Later this week I’m off to Headline’s #NewVoices2019 event where I’m so looking forward to meeting Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange. My enormous thanks to the lovely folk at Headline for sending me a copy of Blood Orange in return for an honest review.
Blood Orange will be published by Headline imprint Wildfire on 21st February 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….
My Review of Blood Orange
Alison has the seemingly perfect life, but appearances can be deceiving.
Oh my goodness. What a debut from Harriet Tyce. If I’m honest, I was expecting a competent and interesting read. I hadn’t quite anticipated such a fast paced, intricate and pulse elevating experience. I felt quite breathless reading Blood Orange and, unusually for me, couldn’t begin a new book immediately until what I’d just read sank in and I’d recovered. It’s no exaggeration to say that Harriet Tyce made my veins tingle the closer I got to the end of the book. It’s a corker!
The plot is just brilliant. Yes, I guessed a couple of elements, especially in the subplot of Madeleine, but I also had some surprises along the way too; indeed, some of the writing is genuinely quite shocking. Occasionally explicit, I found Blood Orange spellbinding reading, so that I was removed from my comfort zone and transported to a world I’m so glad is far from my own experience. It was the insidious attitudes of those who should know better that I found so affecting and disturbing. It’s not possible to say more without spoiling the read, but, trust me, it’s a cracker of a story.
I abhorred Alison’s reckless behaviour, her affair with Patrick and her drinking, but by the end of Blood Orange I was entirely on her side. Harriet Tyce has created an scarily compelling character in Alison who is complex, totally flawed and utterly believable. As the novel reaches is climax I was willing her on. What is such a triumph is the ambiguity surrounding Alison, Carl and Patrick. Harriet Tyce shines a laser light on morality, revealing it in all its horrors and yet leaves the reader reeling, unsure of their own position and opinions.
Harriet Tyce’s prose is hugely affecting. Although there isn’t a vast amount of description, as she understands perfectly how much is needed to create a scene, I found it cinematic and vivid. It was more like watching events unfold as a kind of bewitched voyeur than actually reading a narrative. It felt a little as if I were in the scenes with the characters like an out of body experience. I think this is what I found so addictive about reading Blood Orange. I was as manipulated by the writing as any of the characters in the book.
Blood Orange is a fabulous book. It entertains, certainly, but even more it disturbs and unsettles the reader too. The themes of trust, passion, obsession, truth and relationships seethe in a claustrophobic maelstrom of compelling writing. I thought it was outstanding.
About Harriet Tyce
Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University before practising as a criminal barrister for the next decade. After having children she left the Bar and has recently completed with distinction an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia. Blood Orange is her first novel.