The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch @KateMurdoch3 @RegalHouse1 #bookreview #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #18thcenturyfiction

the orange grove

The Orange Grove written by Kate Murdoch, publisher Regal House Publishing, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

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Book Blurb

Blois, 1705. The château of Duc Hugo d’Amboise simmers with rivalry and intrigue. Henriette d’Augustin, one of five mistresses of the duc, lives at the chateau with her daughter. When the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines a new mistress, Letitia, Henriette is forced to choose between position and morality. She fights to maintain her status whilst targeted by the duchesse who will do anything to harm her enemies. The arrival of charismatic tarot reader, Romain de Villiers, further escalates tensions as rivals in love and domestic politics strive for supremacy. In a society where status is a matter of life and death, Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart, all the while hiding a painful secret of her own.

versailles garden The Orange Grove

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

Firstly, I’d like to wish the author Kate Murdoch a Happy Publication Day for The Orange Grove which is her second published novel.

The Orange Grove is a seductive tale; a story of love and lust in the early 18th century, at a time when ladies of court would vie for the attentions of the wealthiest suitor for survival.  It was a seductive game of chess with sly devious moves all in the intention for their own gain.  A game of love that requires you to tread carefully in order to cling on to the life you feel you deserve.

Kate Murdoch’s words took the reader to opulent surroundings to beautiful chateaus in France and also to the magnificent palace of Versailles.  Life was very luxurious for the aristocratic French people and their self-indulgences with cravings for more and better were commonplace and it wasn’t unheard of for men to accommodate a mistress or two within the walls of their family home.

This is the story of one such family whose marriage had become entangled with a handful of mistresses and when the Duc took on a new younger mistress he soon became besotted with her.  The Duchesse, Charlotte, struggled constantly with her emotions of this latest addition to their lives and she almost felt consumed with jealousy, loathing, longing and anger and her life’s intention from hereon was to rid the existence of this young woman.

The Orange Grove is captivating with it’s game of one-upmanship, the callous actions of others and the lengths to what someone would go to fulfil their own needs.  When the story takes on a darker turn there’s no way back for the souls of those involved and they pay the ultimate price with devastating consequences.

About the Author

Kate Murdoch exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally before turning her hand to writing.
Her short-form fiction has been published in various literary journals in Australia, UK, US and Canada.
Stone Circle, a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy, was released by Fireship Press in December 2017. Stone Circle was a First in Category winner in the Chaucer Awards 2018 for pre-1750’s historical fiction.
Kate was awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.
Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in October 2019.


Twitter:  @KateMurdoch3



Q & A with author Kate Murdoch #historicalfiction

stone circle

Today I am pleased to welcome author Kate Murdoch to my blog answering a few questions about her work and inspiration.  Her debut novel Stone Circle is available NOW in ebook and paperback format and was published by Fireship Press.

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Hello Kate and welcome …

  • I understand you were a widely recognised artist prior to writing.  Has your love, skill and experience in painting helped at all with the research work for your writing?

In the case of Stone Circle, it helped in that I’d done a lot of study of the Renaissance period at art school, so I had a sense of the aesthetic, the culture and the society. Most importantly, the art history gave me a fascination with the period in Italy. As a result, I enjoyed delving into further research focusing on alchemy, the role of women and the social hierarchy.

  • Where did the inspiration come for Stone Circle?

Originally from a dream I had of two young men and an old man, rowing in a canoe on a calm stretch of water. I knew the old man was imparting knowledge and that the time period was long ago. Then it was a matter of narrowing down the period, which led me to alchemy and the fact that it was practised at the time. 

  • Can you give us a brief overview of Stone Circle?

Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, a fisherman’s son with psychic abilities, who wins a competition to be apprentice to the town seer. The son of a nobleman also wins, and there is intense rivalry between them for their mentor’s favour and the affection of his daughter as they study alchemy and magic rituals.

  • Do you have a set writing time in your day?  And, do you have a writing room?

Not really. Although my most productive time is the middle of the day and, quite often, the hour before I must pick up my children from school. I don’t have a dedicated writing room – I mainly write in the living room, looking out to the garden. If I have something more challenging, like intensive edits, I sit at the dining table.

  • Do you prefer writing a full length novel or short stories?

I love both. I’ve written many short stories and flash fiction pieces as well as two novels. There is satisfaction in creating a complete narrative in fewer words, but there’s also much enjoyment to be had in long-form, where you can create more detailed descriptions and delve deeper into characterisations. I also like the mystery of long-form – I enter it fairly blindly, never sure where the story will go.

  • If you’ve had time to relax and read this last year, what was your most outstanding book?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was a book that impressed me for many reasons. The luminous prose and the exploration into choices and moral ambiguity. The fact that there is so much we don’t understand about peoples’ actions and the turmoil that can provoke them. Along with the heartbreak of being unable to turn back the clock. I found it deeply moving.

Thank you so much Kate for joining me today.  To learn more about Kate Murdoch and her work please do visit the following pages: