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NBC Insider Apples Never Fall

The Apples Never Fall TV Series Differs From the Bestselling Book in Some Major Ways

Peacock's Limited Series Apples Never Fall is based on Liane Moriarty's book of the same name, but there are several key differences in how the story unfolds.

By Jill Sederstrom
Apples Never Fall: A Great Ride | Apples Never Fall on Peacock | NBC

Like any family, The Delaneys have their secrets. 

Peacock’s Apples Never Fall gets to the core of those secrets in a suspenseful, seven-part limited series delving into the disappearance of family matriarch Joy Delaney (Annette Bening). Her sudden vanishing has Joy’s four adult children on edge as they reexamine what they thought they knew about each other and their parents' seemingly perfect marriage. 

The series is based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling 2021 novel of the same name, but as showrunner Melanie Marnich told NBC Insider, the limited series isn’t a carbon copy of its literary predecessor. 

As the story was moved from the page to the television screen, Marnich, who also serves as the writer and an executive producer, said some changes were made to become a better fit for the new format. 

“I decided to change a few of the character relationships, occupations, added a few people to enrich what was there and to really push … the character part of it and the mystery,” showrunner Melanie Marnich told NBC Insider

One thing that didn’t change was the “propulsive storytelling” that takes viewers through “the highs and lows of family life, of love, of moral complexity, and what it is to be in a long-term relationship.” 

So just what were the biggest differences from page to screen? 

All Differences Between Apples Never Fall Book and Show

Spoiler follow for both the book and the entire series of Apples Never Fall


The Setting is Different 

While all Liane Moriarty’s books are set in Australia, the limited series takes place in sunny West Palm Beach, Florida. 

“I set the show in south Florida because it is the seat of so much competitive tennis training in the United States,” showrunner Melanie Marnich explained in press material. 

Ironically, however, filming actually took place on Australia’s Gold Coast, which was just made to look like West Palm Beach in the series.

Annette Bening as joy on Apples Never Fall

“Australia is heavenly,” actress Annette Bening, who plays Joy, shared of the scenic locale. “It’s a beautiful place and the crews were superb.” 

The hurricane — which tore through West Palm Beach  just as the drama reached a crescendo — was also added to stir up suspense. 

Stan Never Knocks Anyone’s Teeth Out

In the book, Stan (Sam Neill)  never knocks another player’s teeth out during a tennis match. 

RELATED: Annette Bening Reveals Her Family Life Inspired This Aspect of Apples Never Fall

The brutal scene in the limited series not only speaks to the retired coach’s extremely competitive nature, but also demonstrates the mounting pressure he is facing in his wife’s absence. 

Joy Never Has an Affair

In the limited series, an earlier affair between Joy and another man causes tension in her marriage. 

In the book, Joy is never unfaithful.

Savannah Getting Her Stuff From Her Ex Is More Dramatic

In the novel, Troy (Jake Lacy) and Logan (Conor Merrigan-Turner) accompany Savannah to her old apartment to pick up her stuff after she mysteriously shows up at rhe Delaneys' front door claiming she’s a victim of abuse, but the interaction is much less dramatic than it is in the limited series. 

As it plays out in the book, Troy and Logan find her ex, Dave, at the apartment and talk to him as Savannah gathers her things. When suspicions about her true intentions mount, Logan returns to the apartment to get more information from Dave, who insists he was never abusive and tells Logan that Savannah simply walked out after a TV segment about tennis star Harry Hadad came on the television. 

Georgia Flood attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Peacock's New Series "Apples Never Fall"

In the TV version, Savannah’s boyfriend has already moved out by the time they arrive at the apartment and the new tenant clearly doesn’t appreciate the visitors, which becomes all too obvious when he pulls out a gun.

Logan Never Works at the Marina

Several major plot points in the limited series revolve around Logan’s job managing the marina — but they never happen in the book. In the novel, Logan works as a teacher at a local community college.

Stan Never Takes a Boat Out on His Own

As a result, Stan never takes one of the boats out the night Joy disappears or is captured on video loading a large bag into the boat. In the novel, he is spotted removing a large piece of carpet from his home, which serves the same purpose of heightening the suspicion of investigators and his family.

Amy Never Holds a Hope Circle

Amy’s free-spirit ways are on full display when she hosts a ‘hope circle”  in the limited series to pour positive energy into her mom’s safe return, but it never happens in the book. While Amy (Alison Brie)  is a wandering soul still struggling to find her way, she works as a taste tester, not a life coach in the novel. 

Troy Never Has a Relationship with Lucia

Troy’s fast-paced life as a wealthy venture capitalist has an added element of danger in the limited series. He’s having an ongoing affair with Lucia, the wife of his boss and pseudo-father figure.

In the novel, Troy is a wealthy trader on the stock market, but never has any extracurricular activities with his boss’ wife or falls in love with her. Just like the limited series, he does try to figure out what to do about his ex’s request for their frozen embryos, but that’s the biggest struggle in his personal life.

Brooke Never Has an Affair with Savannah

When we meet Brooke (Essie Randles) in the novel, her marriage to husband Grant is already falling apart and they are separated. 

Apples Never Fall5

In the limited series, Brooke is engaged and planning a wedding to her successful restaurant owner partner, Gina. But when Brooke begins to suspect Gina might be having an affair (she’s not), she has her own romantic encounter with Savannah at her childhood home. After she finally comes clean about the infidelity, her future with Gina is left up in the air.

Stan Is Never Arrested

As suspicions mount against Stan — and the damaging video of him loading a large bag into a boat the night of the disappearance makes its way to police — investigators in the series move in to make an arrest and Stan spends several nights in jail for his wife’s murder. He’s even told by his attorney that he could be facing the death penalty if convicted of the charges against him. 

In the book, however, investigators are just arriving at Stan’s house to arrest him when Joy miraculously returns.

Joy Tries To Tell Her Family Where She’s Going

One of the most significant differences  in the limited series is the way Joy’s disappearance plays out. In the televised version, Joy agrees to go with Savannah to her cabin in Georgia — without ever telling her family — after growing frustrated that many of her family members are angry and ignoring her for a past mistake. Joy spends day after day enjoying the break from her regular life at the  cabin in the mountains, gardening, taking in a local karaoke night, and making friends with a neighbor, before ever attempting to call her family (she realizes then that the phone isn’t working and demands to go home). 

In the novel, Joy goes on a 21-day off-the-grid retreat with Savannah, but she doesn’t try to keep the trip from her family. Joy left a note explaining her decision on the refrigerator door, but the note slid down because of a weak magnet and the dog ate it, leaving her whereabouts a mystery.

Savannah’s True Identity Is Revealed Much Earlier

In the limited series, the truth about who Savannah (Georgia Flood) really is and why she targeted the Delaney family isn’t discovered until the final episode, but the stunning reveal takes place much earlier in the novel.

In the book, Joy learns that Savannah is really Lindsay Haddad, the sister of  Harry Haddad, a tennis star and former student of Stan’s, after going through her room. Savannah confessed to the family that she was raised by an abusive mother who wanted her to be a ballerina and starved her. Savannah described coming to the family’s home one day looking for food, but all of the Delaneys turned her away, fueling her anger against them. She is also the one to let it slip that Joy encouraged Harry and his father to find a new coach and leave Stan behind. After making the stunning revelation, she packed up her bags and left the house.

Apples Never Fall2

In the limited series, Joy confessed during a heated family meeting that she had been the one to encourage Harry to leave because she believed Stan’s role as his coach was destroying the family.

Joy Never Has a Dramatic Face-Off With Savannah

Joy seems to be enjoying her vacation from her regular life in the limited series until a neighbor casually mentions that a hurricane struck West Palm Beach. Worried, Joy tries to call her family but realizes the landline doesn’t work. She asks Savannah to take her back home and Savannah agrees, but while she is gone getting gas for the car, Joy discovers a bag hidden in her closet that holds a gun and the secret of her true identity. (At the same time, Joy’s four adult children have made the same discovery after speaking to Harry at a tennis club). 

After Savannah realizes Joy has stumbled on her secret, she speeds up the car, continuing to accelerate in the tense scene between the two as she explains that she blames Joy for getting Harry to fire Stan and therefore sending her father and brother away to go work with a new coach while she’s left on her own to deal with an abusive mom.

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Savannah continues to accelerate until the car crashes. Savannah grabs her bag and runs from the scene, after asking an unconscious Joy for her forgiveness.

The police bring Joy home and Stan is released from jail.

Apples Never Fall4

In the book, there is no dramatic showdown between Joy and Savannah. Joy already discovered her true identity during her stay at the Delaney house and knows Savannah blames her for breaking up her family.

Savannah’s Fate Is Darker

After bolting from the crash scene, Joy tells her children in the limited series that Savannah has disappeared and police are still looking for her, leaving the clever con artist’s fate a mystery. 

At the end of the novel, however, readers get a more sinister look into Savannah’s activities. Readers learn that Savannah drugged her mother and locked her in her old bedroom with limited food and water and a note telling her to ration the food carefully in revenge for the years she was starved. As the novel ends, Savannah is seen boarding a plane to return to her mother’s house to find out the old woman’s fate.

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