of a tiny London side-street where something unseemly happens. So, definitely not pastoral, but very gripping.
Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Dark courtroom drama
You might also like: Lionel Shriver’s books, which also tend to be grim, women-centered books about the tragedy of everyday life in modern England. The Post-Birthday World has been my favorite of hers so far.