Book Review: Blood Orange

BLOOD ORANGE | Harriet Tyce
02.19.2019 | Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4/5 stars


Alison has it all. A loving husband, an adorable daughter, and a career that has taken off. Working as a barrister is a tough professional field to make your name known. Alison has worked many long hours and is now being rewarded with her first murder case. Everything looks perfect on the outside, but the truth is never that simple.

Alison likes to unwind with a drink or two or more. Her husband is growing embarrassed by her drinking, which has led to several awkward instances with friends and Alison neglecting her family. She’s also hiding an affair with her colleague. In order to avoid the issues in her personal life, Alison shifts her focus to her current case. Her client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband. In fact, she wants to plead guilty. Alison knows there is more to this case than meets the eye, but she can’t begin to dig into it further without acknowledging the issues in her own life. Things slowly start to spiral, both personally and professionally, and Alison finds herself in over her head.

None of this is happening, it’s not real. And if it’s not real, I’m not real, and nothing I do is real.

BLOOD ORANGE is Harriet Tyce’s debut book, but feels more like something a well-established author would release. This book was so much more than I was expecting! I knew there would be family drama and a legal aspect, but what I didn’t bank on was how well Tyce would weave the two worlds together.

At the heart of this story is Alison, our main character struggling with her personal and professional lives. She not only has a drinking problem, but she’s also having an affair and working a case that starts to hit a little too close to home for her liking. Unlike most unreliable narrators featured in crime fiction these days, I didn’t find Alison’s personal struggles to feel cliche. Alison feels genuinely like a woman who is convinced she is doing the right things in some departments of her life, while clearly acknowledging she has some issues.

Maybe we’re going to be alright. And even though inside I know I doubt it, I don’t let myself think otherwise.

I want to talk about my dislike of a few of the main characters, but I’ll save that for private chats with those who have read the book to avoid some spoilers! What I will expand on is how well crafted Tyce has made these characters. They all may be unlikable, but at some point they have a redeeming quality that makes you question your feelings. This ability to make the reader question themselves bonds them to Alison who is slowly learning to question these same people.

The ending to this book was really what solidified Harriet Tyce as an author I want to keep reading! I loved where she took the story and that she wasn’t afraid of the shockingly storyline. To clarify, this is not shock factor that is simply tossed in just because. It works with the storyline and provides a wonderful and wholly satisfying ending to a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m really looking forward to more books from Tyce!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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