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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce - Review

Saturday, December 3, 2022

I feel like this was was everywhere in 2019 when it came out, so I bought it but then immediately forgot about it. But then I was looking for something else on my shelves and remembered how much I wanted to read this, so pulled it out. I'm really glad I did - it's utterly compelling and full of twists, and I now want everyone I know to read it.

The main character is Alison, who is a lawyer in London (I don't fully understand the difference between a barrister and a solicitor - I think she's a barrister and works under solicitors). She is married to Carl, who lost hus job a few years ago and has retrained as a therapist. They have a little girl called Matilda, who's about six. Carl does most of the childcare as Alison works long hours. 

Part of this is the culture of law firms, which expect everyone to be out at night drinking a lot. Alison basically does have a problem with alcohol - she often drinks more than she intends to and ends up doing things she doesn't really want to do. She is having an affair with Patrick, who works for a different law firm to her. But he has also just given Alison her first murder case. She does worry about what exactly she has had to do to get the case, but she's excited for her first murder. She and Patrick go to meet the defendant, Madeline. She insists that she is guilty of murdering her husband, Edwin, but Alison feels there's more to the story and advises that Madeline doesn't plead guilty immediately. Alison manages to unearth abuse by Edwin, and Madeline's story becomes clearer.

Meanwhile, Alison is determined to be at home more and be a better mother. She realises there are massive problems within her and Carl's marriage, and she is trying to mend things. But then she's late to pick Matilda up - but didn't Carl say he was picking her up? Carl insists he said he had a late client, but Alison isn't sure... 

She's also determined to break things off with Patrick, but that's easier said than done because Patrick has a knack of getting his own way. She keeps getting drawn back into his web, until something shocking about him comes out...

I really liked the book, I liked Alison and wanted her to succeed. I reckoned Carl was a wrong 'un right from the beginning - he has such a creepy vibe! I loved the look at law firm culture and how easy it was to get carried away in that. I would definitely read something else by the same author and am giving this five out of five.

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