21st February 2019
Publisher: Wildfire Books
Buy it now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Orange-Harriet-Tyce/dp/1472252756/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1551485344&sr=8-1&keywords=blood+orange
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce is a compelling psychological thriller which is dark and deadly in many ways. The characters are intriguing and really make you consider what lies behind the closed doors of married couples’ lives. With themes of family, marriage and affairs, murder and sexual psychology, this is a deep and unsettling read which will leave you hanging.
Alison and Carl have a strained marriage. Alison is a successful, workaholic lawyer, while Carl is building up his own psychology practice after being made redundant. He is also the more active parent for their daughter, Matilda. Alison’s latest case is defending a woman who has seemingly murdered her husband. As Alison delves into their married life, she notices parallels with them and her own love life that she just can’t ignore. But who will snap first out of her and Carl? And how will her affair with Patrick affect things?
What I liked…
Harriet Tyce is a very good writer. Many of the scenes are incredibly unsettling and yet bring you back to the hard realities of life. Many a time, Tyce uses bodily fluids and excrement to set the tone for how you are supposed to feel while reading those sections. This is something that not many authors can do, and I am impressed with Tyce’s command of atmosphere and feeling.
The characters are SO unreliable, I absolutely love it. Never knowing who to trust, Alison plays the victim, Carl the hero and Patrick the villain, but nobody is who they seem, and nobody is a hero. Naturally, I liked Alison through most of the book, but had to remind myself that people can end up being controlled to the point of submission, as I did get frustrated with her response to Carl’s controlling behaviour.
Patrick is a difficult character, as there is a cold distance to him and yet a vulnerability we see more as the book goes on, and I cannot help but feel that he did not deserve the ending he got, but definitely needed some help. Carl on the other hand, was exactly who I thought he was, but in an unexpected way. I did appreciate the way Tyce builds this character, but felt that some of his story wasn’t fully explained.
This is the part I struggled with. As great as this novel is, I felt that there were a few loose ends. For example, Alison’s drunken nights are brought up, but not the other suspicious activity, including her forgetting to pick her daughter up and the game of hide and seek. I felt like misdoing was alluded to in some instances, but if this isn’t noticed, Alison doesn’t seem like the most forgivable character.
Overall, this is a solid 4* read. If those few loose ends were tied up, it would have been five stars. I would recommend this to people who enjoyed Anatomy of A Scandal, The Silent Patient, or lovers of deep, disturbing psychological fiction. Thank you Wildfire Books for my proof copy of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce in exchange for an honest review.