The Orange Grove by Kate Murdoch. (2019).
**4 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to the author for getting in contact and sending me a free copy of this novel, I am very appreciative**
It’s 1705 in Blois, and the château of Duc Hugo simmers with rivalry and intrigue. Henriette is one of five mistresses that lives there, along with her daughter. Henriette is forced to choose between her position and morality after the duc’s wife, Duchesse Charlotte, maliciously undermines Leticia (the newest mistress). Henriette has to fight to maintain her status while Charlotte targets her. The arrival of a tarot reader, Romain, further escalates tensions as rivals in love and domestic politics strive for supremacy. Henriette must stay true to herself, her daughter, and her heart while hiding her own painful secret…
I really enjoyed this book, particularly as it’s probably not one I would have picked up for myself so I would have missed out! I don’t often read a novel set before the 1900s (I have no logical reason for this so don’t even ask why haha), so 1705 was a big jump back for me. I thought the author did a brilliant job of ‘painting a picture with words’; I could picture the women and their surroundings so clearly in my mind. The technique of flicking between various characters constantly doesn’t often work well in my experience but it worked great in this novel; it made me feel so immersed in the story. The tones of jealousy, manipulation and fear jumped off every page, it made for very compelling reading.
Overall, a fascinating look into the lives of multiple women sharing one man and competing for power while having their own respective issues going on. Definitely a fascinating story to get lost in.