MORE to BROWSE - Pages that might be of Interest

Tuesday 5 September 2023

My Coffee Pot Guest: Catherine Kullmann - The Husband Criteria

The Lorings, Book #3 (standalone)

Welcome to my Blog!
Wander through worlds
real and fictional,
meet interesting people,
visit exciting places
and find good books
to enjoy along the way!

About the Book

Book Title: The Husband Criteria

Series:  The Lorings, Book #3

Author: Catherine Kullmann

Publication Date: 24 August 2023

Publisher: Willow Books

Page Length: 297

Genre: Historical Romance / Regency Romance

London 1817

The primary aim of every young lady embarking on the Spring frenzy that is the Season must be to make a good match. Or must it? And what is a good match? For cousins Cynthia, Chloe and Ann, well aware that the society preux chevalier may prove to be a domestic tyrant, these are vital questions. How can they discover their suitors’ true character when all their encounters must be confined to the highly ritualised round of balls, parties and drives in the park?

As they define and refine their Husband Criteria, Cynthia finds herself unwillingly attracted to aloof Rafe Marfield, heir to an earldom, while Chloe is pleased to find that Thomas Musgrave, the vicar’s son from home, is also in London. And Ann must decide what is more important to her, music or marriage.

And what of the gentlemen who consider the marriage mart to be their hunting grounds? How will they react if they realise how rigorously they are being assessed?

A light-hearted, entertaining look behind the scenes of a Season that takes a different course with unexpected consequences for all concerned.

Lord and Lady Caher and their Swiss Cottage Orné

Returning from Kerry to Dublin some years ago, we detoured to visit the Swiss Cottage in Cahir, Co. Tipperary. I had always known of this Regency cottage orné or ornamental cottage, but only then did I hear the fascinating story of the builders of the cottage, Richard, 10th Lord Caher and his wife Emily.

On 10 June 1788, Pierce Butler, 8th Baron Caher of the second creation, died in Paris without male issue. He had succeeded his brother only two years previously and next in line to inherit was their second cousin James. The impoverished James died a month later in the East Indies, most likely unaware that he had come into a peerage and a sizeable estate while his wife, daughter and twelve-year old son lived in abject poverty in Ireland.

Other family members got wind of Pierce’s death and, as graphically recounted by Dorothea Herbert in her Retrospections, these Expectants ………..had them [the children] kidnapt and Secretly convey’d to France where they were reared in miserable poverty, presumably in the hope that in the absence of the rightful heir, these others would be able to draw on the estate's funds. Enter a Dea ex Machina in the person of one Mrs Jefferies who heard the story at an inn in Cahir. She appealed to her brother, the Lord Chancellor for Ireland, on behalf on the distraught mother. His lordship procured Warrants for bringing the children over and Mrs Jefferies went herself to France, where her daughter was in a convent. She managed to track down the missing children and assumed their guardianship.

In an obituary in 1815, The Gentleman’s Magazine describes her as a lady of strong natural endowments, of an enterprising and indefatigable spirit. This was manifested in the zeal with which she travelled through France in search of the present Lord Cahir, whom she restored to his titles and estates on the death of Pearce, the late Lord in the year 1788. His Lordship was then in his thirteenth year; and in five years afterwards Mrs Jeffries [sic] had the pleasure of uniting him to her youngest daughter Miss Emily Jeffries, the present Lady Cahir. According to Dorothea Herbert, The Chancellor… threatened to imprison his Sister and Niece for inveigling the young Heir but apparently Mr Jefferies was able to save his wife and daughter from this fate.

The young couple returned to Ireland where they played a prominent part in the social life of the day. Dorothea describes a most flaming Fête Champêtre at Caher at which she danced with his Lordship and Lady Caher danced an Irish jig in her Stockings to the Musick of an old, blind piper.

Not content with the ancestral home of Cahir Castle, an imposing medieval structure on a rocky island in the River Suir in the middle of Cahir town, and the more modern Cahir House, built in the 1770s some one hundred and sixty metres away from the castle, Lord and Lady Caher decided they needed somewhere they could spend time in rustic simplicity. They chose a site about two kilometres from the Castle, above the River Suir and surrounded by wooded slopes. In order to ensure the necessary solitude, they first had the land cleared of existing buildings, including an old Quaker residence. Now, beside a yew (seen on the right of the picture below) that was at least eight hundred years old, they had the perfect spot for their ornamental cottage.

Such picturesque rural retreats were highly popular in Ireland and England at the turn of the nineteenth century. Drawing both on the French ferme-ornée and the new taste for the picturesque and wild in nature for inspiration, they offered a retreat from civilisation and an opportunity to savour the joys of nature. The Cahers’s cottage, now known as the Swiss Cottage, the nickname given to it by the locals, is one of the best surviving examples of a cottage orné. Traditionally, the design is ascribed to John Nash, of Royal Pavilion in Brighton fame but, although he was working in Ireland at the time when it was built, there is nothing to confirm his involvement with the project.

Deliberately asymmetrical and artfully unpolished, the cottage seems to have ‘growed’ like Topsy over decades if not centuries, becoming one with the landscape. It has two stories, each with two rooms, linked by a central hall with a wooden spiral staircase. On the ground floor, French doors open onto the veranda that runs all around the house while upstairs, the two bedrooms open onto balconies. All the rooms are light and airy. The thatched roof is a fascinating mixture of steep slopes and swooping, rounded eaves. Balcony and veranda supports are made from natural tree-trunks and wreathed by climbing plants.

By the 1980s, the cottage was completely dilapidated. It was taken over by the Office of Public Works, and with the very generous support of the Port Royal foundation, a complete restoration was undertaken between 1985 and 1989. Very little remained of the original decoration and furnishings. Among the survivors were enough of two Dufour wallpapers, Monuments de Paris and Rives du Bosphore or Banks of the Bosporus, a charming panorama of Turkish men and women set against a backdrop of minarets, onion domes and pointed arches, that it was possible to have them restored and the missing sections copied.

According to our guide, the Cahers never stayed overnight, but used the cottage as a daytime retreat, returning to Caher House to sleep. The idealised peasant existence required invisible helping hands. Visitors today approach the cottage via a flight of stone steps that leads to a door set under a rough stone arch that is crowned by a sculpture of a strange two-tailed animal. 

The door opens on to a tunnel that ends in the basement of the building at what is now the reception for visitors. This was the servants’ entrance and here were the kitchen and other offices, out-of-sight but linked by the back stairs to the ground floor where a jib door leads into the hall proper.

© Catherine Kullmann 2023

Buy Links:

Universal Link:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

About the Author

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.

She is the author of The Murmur of Masks, Perception & Illusion, A Suggestion of Scandal, The Duke’s Regret, The Potential for Love, A Comfortable Alliance and Lady Loring’s Dilemma.

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.

Follow the Tour

Twitter Handle:  @CKullmmannauthor @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle:  @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags:   #RegencyRomance #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Link:

*** *** 

You might also like 

books written by Helen Hollick 


Amazon Author Page: 

The Jan Christopher Cosy Mysteries
set in the 1970s

* * *
The Pendragon's Banner Trilogy

 The Boy Who became a Man:
Who became a King:
Who became a Legend... KING ARTHUR

There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot.
Instead, the man who became our most enduring hero.

New Editions available worldwide 
(except USA/Canada)

Available USA/Canada 

Amazon: FREE ebook!

~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


  1. Thanks so much for hosting Catherine Kullmann with such a fascinating post, Helen. Much appreciated.

    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post your comment for you. That said ...SPAMMERS or rudeness will be composted or turned into toads.