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Are women still their own worst enemy?

MEDIA RELEASE - Melbourne - 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 amongst 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, whilst 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 1970’s in Australia, as a newborn Kate remained in hospital for 3 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 1950-1970’s looked unfavorably on children born outside of marriage. It became common in Australia for babies of unwed mothers to be adopted and at its peak in 1971-1972 there were almost 10,000 forced adoptions. It is difficult to know the exact numbers, but the legacy of this period is thought to have affected 1 in 15 Australians.

Kate says, “I am thrilled to be finally releasing this book to the world. Eighteenth century French history has always fascinated me and when I merged this with my interest in the vagaries of human behavior, 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 book is published by Regal House Publishing and is available for purchase from November 1st , 2019. The book launch will be held at Readings in St Kilda on the 7th November 2019. The book will be launched by author, Lee Kofman.

Kate Murdoch is available for interview from Melbourne. To arrange an interview, attend the launch or request a review copy – please contact Aisling Brady (nee Gilhooly) – Publicist on M: 0424 520 345 or E:

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. Her debut novel, 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, was published by Regal House Publishing in October 2019.

Reviews for The Orange Grove

“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

“A historically authentic and intelligently crafted period drama that’s romantically stirring.” - Kirkus Reviews

“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.”- Paperback Paris

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