Today at The Review, Nicky Moxey reviews Catherine Kullman's Perception and Illusions. The author is giving away a paperback copy - to anywhere in the world - as a prize. To win your very own copy, simply leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. The winner will be drawn on 14th February 2018. Good luck!
Perception and Illlusions by Catherine Kullman –.
“England 1814: Brought up by her late grandparents after the death of her mother, Lallie Grey is unaware that she is their heiress. When her father realises that he will soon lose control of his daughter’s income, he conspires to marry her off to his crony, Frederick Malvin in exchange for a share of her capital. But Lallie has fallen in love with Hugo Tamrisk, heir to one of the oldest titles in England. When Hugo not only comes to her aid as she flees the arranged marriage, but later proposes to her, all Lallie’s dreams have come true.”
This book – Catherine’s second – was published in March 2017, and I was delighted to have been given a copy of this book.
“Perception and Illusions” is a lovely, gentle love story, using the classic girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-gets-boy-back theme – but it’s very cleverly done. I pretty much devoured this book, in 3 sittings, I think; and given that neither romantic novels, nor this period, are my usual fare, that gives you an impression of the quality of the writing! The central character, Lallie, is sympathetically drawn, and her character arc is believable and engaging. The secondary characters are well-rounded and appealing too; in particular Hugo’s thoughts and motivations make you like him very much.
I loved the language and the way the book is structured- both very much of the period. There’s a clever device for introducing the chapters, which was a particular favourite of mine; it both sets the tone of the chapter, gives you a hint of the content, and added together describes quite neatly the course and hazards involved in falling in love!
Here’s Chapter Sixteen’s:
“The Island of Perseverance, on the opposite side, is good if the travellers be on a right course; further lies the Island of Obstinacy.” Should be part of every divorce counsellor’s toolkit…
The author has the knack of allowing you inside first one character’s head, then another – so it was possible to follow along with every twist of the all-too-familiar comedy of errors that the lovers managed to achieve – and then to sigh with relief as they finally managed to start unpicking all the things unsaid and assumed, and get their relationship back on course! I was very impressed with the delicacy of the love scenes. Poor old Lallie has had the worst kind of birds-and-bees advice – and this is Hugo’s thoughts on the matter…
“Lallie vielded sweetly to him in bed, it was true, but, in the depths of his heart, he must admit that she did not respond as ardently as he would like and always at the end there was that little sigh, as if she was glad that he had finished. So what have you to complain about, he asked himself savagely. That your wife is not as fond as you would wish? You can hardly tell her you wish she were less inanimate…”
As well as the bedchamber, we are transported to some sumptuous Regency feasts and balls. The author’s descriptions of each, along with the complicated rules of politesse involved, are delightful, and add a great deal to the atmosphere of the book. It’s here that the quality of Ms Kullman’s research is clearest – but never heavy. She concludes the book with one of my favourite things – a Historical Note that clearly explains what is real and what is not, and what accommodations have been made to the story.
Very few, it turns out!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, for a number of reasons; I loved the period accuracy, the skill with which the author engages the reader, and the delicacy of the love story itself. I’d definitely recommend it - having finished this one, I’ve bought her first – this is an author with an effortlessly beautiful voice, and I want to read more.
About the author: Catherine Kullman was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for over twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. She has a keen sense of history and of connection with the past which so often determines the present. Fascinated by people, she loves a good story, especially when characters come to life in a book.
Catherine's novels are set in the newly created United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the extended Regency period. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and more than a decade of war that ended in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 are all events that continue to shape our modern world. It was a time of revolution and inspiration, still a patriarchal world where women had few or no rights, but they lived and loved and died, making the best lives they could for themselves and their children. And they began to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation.
At the same time, the aristocracy-led society was under attack from those who demanded social and political reform, while the industrial revolution saw the beginning of the transfer of wealth and ultimately power to those who knew how to exploit the new technologies.
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About the reviewer: Nicky Moxey lives in the middle of rural Suffolk, UK, and is owned by a slinky black cat who's far too clever for her own good. In her spare time, she is an amateur historian/archaeologist, and in non-work daylight hours is usually out on a field somewhere with a metal detector and/or a trowel. She has added quite a few things to the Heritage England Record and the Portable Antiquities Scheme; but what really fascinates her is the stories behind the artefacts. Her first historical novel is about the story of a local boy made good - Wimer the Chaplain was born in Dodnash in Suffolk of a poor Saxon family, but made it to be a confidant of Henry ll, holding down the job of High Sheriff for all Norfolk and Suffolk. Then he gave it all up and came home to found a Priory... finding the original site of that Priory (not where it's shown on the map) is still one of Nicky's proudest discoveries. This should be published in the second half of 2017, touch wood. She also has a self-published series of children’s’ short stories about Henry Baker, a boy who finds a magic pencil on the way to school - she has no idea where these come from, but enjoys writing them immensely!
Nicky's website can be found at nickymoxey.com