Saturday, 10 August 2019

#BookReview — The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set by Catherine Kullmann #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance @CKullmannAuthor


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The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set


By Catherine Kullmann


A Regency celebration of friendship, family and love.
Book One: The Murmur of Masks
Desperately in need of security following the sudden death of her mother and unaware that his affections are elsewhere engaged, a distraught Olivia accepts Jack Rembleton's offer of a marriage of convenience. When Olivia meets Luke Fitzmaurice at a ball given by the Duchess of Gracechurch, Luke is instantly smitten but Olivia cannot respond. An unexpected encounter with Luke at a masquerade ten years later leads to a second chance at love. Dare Olivia grasp it? Before she can decide, Napoleon escapes from Elba and Luke joins Wellington's army in Brussels. Will war once again dash Olivia's hopes of happiness?
Book 2: Perception & Illusion
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 the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. When a perfect storm of confusion and misunderstanding leads to a devastating quarrel with her husband, Lallie feels she has no choice but to leave him. Can Hugo win her back? Will there be a second, real happy end for them?
Book 3: The Duke’s Regret
A chance meeting with a bereaved father makes Jeffrey, Duke of Gracechurch realise how hollow his own marriage and family life are. Persuaded to marry at a young age, he and his Duchess, Flora, live largely separate lives. Now he is determined to make amends to his wife and children and forge new relationships with them. Flora does not know how to respond to her husband’s suggestion. Can Jeffrey break down the barriers between them and convince her that his change of heart is sincere? Flora must decide if she will hazard her heart and her hard won peace of mind for a prize of undreamt of happiness.



I adore Regency Romances, so when Catherine Kullmann approached me and asked me if I would be interested in reading The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Box Set, well, of course, I said yes!

The box set contains three fabulous romance books:

The Murmur of Masks.
Perception & Illusion.
The Duke’s Regret.

I am going to approach this review as I approached the box set — one book at a time.



The Murmur of Masks


“She needs to find a safe harbour...”

But is Jack Rembleton the answer to all her worries?

When her mother dies unexpectedly, Olivia Frobisher only has her uncle to turn to — for her father and brother are at sea fighting the French. But her uncle is of advancing years, and if anything were to happen to him, Olivia would be destitute. Her only answer was to marry. But what did she know of men?

Marriage to Jack wasn’t what Olivia had expected it to be. Even though this was an arranged marriage, Olivia had hoped that love might grow between them. But alas, no. It seemed that Jack did not have it in him to love anyone. But at least Olivia is safe, that is something is it not...?

Olivia is determined to be content, and she was, sort of, until she met Luke Fitzmaurice. It was only then that Olivia realised — too late — that she had married in haste.

From the busy port of Portsmouth to the thrill of a masquerade ball, The Murmur of Masks by Catherine Kullmann is what Regency Romance is all about.

I fell in love with this book within the first few pages, and I simply adored Olivia and Luke. Their romance is ten years in the making, which made this book refreshingly different from other Regency Romances that are out there. Luke is the kind of man that makes ladies swoon. He is dashing, witty, and more importantly, kind. Luke really could have anyone he wants, but he is hopelessly in love with Olivia. Likewise, Olivia has deep feelings, feelings that she dare not dwell on, for Luke. It is only in a moment of wild abandonment when she lets herself feel and experience things with Luke when she realises just how much she has missed out on. Olivia was a character that I could not help but like.

The Murmur of Masks is absorbing and heartwarming, but Kullmann also shows what living in the Regency period was like. This was a time of morals and manners. Kullmann demonstrates how difficult it was if you loved where you should not. Jack marries a woman he is not in love with and who he will never be in love with. He marries to avoid a scandal or worse, for Jack is utterly and irrevocably in love with his esteemed colleague. In an age where homosexuality was illegal, I thought Kullmann demonstrated most admirably what an awful situation it was when to do something as simple as falling in love was considered a crime. Kudos, Ms Kullmann.

The Murmur of Masks is absolutely fabulous.



Perception & Illusion


“I assure you that I will never marry Mr Malvin...”

Lallie Grey finds herself in an impossible situation. If she stays, she will be forced to marry the vile Mr Malvin. If she stays, she will face her father’s wrath. The only option left to her is to run away.

Hugo Tamrisk was enchanted the moment he met Lallie Grey. She is so different to the women he usually spends time with. He would like to get to know her better. But when he sees Lallie and her lady maid at an inn and in obvious distress, his honour and integrity demand that he offer Lallie his help. However, due to the circumstances of his intervention, Hugo has no choice but to offer Lallie his hand in marriage.

Lallie did not know what she would have done without Mr Tamrisk’s help, and she is more than a little in love with him when he proposes. She looks forward to a long and happy life with him. But a dalliance from Hugo’s recent past threatens to destroy their new-found love. 

From desperate beginnings to the sensuality of a masquerade ball, Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann is an example of historical romance at its best.

Kullmann has given her readers a courageous heroine in Lallie, who is not afraid to stand up for herself and a dashing hero in Hugo who will do anything for the woman he loves. Mix into this several wicked antagonists, the etiquette of the Ton, the hint of a scandal, and the battle to save a marriage, along with a good dollop of humour, makes Perception & Illusion a real winner.

Kullmann has a keen novelist eye for what is entertaining as well as being able to pen the most beautiful and believable of romances. I adored this book from beginning to end. Unquestionably brilliant.



The Duke’s Regret


“I am aware that I have been inconsiderate, even negligent, both as a husband and a father. I wish to make amends...”

Flora had only been seventeen when she had been forced to marry Jeffrey. He had not cared for her and nor she for him. In the years that had past, she had wondered what life would be like without him. If it were not for her children, she would have... She would have what? Sought a divorce? She had most certainly thought about it, but the scandal... Flora was 35 years old, was the rest of her life to be as loveless as the first half?

Falling in love with Meg had been easy, and there had been no place in Jeffrey’s heart for his wife. But Meg had been dead these many years, along with his baby daughter. But while grieving for them, he had failed to see the treasure that was right in front of him. It was time to be a proper father to his and Flora’s children. And it was time to be a proper husband to his wife. The only question is, has he left it too late?

Filled with romance and passion, The Duke’s Regret by Catherine Kullmann is a story about the power of forgiveness.

What a wonderfully romantic tale, Kullmann has weaved. Jeffrey and Flora’s marriage has been a loveless one. But now Jeffrey has seen the light. He wants his family, and he wants his wife. I thought Jeffrey’s characterisation was incredibly insightful, and once again, Kullmann shows precisely what it was like to marry where there is no love. Jeffrey’s devotion to his mistress and his grief at her loss was heartbreaking, but his determination to become a better man, to become a father to his children and a husband to Flora made him not only likeable but very real in the telling. The Duke’s Regret is a book about second chances, and it is a delightful read.

Flora, likewise, was a fabulous heroine. She has been the model wife, but she longs for love with all her heart. Her doubts at Jeffory’s sincerity is understandable, but Flora wants what her friends have. She wants a husband who loves her, and she is willing to take a mighty leap of faith on Jeffrey’s promise.

I thought this book was a fantastic addition to the trilogy.

The Duchess of Gracechurch Trilogy Boxed Set would make a wonderful gift for those who love the romance of the Regency era. Perfect romantic escapism.


I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
The Duchess of Gracechurch
 Trilogy Box Set


Catherine Kullmann

I was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, I moved to Germany where I lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. I have worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.

I have a keen sense of history and of connection with the past which so often determines the present. I am fascinated by people. I love a good story, especially when characters come to life in a book.

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.

Connect with Catherine: WebsiteTwitterGoodreads.




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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx