Wednesday 8 April 2020

#BookReview — The Potential For Love by Catherine Kullmann #RegencyRomance @CKullmannAuthor

The Potential For Love
By Catherine Kullmann

When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for one interminable moment she thinks he is her brother, against all odds home from Waterloo. But it is Major Thomas Ferraunt, the rector’s son, newly returned from occupied Paris who stands in front of her.

For over six years, Thomas’s thoughts have been of war. Now 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 Miss Malvin, but would Lord Malvin agree to such a mismatch for his daughter, especially when she is being courted by Lord Henry Danlow?

As Arabella embarks on her fourth Season, she finds herself more in demand than ever before. But she 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?

"Be honest with yourself and, when the time comes, be honest with him. There is no place for dissimulation within love, and if you feel you must pretend to be someone other than you are, then he is not the right man for you."

Lord Henry Danlow is the perfect suitor. He is charming, titled, and she has caught his eye. But while others may have rejoiced at such a match, Arabella “Bella” Malvin found Lord Henry’s attention somewhat disturbing. Lord Henry does not seem interested in anything Bella has to say, and besides, when she is with him, she cannot help but wish she were with another.

Major Thomas Ferraunt had been through Hell and back. Five long years of war on the continent had left him with his fair share of scars — both the visible kinds and the ones that could not be seen. Now, he is at a crossroads. He wants a family, a home, a woman to adore for the rest of her life. These things, the army cannot give him. If only he were brave enough to tell Bella how much she means to him. But who was he trying to fool? He was 
shooting for the stars. He had no right to imagine a life with Bella.

If only Lord Henry were Major Ferraunt, then Bella would embrace his advances, and she would marry him. If only…

From a bittersweet reunion to an unforeseen danger, The Potential For Love by Catherine Kullmann is a Regency Romance triumph.

This richly detailed and emotionally charged tale is brought to life in all of its glorious splendour by Kullmann. With an enthralling narrative and a novelist eye for human fragility and frailty, Kullmann has presented her readers with a romance that is as tender as it is believable. I adored how Kullmann, with a seemingly effortless dip of her quill, penned a story that is not only beguiling but one that is near on impossible to turn away from. I was thoroughly enchanted with this novel from beginning to end.

The Potential For Love is a slow burn of desire and passion. It is a love story about a couple who should know better than to fall in love with each other. In a world where breeding and your standing in society was considered more important than your morals, or your rakish behaviour, the romance between Arabella Malvin and Major Thomas Ferraunt was decidedly refreshing. Thomas is no handsome rake. He is the rector's son. And yet he is worth a hundred Lord Henry’s.

I adored Kullmann's portrayal of Bella. Bella is a very insightful young woman who does not suffer fools gladly. She realises that all that glitters is not gold and her head is not turned by wealth and titles. She is, however, acutely aware of her place in the world and the expectations that her family have of her. Bella is extremely concerned that she will lose all control of not only her finances but also her freedom if she chooses to marry the wrong man. Bella's careful consideration of Lord Henry's courtship demonstrated Bella's level of maturity. In contrast, her relationship with Thomas is irresistible. Their story is one of awakening desires and shy first kisses.

Where do I even begin to describe how wonderful Thomas' depiction was. Thomas is a refreshing hero. So often in Regency Romances, the story is about a rake who is reformed by the young and innocent debutant, but in this story, Thomas is a man of integrity. He is the kind of person you would want your daughter to marry. He is kind. He is thoughtful. He is genuinely likeable. Thomas is undoubtedly swoon-worthy material. I thought Kullmann's depiction of Thomas was sublime. I loved him.

As with all romances, there is a complication, and in this case, a very dangerous one, who threatens to destroy the protagonists’ relationship. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but the antagonist in this tale is a seemingly unlikely one, and the lengths he is prepared to go to achieve his aims are quite extraordinary. I did fear for Bella's safety on more than one occasion. Kullmann has given her readers a very coldly calculating antagonist who sent shivers up my spine. Kudos, Ms Kullmann.

The historical detailing in this novel has to be commended. Kullmann has written her book with a keen sense of time and place. Kullmann also writes with both elegance and authority, which gives her story a sense of realism. And not only does Kullmann write with sensitivity to the era but she also has a novelist intuition for this book’s intended audience. 

I felt that there is an essence of Jane Austen's 
Sense and Sensibility in this story, which made The Potential For Love absolutely irresistible. There is an edge of satire in Kullmann’s portrayal of le bon ton, as there is in Austen's books. Kullmann also cleverly describes the plight of women in the early 19th Century with objectivity. However, unlike Austen, Kullmann has delivered what modern readers expect from a Regency Romance. The story is compelling, and it is incredibly fast-paced — this is the kind of book that can be enjoyed while drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate.

If you are a lover of quality Regency Romance, then The Potential For Love by Catherine Kullmann certainly deserves a place on your bookshelf and in your heart. I loved every syllable, every word, every sentence. It is, in all ways, a real treat.

I Highly Recommend.

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

Pick up your copy of
The Potential For Love

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: Website • Twitter • Goodreads.

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