Monday 28 February 2022

Have a sneak-peek between the covers of Catherine Kullmann's award-winning #HistoricalRomance novel — A Comfortable Alliance @CKullmannAuthor


A Comfortable Alliance

By Catherine Kullmann 

Publication Date: 25th March 2021
Publisher: Willow Books
Page Length: 428 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction (Regency)

Six years ago, Helena Swift’s fiancé was fatally wounded at Waterloo. Locking away all dreams of the heart, she retreated to a safe family haven. On the shelf and happy to be there, Helena has perfected the art of deterring would-be suitors.

Will, Earl of Rastleigh, is the only son of an only son: marriage is his duty. One of the great prizes of the marriage market, he shies away from a cold, society union. While he doesn’t expect love, he seeks something more comfortable. But how to find the woman who will welcome him into her life and her bed, and be a good mother to their children?

When Will meets Helena, he is intrigued by her composure, her kindness and her intelligence. As their friendship develops, he realises he has found his ideal wife, if only he can overcome her well-known aversion to matrimony.

Will succeeds in slipping past Helena’s guard. Tempted by the thought of children of her own, and encouraged by her mother to leave the shallows where she has lingered so long, she accepts his offer of a marriage based not on dangerous love but affectionate companionship and mutual respect.

But is this enough? As Will gets to know his wife better, and the secrets of her past unfold, he realises that they have settled for second-best. Can he change the basis of their marriage? Will Helena risk her heart and dare to love again?

The Coffee Pot Book Club 
Historical Romance Book of the Year 2021
Gold Medal Winner

"A Comfortable Alliance: A Regency Novel by Catherine Kullmann is a beautifully woven love story that is rich with historical detail and unforgettable characters..."

Mary Anne Yarde, The Coffee Pot Book Club

“Benedick, the married man! How goes it, Will?” Stephen Graham said as he dropped into an armchair in Will’s library.

“Until last night, I should have said wonderfully. Now I don’t know.”

“A rift in the lute, eh? Nothing to worry about; it happens a lot in the first months or so I’m told. An apology and a pretty bauble will set you right.”

Receiving no response to this, Stephen abandoned his air of levity. “Do you care to talk about it?”

Will ran his fingers through his hair. “I must, I think, if you don’t mind. Strictly between ourselves, Stephen.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep mum. Pour two glasses of your excellent Madeira, sit down, and tell me all.”

Mr Graham listened in silence as Will described the events of the previous evening and this morning’s subsequent conversation.

“She’s nervous about facing the ton,” he said bluntly. “Can’t say I blame her. You know as well as I do how some of those tabbies can be. Is there an older lady who could help her? Her mother, your aunt?”

“Not her mother, I think. Her sister-in-law is expecting another child in the spring. And my aunt rarely comes to town and not for the whole Season. Helena is close to Lady Harbury, I understand. Perhaps she would help.”

“I know her. A pleasant woman, but not one of the leading hostesses. From what you say, your bride doesn’t want for backbone—she just needs some encouragement. She’s right too; she has had a lot to deal with. In the normal way of things, she would still be choosing her bride-clothes—you wouldn’t even be married yet. She would have had a chance to return to society as Miss Swift. Now she must take centre stage as Countess of Rastleigh. There would have been a lot of interest in her, once the betrothal was announced, but she would have had her mother and your aunt to assist her.”

“And I haven’t been much support,” Will said ruefully. “She is so accomplished in all things that it did not occur to me that she might need some. Hell, I even forgot to provide her with funds.”


Mr Graham shook his head at Will’s confession of his neglect in this important matter. “Poor girl. I trust you have rectified the matter.”

“Yes—damn it, no! How the devil am I to do it, Stephen? Do I open a bank account for her, and deposit her allowance there each quarter?”

“That won’t do. She would not be the sole beneficiary of it. As her husband, you could draw on it or close it at any time.”

“But I wouldn’t,” Will protested.

“That is not the point,” Stephen said patiently. “The point is that you could.”

“What should I do? Hand her rouleaux of guineas or a roll of soft?”

“Better a combination of both. And somewhere secure to store it.”

“It seems damn mercenary,” Will muttered. “She’s my wife, not my mistress.”

“A mistress would have haggled with you before you laid a hand on her. And demanded a payment up front. This is completely different. How would you have liked it if, instead of giving you an allowance, your grandfather had made you come to him for everything? No matter how indulgent he might have been, you would rather have had control over your own money.”

“When you put it like that—” Will said slowly.

“It strikes me, Will, that she is trying her best to be a wife, but what sort of a husband are you?”

“Not much of one, I fear.”

His friend regarded him keenly. “You keep people at a distance. It is the way that old devil, your grandfather, trained you, I suppose. But it also means that you are not attuned to the needs of others. You must lessen that reserve of yours if you want to be a husband to your Helena. Try and look at your life together through her eyes for a change.” He paused for a moment. “I remember my mother saying that marriage is easy for men, our lives are not really different afterwards, except perhaps improved. We remain in our own world. A girl gives up everything—her family, even her name.”

Will looked up at this, but did not interrupt.

“If, as in Helena’s case, her husband does not live in the same part of the country, she has to leave her old life behind her. No one knows her except as a wife. It is all strange to her. And for your wife, the change has been extreme. Society will not expect anything more of you now that you are married, but much will be expected of her. The positions of the Countess of Rastleigh and Miss Swift, who lived retired with her widowed mother, are completely different. If she gets off on the wrong foot—”

Will held up his hand. “Enough, Enough! Thank you, Stephen. You’ve given me a lot to think about—more than enough for the moment.”

“Very well. Do you feel up to looking at these papers or would you rather leave them for now and go to Lady Rastleigh?”

“She is resting before Lady Harbury calls. I don’t want to disturb her before then. I’ll talk to her afterwards. Try and mend my fences.”

“You don’t need to mend your fences, Will, you need to tear them down.”

Catherine Kullmann
was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. Widowed, she has three adult sons and two grandchildren.

Catherine has always been interested in the extended Regency period, a time when the foundations of our modern world were laid. She loves writing and is particularly interested in what happens after the first happy end—how life goes on for the protagonists and sometimes catches up with them. Her books are set against a background of the offstage, Napoleonic wars and consider in particular the situation of women trapped in a patriarchal society.

Her new book, Lady Loring’s Dilemma will be published end May 2022.

Catherine also blogs about historical facts and trivia related to this era. You can find out more about her books and read her blog (My Scrap Album) at her website You can contact her via her Facebook page or on Twitter 

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See you on your next coffee break!
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Mary Anne xxx