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Blood Orange

Blood Orange: Tyce

Two women whose lives are about to intersect and believe that they are from two separate worlds. One is a London barrister and the other a murder suspect. Both might come to the harsh realization that although they might be at different positions and places in life, if they look closely at their relationships and their ideals, they might fight similarities that would haunt them and give them cold chills. Alison Wood is living two separate lives and has created an idyllic world centered around a barrister named Patrick. So, enamored with him she hardly sees the manipulations and orchestrated ways he gets her to acquiesce to his every whim or mood. Cheating own her husband, Carl comes second nature to her after a while. Guild driven thoughts are washed away with Patrick’s every touch. Mathilda her young daughter suffers at her hand at times from her lack of being there for her, and Carl her husband is not any different than Patrick in his cold comments, critical analysis of her personality, poor culinary skills and at times you wonder if he’s not trying to gaslight her when things happen that would cause someone else to have a reality check and realize that something or someone is changing events or ideas, but Alison never sees the light at least not at first.

Madeline Smith killed her husband and stabbed him 15 times creating a scene that was so horrific that anyone with a weak heart might fall faint when seeing the crime scene first hand. Madeline was found with her clothes soiled and covered completely with blood and on the floor next to the body of her husband, Edwin. Edwin as we get to hear her describe him and tell both Patrick and Alison about their live together, we learn that he was manipulative, critical and controlling in many frightening ways and Madeline never questioned his words, his thoughts and she too went along with whatever he told her to do or not do. Wanting to have a child, she never learned until it was too late that her husband placed crushed birth control pills in some of her drinks. Madeline liked her liquor and began seeing a mental health provider using her allowance to pay for the visits. When Edwin learned of this, he began angry and convinced her to stop seeing the person and using money that he felt should not be spent on that and stating she could talk to him. Not ever questioning his motives and not even realizing that he criticized her wants and her desires, her description of her is someone that adored this man to a fault. Madeline does not even want to plea not-guilty claiming she was guilty anyway so why not just say it. Alison’s first murder case and yet she continues like Madeline, to drink her way into oblivion escaping reality so often, drinking with fellow barristers, having private moments with Patrick Saunders, whose know for his extra fun activities, and her instructing solicitor on this murder case.

Confessing to the murder and stabbing Edwin, you begin to wonder if she really did kill him just by the fact that she was so drunk and does not remember anything before or after waking up in a stupor. Alison cheats on her husband, Carl Bailey on a regular basis and covers for herself with lies and deceptions leaving little time to care for her daughter and even keep her marriage on track. Matilda her six-year-old daughter craves the attention of both parents, but things take on a downward turn and the mudslides in California and other places are not as dangerous as the mudslide and avalanche that will take both Alison and Madeline down a deep ravine hoping they don’t wind up buried beneath the sand, the mud or the snow.
Alison’s actions are dangerous, low and her lies become second nature to her, but someone is watching her every move and each time she leaves Patrick a rude, vulgar and threatening text is sent to her phone never realizing it must be someone close by that knows her hiding in plain sight. Each message sends her further down a dangerous road and her drinking becomes more widespread, her smoking and her sex with Patrick like a drug that she is so dependent on and can’t give up. But what makes anyone think he really cares about anyone but himself? Both Alison and Madeline hide the fact that they were or are being manipulated and escaping reality with the bottle.
Edwin spent time away on business and Carl, is a psychotherapist, who discounts and does not face the fact that she is in dire need of some type of help. Rather than accuse her or call her on her bad habits and behavior you wonder if he really cares about her at all. Even a simple incident with the smell of smoke that she thought was in the house, maybe club member of his smoked even though they disallowed that in the house, he claimed it was her suit. Alison is not a sympathetic character and at times you want to shake her and bring her back to reality. Her choices are poor and yet she manages to win many of her cases but what about Madeline’s?

Options are on the table as Madeline is given choices. Does she plead not-guilty, guilty or not enter one at all? As the trial is about to begin and Madeline’s sessions need to be more cohesive, they recommend that she sees a mental health provider to asses her mental capacities. In both cases, Edwin wanted a divorce before his murder and Carl wants one too plus custody of Mathilda. So far apart from her life and reality that Alison never sees it coming. Like two symmetrical triangles both Alison and Madeline’s live are so perfectly aligned.

Wanting to spend a night with Carl, will his mother mind Mathilda? Will Alison ever awaken from her stupor? Will she see her pattern of self-destruction, yet she justifies everything she does in her own mind? Author Harriet Tyce takes readers inside the minds of two very disturbed women manipulated by two men whose manners, ideals and thoughts manipulated theirs and the result will be shocking.

Alison and Madeline have an unusual lunch together and you see a different side of Madeline as she takes charge of the event, but Alison manages to find out what she needs to know, understand that Edwin was abusive and hopefully defend her better. But, within this mix she is concerned about Patrick’s opinion of her typed notes, her plan to defend her client and at the same time is torn between going home to her family whose waiting for her or remaining with Patrick for a drink. Always playing two sides against the middle her behavior is more than destructive.

Abusive relationships are at the heart of this novel as we hear the truth from both Madeline and her son James regarding Edwin’s behavior. Drunken stupors, anger and uncontrollable behaviors take center stage as we get to know the real Edwin and you wonder why she did not act sooner or even report it to the police. The doctor’s report is chilling and then Alison and Carl go away for one night which turns out to be her very own nightmare. Why did she drink so much and how did she black out or is there another reason that has yet to be revealed? Complaints about her appearance even though he bought her the dress she was wearing, putting her down at the end and never once giving her any praise. Both women victims of two men who were manipulative, controlling and could use some anger management too and caught in the crossfire Matilda and James. The suspense heightens and the events take on a deadly turn as Patrick takes a step in a different direction when accused of rape but was, he guilty or was he wrongly accused? With Patrick no longer in her picture and Alison having to take control of the office what happens with Madeline and the harsh truths come out, but will she plead guilty, will the judge sentence her to life or will there will a startling outcome you won’t expect?

Some endings are new beginnings and the final scenes you won’t believe as Carl tries to blackmail Alison with prove of her indiscretions but in the final analysis the shockwaves will hit, the electricity will rise, and debut author Harriet Tyce leaves us wondering whether truths win out or deceptions, lies betrayals and manipulation. A novel that will keep you wondering how far someone will go to get what they want in life and how much two women will sacrifice for their child. Some things are bittersweet, and some things happen for a reason but other having meaning like the taste of a Blood Orange. A dark and noir novel that will give you the chills at times, make you wonder how two women from two different worlds might wind up in the same direction after all. Two women/three men: Who will see the light and the sun, and which will see the darkness below and who will get to taste the sweetness of a Blood Orange?

Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine

 

 

About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

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