Today I am delighted to host author Catherine Kullman on the blog as she shares her #bookloves with us all. Before we find out Catherine’s secret love, here’s a little about the woman herself.
Historical Fiction for the Heart
and for the Head
Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-six years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. After taking early retirement Catherine was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write. Her novels are set in England during the extended Regency— that fascinating period between the demise of hoops and the invention of crinolines- the end of the Georgian era but before the stultifying age of Victoria.
Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, published in 2016, is a warm and engaging story of a young woman’s struggle to survive and find love in an era of violence and uncertainty. It takes us from the ballrooms of the Regency to the battlefield of Waterloo. In November 2016, it was honoured with a Chill with a Book Readers Award.
In Perception & Illusion, published in March 2017, Lallie Grey, cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride. “I loved your protagonists and the depth you gave to their emotional journeys and to the rest of the characters and story. Bravo! It was a lovely read, deliciously romantic with wonderful characters, elegant writing and perfect period detail. Hugely enjoyable!“ Nicola Cornick
It is 1803. The Treaty of Amiens has collapsed and England is again at war with France. Eighteen-year-old Olivia must say goodbye to her father and brother, both of whom are recalled to active service in the navy. Not long afterwards, her mother, who has been her anchor all her life, dies suddenly. As a result, she loses her home. Adrift and vulnerable, she accepts the offer of a marriage of convenience from Jack Rembleton, an older man whose brother, Lord Rembleton, is pressuring him to marry and sire the heir to the title Rembleton has failed to provide. Olivia hopes that love will grow between them, but Jack’s secrets will prevent this and Olivia must learn that she has thrown away her youth and the chance of love.
When Luke Fitzmaurice, a young man prevented by ill-health from joining the army, meets Olivia at a ball, he is instantly smitten but she must tell him she is already married. Ten years pass, during which each faces up to life’s challenges but then fate throws them together again. Olivia is finally free, but before they can explore what might be between them, Napoleon escapes from Elba and Luke, who is determined this time not to be found wanting, joins Wellington’s army in Brussels.
Cast out by her father for refusing the suitor of his choice, Lallie Grey accepts Hugo Tamrisk’s proposal, confident that he loves her as she loves him. But Hugo’s past throws long shadows as does his recent liaison with Sabina Albright. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride.
Perception & Illusion charts Lallie’s and Hugo’s voyage through a sea of confusion and misunderstanding. Can they successfully negotiate the Rocks of Jealousy and the Shoals of Perplexity to arrive at the Bay of Delight or will they drift inexorably towards Cat & Dog Harbour or the Dead Lake of Indifference?
Catherine Kullmann skillful evocation of the Regency period rings true, as do her protagonists’ predicaments. It is a joy to step into this other world with her.
Favourite book from childhood
Childhood Sweetheart: Your favourite book from childhood.
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss. First published in 1812, this is a thrilling story of a shipwrecked family who make a new life for themselves on an uninhabited but extremely lush and fruitful island. Fortunately the polymath of a father can identify everything and the practical mother thinks of the small essentials like needles and thread. I still have the old copy with flimsy pages and beautiful steel engravings of the flora and fauna of the island that my father bought second-hand when I was a child, although it was read to bits. I since have acquired several copies-I can never pass a good edition, and my dream is to have a first edition. Funnily enough, although it was originally written in German (the author was Swiss), it is not well known in Germany today. However, I was lucky to find a lovely edition published to mark the one hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary in 1952 and bought it for my sons, who loved it too.
The first book you fell in love with
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. I cried my eyes out when Katy fell out of the swing and was unable to walk for ages.
Biggest book crush
The book character you’re totally in love with
Gervase Frant, Earl of St. Erth, from The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer. He is a splendid mix of her Mark 1 and Mark 2 heroes.
Weirdest book crush
The dead sea-captain, Captain Gregg the ghostly author of Blood and Swash in The Ghost and Mrs Muir by R. A. Dick
Hardest break up
The book you didn’t want to end
I recently read The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick, a fantastic time travel mystery. I was dying to know what happened but didn’t want it to end. Hmm— I must read it again.
The one that got away
The book in your TBR or wish list that you regret not having started yet.
None. My regrets are for the books that have not been written, perhaps because their authors that left us too soon like Ariana Franklin (Diana Norman) and Sylvain Hamilton or those who only wrote a few books. Valerie Fitzgerald, for example, wrote the magnificent Zemindar, a sweeping story set during the Indian Mutiny, but never published anything else. And Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver frequently refers to the affair of the poisoned caterpillars, but I have never worked out which book it is. And I hope that Naomi Novik returns at some time to Lawrence and Temeraire. Why hasn’t Gillian Bradshaw set more books in classical Greece and Rome? I could go on and on
Guilty Reading pleasure
Perhaps my taste for werewolves, vampires and assorted others. See below
Love one, love them all
Favourite series or genre
There are so many—I love series. Favourites include Elizabeth Vaughan’s Chronicles of the Warlands—I am so pleased that she has started writing again urban fantasy from Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks and Nalini Singh, historical mystery such as Lindsey Davis’s Falco and Flavia Albia series, Wendy Hornsby’s Maggie McGowan mysteries, J D Robb’s futuristic Dallas and Rourke mysteries.
Your latest squeeze
Favourite read of the last 12 months
The Strangler Vine by M J Carter. Set in India in 1837 it successfully marries the old-fashioned ripping yarn with modern post-imperial sensibilities
Blind date for a friend
If you were to set a friend up with a blind date (book) which one would it be?
A wonderful surprise for lovers of golden age mysteries would be Jill Paton Walsh’s triumphant continuation of Dorothy L Sayers unfinished, last novel Thrones, Dominations, a book of which no less a person than P D James said, “I didn’t myself believe the job could satisfactorily be done, but she has proved me wrong’.
Greatest love of all
Favourite book of all time.
. This is a really hard one, but I think I’ll plump for The Swiss Family Robinson because of all the memories it evokes for me. And I still love to read it. It would be a good desert island book too.
Thanks Catherine. You know I like your take on the one that got away. I’ve never really thought about the books I wish had been written before. Good answer! And some really interesting looking books there.
What do you think guys? Any of these take your fancy. I can totally agree that the J.D. Robb books are fab and highly recommended. Might have to take a gander at some of the other titles myself I think.
Make sure you stop by again next week when I have the absolutely lovely Katherine Sunderland and Jane Cable sharing their very own #booklove with us all.
Have a brilliant day.