The American Earl
Julia Marshall is the daughter of the Earl of Althorpe. One morning, she was taking a walk in the garden when she discovered her father’s body with his face blown off. What a horrible thing for a young girl of eighteen to see! She now had the burden of the house and the impoverished estate of Stoverton on her young shoulders as well as the future of her younger sister to worry about.
While Julia is struggling to make ends meet at Stoverton, the new earl has been informed of his fortune. He is an American from Salem and is enormously wealthy, but his wealth comes from a vast shipping business. To him, the earldom is a burden he doesn’t want, and he is reluctant to leave his business to travel all the way to England. Likewise, Julia can’t believe an American will be able to appreciate the responsibilities and duties that go with an earldom.
Joan Wolf does people so well. It is what I enjoy most about her stories. I love how Julia and Evan come to understand each other’s lives and cultures and what is important to each of them and why. It’s wonderful to see how they come to care for each other as their understanding of each other grows.
And through it all, Evan struggles to decide what to do with the earldom he has inherited. Should he stay in England, steeped in old-fashioned rules and strictures and a societal code that is at odds with his upbringing? Or should he become an absentee landlord and return to his shipping business in Salem? And what does Julia mean to him? And what does he mean to her? Will his sacrificing his life in America be worth it? Wolf’s characters always have genuine dilemmas to work through; they’re never manufactured conflicts and thus are very enjoyable to read about.
I’m very glad Wolf is writing traditional Regencies again. I look forward to reading her other new stories.