This evening I have a special guest in the Library. Catherine Kullmann, my good friend and fellow Irish historical fiction author, has settled down for a chat about her new release, Perception & Illusion, which will be available on Amazon (ebook and paperback) on Tuesday.
Firstly, Catherine, can you tell us a little about the story?
Lallie Grey, who has been 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 and soon Lallie begins to question his reasons for marrying her. As she struggles to find her feet in the haut ton, Hugo feels ignored by his new wife and before long they are embroiled in a tangle of jealousy and resentment. Small misunderstandings lead to greater ones as Lallie’s rejected suitor stirs the pot. Hugo’s smouldering resentment finally erupts. Is all lost, or can they find their way to a new beginning?
Perception & Illusion charts Lallie’s and Hugo’s first year of marriage, taking us from country houses to the London Season and the gaiety of Brussels as Europe celebrates the defeat of Napoleon in 1814. Nicola Cornick describes it as “Deliciously romantic with wonderful characters, elegant writing and perfect period detail. Hugely enjoyable.”
Perception & Illusion will be available worldwide on Amazon as e-book and paperback from 28 March 2017and is now available for Pre-Order.
What prompted you to write this book?
I have spent many hours imagining continuations of my favourite books, wondering what happened next, as if the characters somehow carry on with their lives in secret chapters that vanish when the book is opened. In historical or period novels, the happy end comes very early in a developing relationship. Today a couple starts dating, then commits to an exclusive relationship and frequently live together even before there is a formal engagement and a wedding.
Compare this to previous centuries: Almost all of the young couple’s interactions would have been within a public, chaperoned framework. They had very little opportunity to get to know one another before they were married, to discover their compatibility, not only sexually but also on a practical, everyday basis. There were no pre-marriage courses then and no couples’ counselling. While the Anglican marriage service exhorted husbands ‘to love their wives as their own bodies……he that loveth his wife, loveth himself’, wives were adjured to ‘be in subjection to their own husbands, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.’ This religious doctrine was reinforced by the legal doctrine of coverture which suspended a wife’s legal existence, incorporating and consolidating it into that of her husband.
Is it any wonder that a new wife might be reluctant to question her husband, preferring to raise her defences and hide her unhappiness? It can only be a rejection in spirit, for she has been taught that she may not deny him her bed, but this makes it even more difficult to combat. Or that her husband might feel and resent her subtle rejection? And this could lead him to become ever more hostile towards her while at the same time longing for an intimacy he cannot be sure is possible.
All of this takes place after the conventional happy end. But, even today, a happy end does not guarantee a happy ever after. Social mores may have changed but the dynamics in many relationships today are the same as they were two centuries ago and communication breakdown is not unknown. However, the gulf between courtship and the intimacies of marriage was much wider then. As so much of public life in regency society was regulated by formal or unspoken rules, and private life was just that—private, young people had few opportunities to observe happy and loving relationships, especially as the concept of marrying for love rather than for position or status was relatively new.
I hope readers will enjoy following the twists and turns of the plot as Hugo and Lallie voyage through a sea of confusion and misunderstanding. Will there be a happy ever after for them? Well, I think that where there is a willing disposition on both sides, Love can conquer all.
Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your new book and I wish you all the best with it.