Earl Grafton and the Traitor by Angela Johnson

Earl Grafton and the Traitor (Fernley Family A Regency-Era Romance)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Fernley Family #1
Publication Date: 4/1/22
Period: Regency
Number of Pages: 244

What a delightful surprise! I was about halfway through another book that was becoming more and more belabored and decided I needed a break from it. I went to Amazon to browse and something about this book’s description caught my attention. I purchased it and read it all in one day. I will admit that part of its appeal was the two protagonists dealing with grief and loss within their families as I am in that same process.

I don’t remember whether the book blurb tells you or not, but this is a very clean book – not even a kiss until almost the end. However, for some reason, that just seems exactly right for this book, this story, and these protagonists. Both lead characters had recently lost parents and it had left them lost, floundering, and unsure of themselves, the world, and their place in it. Their initial meeting went badly and both of them had their hackles raised with each other from that point forward. Baxter quickly learned Briar was appropriately named as she was very prickly and easily vexed – at least by him.

American Briar Kensington lost her whole world when her parents died. She was passed from uncaring distant relative to uncaring distant relative until her British grandfather could make arrangements for her to come to England and live with him. Now, deeply mourning and in a strange country, she has no idea how to fit into this new life. The rules of English society make no sense to her as they seem to value propriety above all else. So, when she literally runs into a man on a path she believes is on her grandfather’s property – and he refuses to give his name because they have not been introduced – and then proceeds to denigrate her being American – she takes an intense dislike to him. She fumes at what a lout he is!

Baxter Fernley, the Earl of Grafton, is still reeling from the sudden loss of his father. His father was everything that was good, decent, proper, and wise, and now Baxter has to step into those shoes. How can he do it? He spent his life at his father’s side learning to be the earl, but learning and observing are a far cry from being the earl. The responsibility for the earldom, his six brothers, and his mother sits heavily on his shoulders. So, when a hoydenish American literally runs into him and she ends up sitting in a mud puddle, his temper flares. How dare she be on his property, especially so dirty and unkempt. Her manners – goodness – how can she be so forward? She demanded to know his name though they’d never been introduced.

Every time Baxter and Briar are near each other, the tempers flare, and unkind words are hurled like spears into battle. Yet, beneath those tempers, there are kindred spirits that recognize each other and pull toward each other. It was delightful to watch these two battle it out until they each finally had the grand epiphany that they actually enjoyed those battles and they cared for each other.

I really enjoyed this read and this new-to-me author. The writing was good, the plot flowed well, and the characters were very relatable. I would assume there will be six more books in the series since there are six more brothers to marry. I suppose there could be seven should the author decide to provide a romance for Gigi, the mother of all those boys. Should you choose to read the book, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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