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.
12 December 1813
The Honble. Mrs Tamrisk,
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,
About Perception & Illusion
Does a fairy-tale ending always guarantee Happy Ever After?
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 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?
Catherine’s books are available worldwide from Amazon as e-books and paperback.