Hello and welcome to my stop on The Potential for Love: A Regency Novel

By Catherine Kullmann

Hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club

@CKullmannAuthor @maryanneyarde

 #ThePotentialforLove #RegencyRomance #CoffeePotBookClub

The Potential for Love: A Regency Novel

By Catherine Kullmann

1816

For over six years, Thomas Ferraunt’s thoughts have been of war. Newly returned to England from occupied Paris, he must ask himself what his place is in this new world and what he wants from it. More and more, his thoughts turn to Arabella Malvin, but would Lord Malvin agree to such a mismatch for his daughter, especially when she is being courted by Lord Henry Danlow?

About to embark on her fourth Season, Arabella is tired of the life of a debutante, waiting in the wings for her real life to begin. She is ready to marry. But which of her suitors has the potential for love and who will agree to the type of marriage she wants?

As she struggles to make her choice, she is faced with danger from an unexpected quarter while Thomas is stunned by a new challenge. Will these events bring them together or drive them apart?

Where to buy

 

We are celebrating the release of the special hardback edition of The Potential for Love during this tour. With a beautiful dust jacket over an elegant laminated cover, it will enhance any library and is the perfect gift for lovers of historical women’s fiction and historical romance.

The Potential for Love is also available in Paperback and as eBook and is free to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.

 

Amazon

Waterstones

Barnes and Noble

 

Amazon Kindle

Waterstones (Paperback)

Barnes and Noble (Paperback)

 

 


This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Potential for Love is written in classical traditional Regency style romance.

Arabella Malvin’s family has suffered the loss of her brother at war. When Major Thomas Ferraunt, just recently returned from war, comes to call on the Malvins to relay some memorable moments about the their son. Arabella {Bella} Malvin, finds herself drawn to the local Rector’s Son.

Arabella is on her forth season in London, tried of the round of endless balls, she is eager for her life to began. She catches the eye of several would be suitors. One in particular, is the wealthy titled Lord Henry Danlow. Who is seeking a wife that would be the the perfect lady to mold to his specifications.

In a world where social standing is everything and your choice for a spouse is determined by title and linage. This historical fiction has a love triangle, with villainous dangers that will have flipping through the pages.

I really appreciate the little remembrance of Georgette Heyer’s style writing or Austen’s. With its satire and plight of young woman and the social restrictions of the Ton. The authors is wonderful at giving rich meticulous detail, that places the reader in the front row, of this stunning book. I have to say that I inhaled this one. It was beautifully executed novel. I was completely engaged with the characters as they felt real and three dimensional. The plot line flows and the narration is impeccable.

This is my first book by this talented author. I am definitely going to seek out and read more from her.

I highly recommend this book for those who love gorgeous details, and regency dramas.

 

Excerpt

From Chapter ThreePlaying Pope Joan

 

“Now what have you chosen for us, Arabella?” Lord Malvin enquired after Miss Halworth had smilingly acknowledged her applause and compliments and resumed her seat.

 

“I must beg to be excused, sir. I am not in good voice today, I fear.”

 

“Then you’ll play something for us. It’s been too long since we had music in the evenings.”

 

Thomas thought he heard her sigh but she removed her gloves obediently and went to leaf through the sheets of music in the slatted Canterbury beside the pianoforte. Once seated at the instrument, she squared her shoulders as if steeling herself for an ordeal and began to play. He didn’t recognise the piece, Mozart, he thought, but it did not seem too difficult, yet she bit her lip as if she had to concentrate. Once she blinked rapidly and brushed at her eye as if something irritated it. She paused for a moment and then broke into a strident, aggressive melody alla Turca, the sharp rhythm and slashing staccato a reminder that this style of music was inspired by the Sultan’s Janissary bands that had once played before the gates of Vienna. When she got to the end, she closed the lid of the instrument firmly, bowed briefly and returned to her seat beside him. She was trembling and her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. He watched, horrified, as she struggled to contain them.

 

No-one else seemed to have noticed. She took a deep breath, pressed her lips firmly together and swallowed, her hands clenched on her gloves. A teardrop stole down her cheek and she hastily knuckled it away. There was a second door at the end of the room. If he could get her down there, she could leave the room discreetly.

 

He indicated the portrait that hung on the far wall. “I should like a closer look at the background of that painting, Miss Malvin. Will you show it to me?”

 

She nodded and accepted his hand to help her rise. Her hand shook and he tucked it into the crook of his arm with a comforting clasp.

 

Another tear threatened to overflow. He ignored it and, as they slowly paced down the long room, began to describe how the French had protested against the removal of looted paintings from the Louvre. “But Wellington held firm. He even had the four bronze horses of St Mark taken down from the Arc de Triomphe and returned to Venice. Although the Venetians did not acquire them honestly either—they were part of their plunder from Constantinople during the crusades. Ah, here we are. It’s very fine, indeed. I shall take a step behind you, so as to better judge the perspective.” He stood back and to the right, screening her from the others.

 

She cast him a grateful look through wet eyelashes before dabbing at her eyes with a little lace-trimmed handkerchief, then discreetly blew her nose. “That’s better.” She smiled weakly. “Thank you for rescuing me. It is very foolish, but since Arthur was killed, music tends to make me weep. The tears just come—I cannot stop them.”

 

“It is because music can unlock what is hidden away in our heart,” he said sympathetically. “As time passes, you will find it easier. Would you prefer to slip away until you have recovered your composure?”

 

“No. I’ll do now.” She squared her shoulders and pointed to the painting. “Here you see my grandfather posed rather pompously against the ruins of Rome, his elbow propped casually on a convenient antique altar. I have seen similar works in other families; I suspect the artists kept a supply of half-finished canvases, ready for the next young Englishman who wanted to bring back proof of his grand tour. He has a look of Arthur, don’t you think?”

 

“Provided one removes the wig,” he agreed tactfully He couldn’t see the resemblance himself, but if it pleased her to think so—

 

“My mother insisted on having his likeness taken when he was at home after Vittoria. He grumbled, of course, but now we are so glad to have it. It hangs in her sitting-room.” She looked up at him. “It helps to talk normally about him. We couldn’t before—Mamma became so distressed.”

 

 

Arabella, Ferraunt, should we play Pope Joan or speculation?” Matthew called down the room.

 

“Pope Joan,” Miss Malvin said. “I hate speculation. Who else is playing?”

 

“Everyone except Admiral and Lady Halworth who have challenged the rector and Papa to a game of whist.”

 

“That makes us ten. Shall we draw for partners?” Mrs Malvin asked as she placed an ornate, round, staking board in the middle of the table. “A hand of four cards is really too small to play properly. Matrimony and intrigue will get out of hand.”

 

Without waiting for a reply, she rapidly created five pairs of cards, shuffled them and spread them into a fan for each player to take one.

 

 

I’ve never before played a game that involved ‘matrimony’ and ‘intrigue’,” Thomas remarked.

 

“They are both winning combinations,” Miss Malvin replied, her eyes dancing. “The first is when you play the queen and king of trumps in succession; the second is if you play the knave and queen.”

 

“And supposing your neighbour has the king to your queen?”

 

“Then we share the matrimony pool.”

 

“All four? I thought we were playing Pope Joan, not the Grand Turk!” He flipped over his card. “Five of hearts. And you?”

 

She displayed the five of diamonds.

 

“Excellent. I shall rely on you to advise me,” He pulled out a chair for her and took the one beside it. “How is this played?” he asked as he accepted a pile of ivory fish from Mrs Malvin. “What are the stakes?”

 

 

“And Pope clears all.” Mrs Ferraunt triumphantly put down the nine of diamonds and helped herself to the counters for ‘pope’ and ‘game’.

 

“I think the rectory has an unfair advantage,” Julian Malvin protested as he shuffled the cards before the new deal. “That is your second pope, ma’am and I don’t know how many matrimonies you and my brother have celebrated this evening.”

 

“Pure luck,” she said complacently.

 

Thomas rarely played cards. Even now, his income was not so great that he could comfortably afford to lose a large sum and in his early days in the regiment, where an ensign’s pay had barely covered his living expenses, he had not been prepared to risk the allowance his father made him on top of it. It had been simpler to say he did not gamble. Some of his more well-to-do fellows had sneered at him as the ‘parson’s son,’ but he had simply replied, ‘And proud to be so, sir’.

 

This was different. While the game was important, it was the company that mattered; the jokes and quips tossed across the table, the teasing when a pair took matrimony or Lady Malvin’s smug look when she emptied her hand by laying down one after another five clubs so that she and Miss Lambton took the game. And he could lean over the shoulder of a pretty girl and whisper confidentially in her ear as he advised her which suit to lead next. She obligingly followed his instructions although she knew the game far better than he did. She smelt of roses and sunshine, somehow, of lazy summer days—English summer, of course, with its dappled shade and countless blossoms, not the baking, parched heat of Spain.

 

“Hearts, then spades,” he murmured and she obediently placed the four of hearts in front of her, followed by the five and six. Spades were trumps and they held knave and queen. She could have played them first—there was nothing more provoking than to be prevented from playing such a combination—but the seven of hearts had already been played. This way she could dispose of five cards even if someone held the King.

 

“That’s a stop,” he announced when she put down the six. Now she could play her spades.

 

“Intrigue,” she said, laying down the Knave and Queen and Matthew pushed the staking board towards her. It was the first intrigue of the night and she smiled over her shoulder at Thomas as she scooped the counters from the compartment.

 

“What a pity we’re not playing for guineas.”

 

“I think you’ll find you’ve at most recouped your losses, Sis,” Matthew said dryly.

 

She sighed. “I suppose you’re right.”

 

“What sort of intrigue are you and Ferraunt plotting, Bella?” Mr Halworth asked with a grin.

 

Thomas stiffened but Miss Malvin only laughed.

 

“You surely don’t expect us to reveal all,” she retorted gaily. “We are better conspirators than that, are we not, Major.”

 

“As Lord Lansdowne has it, ’Tis the talk, and not the intrigue, that’s the crime’,” Miss Lambton put in.

 

“Aye, it’s better to hold your peace,” Julian Malvin agreed.

 

“But I shall speak now,” his wife declared, laying down the king of spades. “Matrimony and that’s the game.”

 

©Catherine Kullmann 2020

 

 

 

 Catherine Kullmann

 

I was born and brought up in Dublin and moved to Germany on my marriage in 1973. Before my marriage, I was an administrative officer at the Department of Finance in Dublin. I worked as attaché at the Irish Embassy in Bonn until my eldest son was born. Following a twelve-year stint as a full-time mother, I joined the New Zealand Embassy in Bonn, where I was administration officer. My husband and I returned to Ireland in 1999 and in 2009, following a year’s treatment for breast cancer, I took early retirement from my position as Director of Administration and Human Resources at a large Dublin law firm.

 

I have always enjoyed writing, I love the fall of words, the shaping of an expressive phrase, the satisfaction when a sentence conveys my meaning exactly. I enjoy plotting and revel in the challenge of evoking a historic era for characters who behave authentically in their period while making their actions and decisions plausible and sympathetic to a modern reader. In addition, I am fanatical about language, especially using the right language as it would have been used during the period about which I am writing. But rewarding as all this craft is, there is nothing to match the moment when a book takes flight, when your characters suddenly determine the route of their journey.

 

The first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most significant periods of European and American history, a period whose events still resonate two hundred years later The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 all still shape our modern world. The aristocracy-led society that drove these events was already under attack from those who saw the need for 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.

 

I write historical fiction set against this background of off-stage wars, of women frequently left to fend for themselves in a patriarchal world where they have few or no rights but must make the best lives they can for themselves and their families. While real people sometimes have walk-on parts, the protagonists and their stories are pure fiction. As well as meeting their personal challenges, they must also cope with external events and the constraints imposed by society. The main story arc is romantic. I am particularly interested in what happens after the first happy end—how life goes on around the protagonists and sometimes catches up with them. 

 

Social Media Links:

 

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