I’m thrilled to be able to host this post as part of the Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour. Read on to find out about the book, the author and the fascinating historical background against which the story is set.
Here’s the story-
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?
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 book is available as an ebook, a paperback or a hardback, from the following retailers-
The Historical Backdrop to The Potential for Love
By Catherine Kullmann
The first quarter of the nineteenth century was one of the most significant periods of European and American history whose events still resonate after two hundred years. 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. But 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.
Strictly speaking, the Regency refers to the period from February 1811 when the then Prince of Wales became Prince Regent due to the mental incapacity of his father, King George III until the King’s death January 1820 when the Prince succeeded him as George IV. But long before he became Regent, the Prince’s extravagant lifestyle and love of pleasure and the arts had begun to shape British society, a society that had already been shaken by two revolutions. The first resulted in the loss of the American colonies while the second led the royalty and aristocracy of France to the guillotine. In 1781, British forces marched out of Yorktown to the tune of The World Turned Upside Down and in the succeeding decades, it must have seemed to the British that nothing was the same again. And if nothing is the same, why not try something new?
Like the sixties of the twentieth century, the Regency was a period of great change made immediately visible by a revolution in fashion. Wide hooped skirts gave way first to less voluminous gowns and then to skimpy white muslin dresses that looked almost like shifts or petticoats. Elaborate hairstyles were abandoned in favour of short curls or classical, Grecian styles. Men abandoned their ornate silk and satins in peacock colours for garments based on a country-gentleman’s riding clothes.
In literature, the romantic poets reigned, at their head Wordsworth and Coleridge, not to mention the notorious Lord Byron who said after the publication of Childe Harold in 1812 ‘I awoke one morning to find myself famous’ and who, after their first meeting, was described by his later lover Lady Caroline Lamb as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, although this was certainly a case of the pot calling the kettle black Unable to compete with Byron, Walter Scott turned to writing novels and Jane Austen’s six novels, all published during the Regency, enthralled discerning readers.
Country dances gave way to quadrilles and, scandalously to the waltz where, instead of making up sets of dancers, a couple could revolve in close proximity to each other unhindered by the other dancers in a set (think of the difference between square-dancing and jive). The lyrics of Thomas Moore introduced traditional Irish melodies to the wider world. Architecture moved from neo-classicism to neo-gothic, via a few exotic detours such as the Egyptian style – crocodile-footed furniture anybody?—and the exotic orientalism of the Regent’s Pavilion at Brighton.
But the Regency had its dark side too. It was a very unequal society. At the top of the pyramid sat royalty, the nobility and gentry i.e. those wealthy enough to maintain their families, including servants from unearned income. These households amounted to just over 5% of the population. The small, glittering world of the haut ton was made possible by the labour of the poorly paid lower classes. Fortunes were won and lost gambling and the gentleman’s code of honour required him to pay his gambling debts, even if this meant that tradespeople and other creditors went unpaid.
A series of enclosure acts reduced the rights of the peasants and reinforced the dominance of the land-owners. The Corn Laws, by imposing restrictions and tariffs on imported grain, also benefited the landowners but kept the price of bread artificially high. Poor harvests and a downturn in the economy after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, together with increasing resentment at the lack of parliamentary representation led to unrest and public protest, There was constant unrest in Ireland where the Catholic majority were barred from sitting in either house of Parliament and forced to pay tithes to an alien church.
The Potential for Love is set in 1816, starting almost nine months after the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 put a final end to twelve years of war with France. Napoleon has been defeated for the second time and exiled to the tiny Atlantic island of St Helena. The United Kingdom must now count the cost of the long war, both human and financial. Some families mourn their loved ones while others welcome sons, fathers, brothers who have spent years away from home.
It is very much a patriarchal world where women, especially married women, have few or no rights but they have begun to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation, even happiness.
©Catherine Kullmann 2020
All about 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.
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