French his­tory in­spires story

Well-crafted story of be­trayal and for­give­ness

The Chronicle - - Our Town -

KATE Mur­doch has had a long stand­ing love af­fair with his­tory and all things French.

The ro­mance, boun­ti­ful cul­ture and event­ful past of France has al­ways held a deep fas­ci­na­tion for her and has in­spired her lat­est novel, The

Orange Grove.

The Orange Grove tells the story of a group of mis­tresses set in 18th cen­tury France and ex­plores the in­trigues and ri­val­ries of the French court as they vie for sta­tus and po­si­tion.

The book ex­plores the am­bi­gu­ity of moral­ity and how one’s up­bring­ing and ex­pe­ri­ences can in­form one’s ac­tions.

Duchesse Char­lotte is wife of Duc Hugo d’Am­boise and holds court among his five other mis­tresses, that is un­til the Duc takes on a new, much younger mistress, Leti­tia.

In a so­ci­ety where sta­tus is a mat­ter of life and death, Hen­ri­ette, one of the Duc’s five mis­tresses finds her­self in a po­si­tion where she must choose be­tween sta­tus and moral­ity, while hid­ing a painful se­cret of her own …

The book recre­ates the lives of these aris­to­cratic women as it delves deep into the com­plex­ity of fe­male re­la­tion­ships, ex­plor­ing the no­tions of sis­ter­hood, com­pet­i­tive­ness and the ul­ti­mate quest for sta­tus, love and power.

The de­nial of any rights for these women and their lack of con­trol over their own lives is some­thing Kate knows the im­pact of all too well.

Hav­ing al­ways been aware of her own adop­tive back­ground, Kate drew on her own life ex­pe­ri­ences for this book.

As a child of the 1970s in Aus­tralia, as a new­born Kate re­mained in hospi­tal for three months af­ter be­ing left be­hind by her young un­wed mother be­fore be­ing adopted out through the hospi­tal pro­gram. The so­cial val­ues of Aus­tralia dur­ing the 1950-1970s looked un­favourably on chil­dren born out­side of mar­riage.

“I am thrilled to be fi­nally re­leas­ing this book to the world,” Ms Mur­doch said. “Eigh­teenth cen­tury French his­tory has al­ways fas­ci­nated me and when I merged this with my in­ter­est in the va­garies of hu­man be­hav­iour, I found my way into a story of in­trigue, ob­ses­sion and ri­valry. I’m so look­ing for­ward to shar­ing this novel with read­ers.”

The Orange Grove is har­row­ing tale of the cru­el­ties of women, cru­elty that is both forced upon them and that which they thrust upon each other.

It is a won­der­fully crafted tale of be­trayal and for­give­ness span­ning the lives of six very dif­fer­ent women whose lives are beau­ti­fully in­ter­wo­ven and brought alive in this fas­ci­nat­ing novel.

The Orange Grove is pub­lished by Re­gal House Pub­lish­ing and is avail­able to buy from Novem­ber 1.

LOVE OF FRANCE: Au­thor Kate Mur­doch.

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