The Orange Grove

When status is survival, every choice has
its consequence.

Blois, 1705. The chateau 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 domestic politics and love 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.

Out now.


‘The author expertly re-creates high-society France at the beginning of the 18th century—this is a well-researched and historically valid depiction. In addition, she skillfully keeps the plot a tensile cord of suspense, revealing and concealing just enough to keep readers immersed and guessing…A historically authentic and intelligently crafted period drama that’s romantically stirring.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Vividly recreates the lives, loves and fears of aristocratic women at the turn of the 18th century. Intrigues, jealousies, and the terror of being dependant on the whims of a selfish duc…the ladies of the chateau are brought alive in Kate Murdoch’s fascinating second novel.’ 

Pamela Hart, author of The Desert Nurse

‘The Orange Grove reveals all the elegance and exquisite intrigue of the French court, seen through the eyes of the women.
Mistresses and wives, duchesses and daughters – their lives and fortunes depend on their skills at plotting, spying, and manipulating – each other.
Their interwoven stories are vivid, fabulously vicious, and always compelling.’ 

Kelly Gardiner, author of Goddess

‘Deeply entrenched in the politics of court life, The Orange Grove is a harrowing tale of betrayal and redemption spanning across the lives of six women as they battle with morality. Following in the footsteps of her debut, Stone Circle, Kate Murdoch weaves another fantastic tale of intrigue, folding in ominous mysteries of the heart that propel characters on dark, haunted paths to achieve love.’

Melissa Ratcliff, Paperback Paris 

The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch is a thoroughly satisfying tale of class struggles and romantic tensions set in 18th-century France…The Orange Grove puts a true ensemble cast to work with rich characterization and distinctive voices.’

Nicole Melanson, Wordmothers

‘Most historical fiction novels focus on a big event, through the eyes of specific characters, yet this one focuses on a very tight, and deeply complicated chateau in France during the years of the ruling aristocracy…These characters are all flawed – none are wholly good nor are they wholly evil. They are ruled by human emotions of love, desperation and self-preservation, which makes this a very interesting novel as we get to see how people respond to certain conditions and the lengths they will go to so they can save themselves – sometimes with disastrous consequences.’

Ashleigh Meikle, The Book Muse

‘Kate Murdoch has done it again. She’s taken one of my favourite time periods (early 18th century France) and breathed new life into it. Everything from the day to day life of the household and all its residents to the class system to clothing is 100% historically accurate. Her descriptive narration articulates every nuance of the story as each scene unfolds. In rich detail and from multiple points of view, the reader not only connects with each character but in a sense, becomes a part of the story. I couldn’t stop reading once I started, and even lost sleep because of it. My husband blames Kate Murdoch and I have to say, the tiredness I felt the next day was worth it.’

N.N. Light’s Book Heaven

‘There were no distinct “goodies and baddies” in this story, just flawed, nuanced characters who, in the only ways they knew how, were doing their best to survive. I found each of the characters recognisable and appreciated the fact that, however shocking and unpalatable some of their behaviour was (and some of it was truly dreadful!), the author provided enough information to enable me to understand the fears and anxieties which were motivating it, ensuring that the story’s development was underpinned by an impressive psychological credibility.’

Linda Hepworth, NB Magazine

‘As rich in intrigue as it is in detail, The Orange Grove invites us into the chateau of Duc Hugo d’Amboise, where tensions between the Duc’s five mistresses and his wife sit at a simmering point for much of the tale. Love, betrayal, lust, and jealousy compete for attention in this heady Downton-esque world where women make daily choices between morality and security…It’s a well-executed story with nuanced characters and plenty of courtly intrigues.’

Monique Mulligan

The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch, is a 2019 Regal House Publishing historical fiction title, and it is the author’s second novel, but it is the first piece of writing I have read by this talented storyteller. The Orange Grove is a story that entails power, status, rivalries, secrets, plot and much more. This sumptuous tale by Kate Murdoch is deliciously indulgent and thoroughly entertaining.’

Mrs B’s Book Reviews

‘…the story is opulent in its description, and the author’s words transport the reader with a vivid sense of place and time, like any successful work of historical fiction. Yet, one of Kate Murdoch’s greatest strengths is not merely her ability to transport the reader seamlessly and instantly to 18th Century France; Murdoch’s gift is in her ability to portray characters so vividly and effectively that I often found my sympathies torn between the victim and the villain.’ 

Backstory Journal

‘Full of rivals and secrets and power games. Brilliantly researched and a cast of fascinating characters that leapt off the page.’

Tea Cooper, author of The Girl in the Painting

The Orange Grove is a visual, glittering novel filled with beautiful descriptions and a complex plot despite the length of the book. There are no straightforward characters, especially when we get to see what propels them to committing certain acts or saying hurtful things. The omniscient perspective creates a very grey morality so readers can sympathize with every woman, even if some are more malicious than others.’

Rosa Kumar, Independent Book Review

Finalist in the Chaucer Awards 2019 (CIBA’s) for pre-1750’s historical fiction

Paperback Paris – 60 Best Books of 2019