June 2018


Sorry, there’s no Letter from Elsewhere today but you can read my thoughts about comfort reads today on the blog of Rosie Travers, author of the soon-to-be-released The Theatre of Dreams. I love this cover!

The Theatre of Dreams

I’ll leave you with this amazing quotation I came across today. It’s by Milton Berle and I saw it here.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

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Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s visitor, Ursula Grey, has a special reason for trying to mend matters with her stepdaughter, Lallie. Her husband is angry with his daughter because she foiled his plans of getting a share of her inheritance (which Lallie doesn’t even know about) by marrying her off to a crony of his. But Ursula sees advantages to Lallie’s secret marriage to the Hon. Hugo Tamrisk M.P. Through her new family, Lallie may be able to advance the prospects of their children: Eleanor, Beatrix and James.

Ursula comes from the pages of Perception & Illusion by Catherine Kullmann.

                                                                                                            Alwood Hall
                                                                                                           Sussex
                                                                                                           12 December 1813

The Honble. Mrs Tamrisk,
Tamm Manor,
Devonshire

My dear Mrs Tamrisk,

I was indeed relieved to learn of your recent marriage and to know that you are safe and well. While I continue to deplore the misunderstandings that caused you to leave the protection of your family, we can justly say all’s well that ends well. In Mr Tamrisk you have made an excellent match and I extend to you and him my heartfelt congratulations and good wishes for your future happiness.

I imagine that by now you are settled at Tamm. I did not have the privilege of advising you before your marriage as a mother should. I will say nothing about your marital duties—the time for that is past—but I hope you will permit me to offer some general counsel and you should know that in the future you may always turn to me if you are in need of advice.

Mr Tamrisk struck me as a fair-minded gentleman when we met in September and I hope that he proved generous when drawing up the marriage settlements. If so, you now have more funds at your disposal than you have ever dreamt of having. I need not urge you to be circumspect in your expenditure, I know, but strongly recommend that you acquire the habit of setting aside, say, one tenth of your pin money each quarter. You will soon have accumulated a private little nest egg for which you need account to no one and will always have in reserve in case of emergencies.

And, while we speak of financial matters, never let yourself be lured into playing for high stakes or into any other sort of wagers. It is a sure road to ruin. You have led a very sheltered life, first with your grandparents and then here at Alwood with me but now you will be moving in different circles and must be alert to such risks.

But enough of that. As you can imagine, your marriage caused no little chatter in Alwood. I am charged to express the good wishes of everyone you can imagine, even the squire’s lady. She first remarked how unexpected it was but I just shook my head and said, ’Not at all. We have known Mr Tamrisk and his sister Lady Malvin for some time. Of course, their father, Lord Tamm, is of an advanced age and not in the best of health’. Mrs Neville swallowed her chagrin and said everything that was proper but you could see the words tasted sour to her. Neither of her daughters made as good a match, after all and neither her son nor his heiress can compare with the heir to the oldest Barony in the land.

Your sisters miss you sadly, as you will imagine. I have not yet found a new governess and they say I am to assure you that they are doing their best to keep up their lessons with my assistance. They each send you a little gift; Beatrice embroidered the sampler herself according to Eleanor’s design. Eleanor also painted a watercolour of Alwood village so that you will not forget us. I hope that you will accept the enclosed fan as a token of my affection and esteem.

With the exception of some old gowns which are not suitable for your new station in life, you will find in this trunk all the personal belongings you left at Alwood— your books, music and sketch-books as well as the few trinkets and ornaments you brought from your Grandmother’s to Alwood.

The ladies of the literary circle send their felicitations and beg you will accept the volumes of Pride and Prejudice as a memento of the happy hours you spent together. When she gave them to me, Mrs Hersey remarked that you appeared to have found your Mr Darcy—is he a character in the story? Judging by her smile, he must be an eligible parti indeed. She has invited me to join the literary society, and I propose to do so after Christmas.

Mr Grey joins me in sending you the compliments of the season. It is our earnest wish that the confusion of last September will not result in a permanent breach within our family. Eleanor and Beatrix send their fondest love, as would James if he knew I was writing to you.

I remain, my dear Lallie—I trust I may still so address you,

                  Your affectionate stepmother and friend,

                               Ursula Grey

About Perception & Illusion

Does a fairy-tale ending always guarantee Happy Ever After?

Perception and Illusion

England 1814: Brought up by her late grandparents after the death of her mother, Lallie Grey is unaware that she is their heiress. When her father realises that he will soon lose control of his daughter’s income, he conspires to marry her off to his crony, Frederick Malvin in ex& Illusionchange for a share of her capital. But Lallie has fallen in love with Hugo Tamrisk, heir to one of the oldest titles in England. When Hugo not only comes to her aid as she flees the arranged marriage, but later proposes to her, all Lallie’s dreams have come true. She readily agrees to marry him at once.

But past events cast long shadows. Hugo resents the interest his three elder sisters take in his new wife and thinks they have turned her against him. And then there is his former mistress, Sabina, Lady Albright. As Lallie finds her feet in the ton, the newly-weds are caught up in a comedy of errors that threatens their future happiness. She begins to wonder if he has regrets and he cannot understand her new reserve. A perfect storm of confusion and misunderstanding leads to a final rupture when Lallie feels she has no choice but to leave. Can Hugo win her back? Will there be a second, real happy end for them?

“Deliciously romantic with wonderful characters, elegant writing and perfect period detail. Hugely enjoyable!” Nicola Cornick. Winner of Chill with a Book and Discovered Diamond awards.

About Catherine Kullmann

Catherine KullmannCatherine 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-six years before returning to Ireland. She and her husband of over forty years have three adult sons and two grandchildren. Catherine has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector.

After taking early retirement Catherine was finally able to fulfil her life-long ambition to write fiction. Her debut novel, The Murmur of Masks, published in 2016, is a warm and engaging story of a young woman’s struggle to survive and find love in an era of violence and uncertainty. It takes us from the ballrooms of the Regency to the battlefield of Waterloo. It received a Chill with a Book Readers Award and, in 2017, was short-listed for Best Novel in the CAP (Carousel Aware Prize) Awards.

In Perception & Illusion, published in March 2017, Lallie Grey, 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. All too soon, Lallie must question Hugo’s reasons for marriage and wonder what he really wants of his bride. Perception & Illusion received a Chill with a Book Readers Award and a Discovered Diamonds Award.

In her new book, A Suggestion of Scandal, due in August 2018, governess Rosa Fancourt finds her life and future suddenly at risk when she surprises two lovers in flagrante delicto. Even if she escapes captivity, the mere suggestion of scandal is enough to ruin a lady in her situation. In Sir Julian Loring she finds an unexpected champion but will he stand by her to the end?

You can find out more about Catherine at her website where, in her Scrap Album, she blogs about historical facts and trivia relating to the Regency, or on her Facebook page.

Catherine’s books are available worldwide from Amazon as e-books and paperback.

 

Today, instead of Letters from Elsewhere, here’s a post about me, to catch up with some of the things I’ve done since… whenever.

The other day, I wrote two new verses to an old song. They’re inspired by a strange phenomenon: rain.

Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma

Look what they’ve done to my June, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my June.
Well it’s the only thing they could do half right,
And it’s turning out all wrong, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my June.

Look what they’ve done to my sun, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my sun.
Well, they took some clouds and made them black
And covered up the sun, Ma.
Look what they’ve done to my sun.

Yes, it’s been raining heavily in various parts of the country, but not so heavily in Jerusalem. There has been flooding. One of the most afflicted towns was Sderot. You’d think they’ve had enough to contend with without the weather joining in.

It never rains in June in Israel. Don’t they know that?

If you don’t know the original song, I’m sure you can find it on Youtube. “Look what they’ve done to my song.”

I’ve appeared on a few other blogs:

Author

Topic

My Post

C.J. Sutton

Fear

A Fear of People

Carrie-Ann Schless

Diary Entry

Noname’s Diary

Megan Mayfair

Espresso Tales

Coffee with Miriam Drori

Val Penny

My Writing Story

If you’d told me I was going to be a writer

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I’ve hosted two authors on the social anxiety blog: Jo Fenton and Val Penny.

I hosted characters on this blog in Letters from Elsewhere:

Character

From

By

Tina

The Brotherhood

Jo Fenton

DI Hunter Wilson

Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge

Val Penny

Joseph Flynn

Heart of Stone

John Jackson

Anne

The Road to Newgate

Kate Braithwaite

Harriet

Harriet of Hare Street

Angela Rigley

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And I was delighted to receive this from a grateful customer.

Me with Chasing the Case

Yes, I was the editor for this lovely novel: Chasing the Case by Joan Livingston.

And I have lots of new and exciting ideas for my writing. If I stop sleeping, I might be able to put them into practice. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Happy reading! See you next Friday for another Letter from Elsewhere!

Letters from Elsewhere

I think today’s visitor is my youngest ever. She’s only thirteen and comes from Victorian London and the pages of Harriet of Hare Street by Angela Rigley. Harriet has brought a letter to her father, who has just died. I believe she wants some answers.

Dear Papa in Heaven,

I miss you so much. Why did you have to die? Mama has not told me how it happened. Not the real circumstances. She just said that you fell off a bridge. Well, dear Papa, why did you not hold on tighter? I am sorry William Henry died. We all are. But were you so upset that you jumped off? I am sure that is not the case, but some people seem to think that was what happened. Anyway, Father Lane would not have given you a Catholic burial if he thought so. I would hate to think of you burning in Hell.

What is Heaven like? I wish you could tell me. I wish… but anyway, dear Papa, I hope you are happy up there with Jesus. Say hello to him from me and tell him I vow to be a better person.

I am sure you know about the twins. Mama says William Thomas is a glutton, and she is hopeful that little Winifred will thrive, although she is still very weak. Please look after them for us, and put in a good word with God and the Virgin Mary. Have you met her yet?

Well, dear Papa, I must go. I have a job now, but you must know all about it. Do you like my window arrangements? I don’t suppose you remember teaching me how to make stars. Well, I do, and that is how I made the hanging one, covered in shiny paper, so when the light catches it, it sparkles like a real one. Just for you.
I will write again soon,
Love and kisses,
Your dutiful daughter,

Harriet.

Oh, you poor girl. I do hope things turn out well for you.Harriet of Hare Street by Angela Rigley

About Harriet of Hare Street

Living in a run-down area of the East end of London in the late nineteenth century is hard enough, but when thirteen-year old Harriet Harding opens the door to a stranger, who thrusts a baby into her arms, she cannot imagine how her life will change. How can she cope with a baby? And what will her parents say when they return?

You can find Harriet of Hare Street on Amazon UK or other Amazons.

About Angela Rigley

Married to Don, with five children and nine grandchildren, Angela lives in Derbyshire. Her hobbies include singing in her church choir; genealogy, having traced ancestors back to 1520; gardening; flower arranging; playing Scrabble; Sudoku; meals out; family gatherings; and, when she has any spare time she loves to read. She is the treasurer of Eastwood Writers’ Group.

Find her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on her website.

Letters from Elsewhere

Today I’m delighted to welcome Anne to my blog. When she wrote the letter she’s brought, she existed only as a flashback, because the letter pre-dates the novel she comes from: The Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite. Anne has just eloped with Nathaniel Thompson, a man deemed unsuitable by her family.

Love Lane,
Nr. Billingsgate,
London
Fourteenth day of June 1678

Dear Sarah,
By now Mother and Father have my letter and I am married. I am sorry for nothing but that you will have to bear their anger. Father will harp at length – I can imagine it most clearly – about my husband’s unsuitability and the betrayal he doubtless believes this is. Mother will bear it more quietly, but we both know she will side with him.
Can we hope that you and James will be our friends? Nathaniel is not what our father says. He has a position and talent. He is the Licenser of the Presses – James himself said it was an important role. Remember, he told us both that Nathaniel’s future prospects are excellent. He is not wealthy now, it’s true, but he is good and kind and clever. And so very handsome, Sarah!
Don’t write back to tell me we have been too hasty. Bite your tongue and still your pen, if you love me. We have not known each other long, it is true, but I know his heart, dear sister. What could be more important?
Come and visit us? Write to me. Promise you will come. Our home is not what you are used to – be prepared for a surprise, dear one – but it is clean and neat and I am determined to learn to manage everything. Tomorrow, Nat’s friend and publisher Henry Broome is to visit us after dinner. I do so hope to make a good impression. Visit me in a day or two and I will tell you all.
Your sister,
Anne

I’m told, although I won’t, of course, pass this on to my visitor, that only a few months after this letter, Anne and Nat’s young marriage will be tested when Nat becomes involved in an attempt to discredit the Popish Plot and its author, Titus Oates.

About The Road to Newgate

The Road To Newgate

What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

The Road to Newgate is available to pre-order from Amazon.

About Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

The Road to Newgate, a story of love, lies and injustice in 17th century London will be published by Crooked Cat Books on July 16th.

Find out more about Kate on her website.