Blood Orange

By Harriet Tyce
Grand Central
ISBN 978-1538762738
Publication Date: February 2019

Blood Orange

Review by Sharon Marchisello

Reading Harriet Tyce’s beautifully written debut novel, Blood Orange (Grand Central Publishing), is a bit like being a voyeur. Most of the characters aren’t particularly likable, but they’re fascinating enough to compel the reader to keep turning the pages.

The story is narrated by Allison Bailey, the protagonist, who has a successful career as a barrister but a messed-up personal life. Sometimes I just wanted to shake her. She drinks too much, and she knows it, and keeps telling herself she’ll stop, but she doesn’t. She adores her six-year-old daughter, Matilda, but doesn’t spend as much time with her as she wishes she would.

Allison’s husband, Carl, picks up the slack in a passive-aggressive manner, never failing to remind Allison what a terrible wife and mother she is. He obviously resents Allison being the breadwinner in the family, while he struggles with his practice as a part-time sex therapist.

In addition to binge-drinking with her coworkers after hours, Allison is having a sordid affair with Patrick, a colleague who doesn’t treat her much better than Carl does. Another habit she keeps telling herself she needs to break.

Despite her shambles of a personal life, Alison’s career is soaring. She is assigned her first murder case, and Patrick, as the solicitor, is co-counsel. The defendant, Madeleine Smith, has been accused of stabbing her husband to death, and she is ready to plead guilty. But something doesn’t add up. And as Allison delves further into the case, she discovers many similarities in her own life.

The ending is shocking and only then will the title of the book make sense.

Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Oxford University. She worked as a barrister in London for a decade before leaving the law profession to raise a family. She later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction and is now working on a Ph.D. Blood Orange is her first novel.

Sharon Marchisello ( is the author of Going Home, (Sunbury Press, 2014) a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and a nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners, and writes a blog about personal finance, Countdown to Financial Fitness