Length: 245 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Date of Publication: 11th October, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
I have been following Kate Murdoch’s career ever since Stone Circle was published. I was in a review group where Kate’s book was much talked about so when she offered me the chance to read and review her second book- The Orange Grove, I jumped at the chance.
“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.”
The book is set in early 18th century France and follows the life of the people in d’Amboise household. The Duc and Duchesse and a retinue of Mistresses, their children and the servants are embroiled in power games and domestic politics. The everyday lives of the women of the house looks peaceful to an outsider but is filled with secrets, hidden loyalties, and deceit. As the characters say, the most important thing for a woman is her position and when that is threatened, they stoop to any level to hurt the ones who put them down.
I loved the descriptions of the Court, the French delicacies and the grandeur of the places that they live in. The characters were beautifully written. They are introduced at leisure and the reader is allowed to get themselves familiar with each of them. You cannot help but fall in love with Solange and Thomas, you cannot help but feel sorry for Isabelle, Amelia and Letitia, you cannot help but detest Charlotte. I was perplexed by some of the decisions of Henriette but she never deviated from her moral values.
I quite enjoyed the Tarot readings and the duels and wished for more of them. Although the book is peppered with sentences in French that I had to let Google translate for me, it did not make the reading experience any worse for wear. The story is fast-paced and the second half of the book is filled with dark mystery that made it perfect for October for a Halloween themed read.
Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She 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.
Kate has been awarded a KSP Fellowship at the KSP Writers’ Centre in 2019 to develop her third novel, The Glasshouse.
Her work include:
- The Stone Circle (2017)
- The Orange Grove (2019)
- The Glasshouse
TL;DR: A fast paced story with beautiful descriptions of the French way of life in early 18th Century and a bit of dark mystery
Do you like reading about the old bygone eras?
What book would you recommend that has such a story?
Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life