Cover Image: A Comfortable Alliance

A Comfortable Alliance

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book appears very well-researched with the author showcasing her hard work with tidbits about mundane aspects of genteel life as well as other historical details, some added to the central plot and others were less relevant. Kudos to the author for introducing the issue of women's lack of rights and financial independence in those days. The characters and dialogues were written sensitively and appropriately. But where was the romance? The protagonists marry and nothing happened for the longest time, because they immediately entered into a very comfortable allliance of sex and pleasantries. In the meantime, there was much ado about everything and everyone. There was a plethora of unrelated side plots, with a new one starting as another one was resolved. There were some strange inclusions of random conversations with random people that were then abruptly cut off, which really made no contribution to the main story or any character growth. Allusions to any romantic feelings only started in the last few chapters, rather than building up some sort of emotional tension throughout the book.
Was this review helpful?
I am surprised by how much I liked this. It was really like going back in time. More understandable then a Austen novel but so like it. I felt like I had stepped back in time to visit this couple and watch thier story. This is an arranged marriage story where both parties were agreeable and friends. It was so different and so interesting. This is not like my normal book. This was reading the first year of marriage where normally you read up to the marriage. She just had such an interesting way of writing. 
Sex: This does have some matter of fact sex scenes. Nothing erotic just told like the rest of the book. This is after marriage. 
Drinking: There is always alcohol in these kinds of books. 
Violence: NONE
No religion
Was this review helpful?
A well-written, gentle Regency Romance concerning the marriage and developing relationship between an Earl ,who accepts he needs to do his duty and sire an heir to his estate, and a young woman of status and intelligence, but who still holds at least a flickering candle for her deceased not-quite-betrothed (died following action at Waterloo). Some lovely dialogue with the old pussies who can't wait for scandal, and their gentle comeuppance from the new Countess; a few scoundrels and rakes but nothing gratuitous; misunderstandings of course.  Feels true to what I think of as the period, early 19th century, with characters' dialogue and dress drawing in the reader. Very pleasant read. Thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed it. A refreshing change from the usual 'girl meets earl' novel plot. I  particularly liked the slow steady build of the relationships, and  careful background research. It felt so much more plausible than so many of this type of book. 

Not least the very naive idea that so many books promulgate that there were hundreds of Earls and Dukes in England; there never were that many and they were mostly old, and the bizarre belief the young ones  would be delighted to marry a maid servant. As if!
Was this review helpful?
Book rating: 3.5 stars (rounded up)

Synopsis:
Helena lost her first love to injuries sustained at Waterloo and doesn't think she will ever learn to love the same way again.  Will, the Earl of Rastleigh, knows he must marry to produce an heir but is tired of being pursued for his wealth and title.  Will is impressed with Helena's kindness and intelligence, and while he is not passionately in love with her, he asks if she'll marry him in the hopes of developing an affectionate companionship and mutual respect.  Their rushed marriage begins with a sorrowful event and Helena has a hard time adjusting to being a countess instead of a country lady.  She is a strong woman and mourns the loss of her independence.  But as they build their new life together, Helena's heart opens up to the possibility of marriage meaning something more than just a comfortable alliance. 

Review: 
It took me a little while to get used to the prose in the book, but once I did I really enjoyed it (thank goodness for the dictionary feature in Kindle, which I used extensively). The author did a fantastic job of using language appropriate to the Regency era, which gives it a true sense of authenticity while still being relatable.  The writing did seem a bit choppy at times, with the author moving on to a new section before fully finalizing the current section.  But I did not think it affected the flow overall. 

I was surprised at how much Helena's demeanor changed as soon as she was presented as the mistress of the house, but I understand she felt she needed to establish respect from the very beginning.  It was nice to see the character development for both Helena and Will over the course of the book.

This is not a "proper" romance (one without any sex scenes) but the scenes which are included are not as detailed as a typical romance novel. However, it is definitely targeted toward an adult audience. It has everything you would look for in a noteworthy Regency novel: a strong female lead, a handsome eligible Earl who owns his own castle on the sea (swoon!), scandals waiting to be uncovered, and much more. 

If you're a fan of Jane Austen and Bridgerton, be sure to give this one a read and support this lesser-known author!

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

#AComfortableAlliance  #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
This Regency romance came as a charming surprise. True, the writing is a bit on-the-nose, but the characters are so endearing that I didn't mind much. This is a gentle story about two people who wed without expectations for love but find it anyway, and the writer understands that while external conflict adds some excitement, the real draw is watching the leads learn and grow together. Filled with likable characters and stakes that never get quite high enough to cause actual concern, A Comfortable Alliance turned out to be a comfortable, soothing read. I'm so glad I gave it a chance to pull me in.

Thank you to Netgalley and BooksGoSocial for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A Comfortable Alliance by Catherine Kullman is a beautifully written historical novel set right after the Napoleonic Wars. From the start, I could tell this was a gentle read, in other words, a peaceful-evening-sitting-by-the-fire-with-a-glass-of-wine kind of book. Ms Kullman does not disappoint in her ability to transport you with her true-to-the-era dialogue and situations. The overall story is quite lovely, giving you enough romance while not being gratuitous in any way which, to me, gives credibility to the time period in which she writes. The dialogue is easy, not cumbersome, except for a few out-of-place descriptive passages which I thought a person might not ordinarily say in regular conversation. But, then again, sometimes we read with a more modern eye. I think of this book as a meandering river, flowing along with Will and Helena’s relationship as their characters develop over the course of the book – a comfortable alliance becoming a very sweet romance. The title is perfect in that respect! Along with the historical backdrop, which Ms Kullman portrays with great skill, this book is a great read for anyone wanting a well-told Regency story. Very recommended!!
Was this review helpful?
This was my first Catherine Kullmann book -- but it won't be the last.  I very much liked the "slow burn" of the developing feelings of the H and h.  I did find the h's reluctance to wed for her particular reason a bit weak, but her doubts were ultimately overcome by her strong feelings for the H, so I will give a pass on that rather contrived excuse for angst.  There was some sex after marriage, though not too lurid and sensitively presented,  All in all, if you're looking for character development along with relationship development and you're NOT looking for love mostly as a result of physical attraction on as illustrated in major "steamy" hot sex scenes, then I think this is a book you will enjoy.  I am definitely going to look for some more books by this author because I appreciate the way she builds characters, motives, growing emotional attraction (in addition to physical attraction), and a good story line.  These are the mainstays for me in a good historical romance, and this books checks all my boxes.  #NetGalley #AComfortableAlliance  Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
It wasn't bad, but I didn't fall in love with it at any point. Glad I read it, probably won't re-read.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars 

I wil begin by thanking NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity given to read "A Comfortable Alliance".

We follow Helena Swift, as she gets a second chance at happiness after har late fiance death due to injuries sustained at Waterloo. That chance takes the form of William Hall, Earl of Rastleigh, a man set to marry for duty above other reasons. 

I must say that I enjoyed reading this book very much. We have likable characters, a well developed and researched setting and lots of important disscusions around women's rights in that time period.

As per usual, I will start with the pozitive. I feel that Helena has a complete description in regards to personality, beliefs, emotions and values, as well as "flaws". Although she tends to be on the perfect side, due to her past tragedy and her strong standing with Will and other characters, I'm inclined to very much like and understand her.
Moving on from the character, to the disccusions, I appreciated the depiction of life for a wife in that time. Many authors shy away from writing past the "happy ending" and I'm glad Catherine Kullmann didn't. She put on page things like power dynamics between married couples and differences in rights for young unmarried ladies in contrast to married ones; things like money and management of property between men and women are overtly brought up; and also we see a little bit of blacklash on wars for glory and colonialism.
Another good point in my book is for the New Year scene...really beautiful in both imagery and in showing both protagonists as a mature couple. 
Speaking about mature, YES, we have a MATURE COUPLE that talk...and comunicate...and solve issues together!
Side note: the depiction of the couple is one of the best in my opinion in regards to historical romance novels. We have a quiet sort of strength in Helena that makes itself known and respected, without unrealistically ruling over her husband. We have a cold Earl that is for the first time exposed to a new side of the problem( a woman's point of view in society) without having to be emasculated or shamed for simply not thinking/seeing it.

Now, for the less good parts, I will start with the obvious one: lack of chemistry between the main protagonists. This is subjective and it may not be a problem for some readers, and definitely it doesn't have such a great impact that it takes you out of the story...in fact..only towards the last 20% I felt this.(mainly due to some plot points).
Moving to the plot...we have the major negative here...the author tried to encompass a lot of action in order to present Helena's ascent to her new status as believable as possible. This coupled with the easy way in which most of these are resolved does has an impact on overall enjoyment. :(
I appreciated the comunication in the couple, but lack of disputes is pretty much unheard of in a marriage.
 Towards the end, the book got better at these things, and highlighted another strong point(the subtle way in which a scandal can be resolved in a historical romance...because, lets be real..loud declarations or another scandalous event/action is less likely to solve the current issue), but it still left me wanting more internal drama...that's it! 
Internal struggle is almost missing from main characters! We need to see more of a battle with oneself when it comes to change. Helena had plent of reasons for that, but she was never showed having insecurities, second-guessing decisions or any kind of fear when a "country" lady takes such a big jump.I believe this will be the major turn-off along with the constant serene disposition from Will. He is a borderline yes-man.

But this are flaws in my eyes, and other may not see them as I do.
I  recommend this book to readers in search of a drama-free historical romance with great comentary regarding women and marriage in that period.

Enjoy!
Was this review helpful?
This easy read narrates the courtship and early years of marriage between Will, Earl of Rastleigh, and Helen Swift. Both have to overcome their emotional scars to develop a better and deeper relationship. The plot is unsurprising and the characters could be better developed. Otherwise, an ok beach read.
Was this review helpful?
I really wish that authors would understand the concept that sometimes? Less really is more. 

That is really the main issue that I have with this story. There was so much detail that I just... got bored and stopped caring. 

Don't get me wrong, I know there are people who are going to love this novel because of the detail the author included (and they definitely had a strong writing style), but for me things became so bogged down that I struggled to keep reading. I don't care that she got a new horse, therefore I don't need three pages of details about it. Just like I didn't need two chapters dedicated to the firing of his butler and housekeeper (although seriously how what they were up to escaped the notice of people is beyond me even with the author explicitly saying that Will wasn't usually "in residence" there. What they did went above and beyond). 

Yes, there were the occasional burst of "the unexpected" and there moments where the story seemed to pick up, only to slow down again. Sadly, the good wasn't enough for me to say that I enjoyed this story, even though I know others will. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
Was this review helpful?
3.5⭐'s

This was a very big H historical romance. I love marriage of convenience romance, more so historical than contemporary. It seems like a well worn trope, but when you love it, you love it. Mary Balogh is my Queen of the MOC, but others do it well. Louise Allen, sometimes Georgie Lee, of course we can't forget Lisa Kleypas. Meredith Duran, Lucinda Brandt and a few others that are hit or miss.  My point being, it's a well worn trope. It seems like authors are trying to create more elaborate, more unique ~ unbelievable ~ scenarios than ever. This was a long winded way of saying that this moc tale was just that, a moc tale. Well written (although it took me a bit to get used to the authors rhythm) enough for me to get lost in it for a couple of hours. But more importantly, there were no "independent" "fiery" lasses. The historical equivalent of the "speshul" snowflake.. I"m getting tired of "moc" & "quotes", so I'm going to wrap this up; if you like this trope done traditionally, this is good. Probably could've just written that sentence and saved myself a lot of typing.

ARC/Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book! I received, A Comfortable Alliance, as an ARC through Netgalley.  I requested it because the plot was interesting, but since I had just finished reading one of the best books I have ever read, I approached this with reservations. In spite of that, I found the book so well written and sweet, that I want to read it again—immediately!

The plot contains the sweetest romance I have read in a long time with a hero, Will, the Earl of Rastleigh and heroine, Helena Swift, who are not only likable, but also admirable. Their evolving love story shows them overcoming past heartaches and loneliness. Their characters were so fully drawn and their dialogue so natural that I could picture perfectly. I loved the way that they did not “write off” family and friends who were either weak or lacking in character. In spite of the fact that they were self sufficient in their own company, they allowed others into their lives and helped them become better people--Will and Helena were truly good!

The plot has something for everyone: famous historical events, romance, mystery, and human drama. It was absolutely fascinating! Historical events such as, the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, the Battle of Waterloo, and King George IV’s coronation were included. Contemporary historical issues of the day were touched upon: the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and the Irish question among others. But none of these were boring in any way. Catherine Kullmann has done such a wonderful job of researching this era that her seamless writing enriched the story and gave it authenticity.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was and I’m so happy that I “discovered“ Catherine Kullmann.

#AComfortableAlliance #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
A COMFORTABLE ALLIANCE by KATHERINE KULLMAN is a most enjoyable historical romance novel which takes place in England in the 1830's, after the end of the Napoleonic war. I enjoy the whole society scene, together with the scandal mongers and self important members of the "ton", who contrast well with the more sincere members of society.
When Will, Earl of Rastleigh, meets and marries Miss Helena Swift it is seen by them both as a comfortable alliance. Will they every go from being good friends to loving one another?
I will leave things there as I do not want to spoil the read for you.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from BooksGoSocial. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
A Comfortable Alliance by Catherine Kullmann. BooksGoSocial, 2021.

This engaging new regency romance is the story of when Will met Helena.   Will is the very appealing and long sought-after Earl of Rastleigh, looking for an attractive intelligent wife.  Young, intelligent, and attractive Helena has not thought about wanting a husband since the man she intended to marry succumbed to injuries sustained at Waterloo.  When Will meets Helena, he realizes she is exactly what he wants, so he sets out to make her his wife and the mother of his children.  Neither is looking for romantic love.

As I’ve found with Kullmann’s other books, this is a positive, well written, easy to read story with historical facts to enjoy and enough background detail provided on characters and situations to make the story flow. My only distraction was that Helena, with her obvious intelligence, took six years to question whether she wants to live with her mother and play with her brother’s children for the rest of her life.  Otherwise, the main and supporting characters are kind, believable, behave consistently and are easy to like.  

A Comfortable Alliance is as comfortable to read, as warm and captivating as a wood-burning fireplace on a cold winter night. I read until I finished it, and warmly recommend it.  I would give it 4.7 stars if I could.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of A Comfortable Alliance for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.   #AComfortableAlliance #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
A lovely novel with a surprising flow. The timeline is perhaps unexpected, mainly because it really begins at the start of a marriage instead of ending at one. It’s unusual timeline makes it’s very promising. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
4 stars

A sweet, quiet, charming story of love & family. 

[What I liked:]

•I really like the characters! Helena & Will especially. I liked seeing them grow as people & as a couple. I enjoyed seeing them work through their fears & flaws, & seeing them enjoy life together.

•The writing gives such nice details of nature, setting, fashion, political events, manners, social expectations, etc. It really felt like reading a Regency story, rather than just a vaguely historical one.

•It was extremely refreshing to read a book that had depth of emotion, but wasn’t full of extreme danger or hate or fear or betrayal. I do like those books too, but it’s nice to find a quiet read sometimes & this hit the spot!


[What I didn’t like as much:]

•Occasionally the dialogue is clunky, full of all sorts of background details that seem out of place In everyday conversation. For example, at one point Will is telling Helena about his childhood. He says his mother remarried in 1803, & then gives all these details about his step father’s estate. Maybe that’s how people talked back then? It just felt odd to specify the exact year, rather than say, “when I was ten”, or just not be so exact, or what have you.

•The plot is meandering, which I think works for this book, but if you’re used to a very straightforward & tight plot you may not like the approach. What I mean is, there are small scandals & domestic disputes that give the narrative conflict, but these are more explored in terms of how they shape Will & Helena’s growing relationship (which I think works well!). There is no grand, over arching danger or threat; no external tension runs throughout the entire story. So don’t expect that, & perhaps you won’t even miss it.

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
Was this review helpful?