I had previously read Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty and loved it, I gave it 5 stars. I admired the author's way with words and was totally absorbed by the book. Apple Tree Yard was also beautifully written, but I was not grabbed by the subject matter. A middle-aged woman who spontaneously decides to have sex with a complete stranger and then discovers it comes with a price, did not generate my sympathy at all.
Yvonne Charmicael is in a somewhat staid marriage with a husband who she loves, but has grown bored of. She has a satisfying career as a geneticist but is reducing her hours towards semi-retirement. Her daughter is in a stable relationship, but her son has psychological problems and I'd have preferred the book to have been more about him.
Yvonne's love interest does not sound particularly sweep-you-off-your-feet-handsome. He is also married but that doesn't seem to stop him from chasing women for sex; I just couldn't understand how he was so successful at this!
I'm not a great fan of courtroom dramas and a large part of this book does take place in a courtroom. However, the psychological observations planted throughout the court case did make it somewhat more interesting. Still, the book slowed at this stage and I was ready for the end when it finally arrived. I did care what the verdict was, I hadn't completely lost interest in the characters by then, but I was definitely ready to move on to my next read.
In my opinion, not Louise Doughty's best.