Four Weddings and a Duke by Michelle McLean

Four Weddings and a DukeFour Weddings and a Duke by Michelle McLean

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Alexander Reddington never expected to be the Duke of Beaubrooke, he was born the second son and had dedicated his life to botany – specifically grafting to create hybrid plants. But when his father and brother die close to one another, Alex finds himself the new duke with a host of obligations and duties he never planned for, especially marriage. But a promise is a promise and while attending the wedding of his cousin, he is to make the acquaintance of the Wynnburn sisters and choose one to be his bride, but it is the woman hiding in the back of the church reading that piques his interest when they chat. But it isn’t until the next day that he learns his wallflower is the middle Wynnburn sister, making his decision much easier. She is perfect for him, she is smart, and pretty and hates the social whirl as much as he does, so she will not expect him to socialize, leaving him with plenty of time to prepare his research for the Royal Society, what more could he want?

Lady Lavinia Wynnburn is the middle child of the Earl and Countess of Abberforth, she is often overlooked and feels lacking when compared to her two sisters Harriet and Kitty, who are both lovely and socially sophisticated, while Livy never feels like she fits in. She too is surprised to learn that the mystery man she met at the wedding is the duke and hides during the wedding ball. She is joined by her dearest friend and pseudo-brother Lord Nigel Bainbridge, who has known Alex for years and shares his interest in botany, they are rivals of a sort, but more like frenemies. Livy is thrilled when Alex wants to marry her, and for a while, it seems like they are well on their way to a love match, but obligations, expectations, and assumptions halt their HEA before it even begins. Can they find their way back to each other or will theirs just be another society marriage in name only?

What a delightful read, I found this story to be not only well-written and nicely paced, but the story felt original and fresh, even though it utilizes more than one commonly used HR trope. I really liked Livy and Alex and was frustrated for them each time they wronged each other, it was obvious to me that they were “meant to be” which made their setbacks a bit heartbreaking. The story has so much going on, a former wallflower finding her stride, a brilliant botanist, steamyish love scenes, great secondary characters, lots of plants, careless words, hurt feelings, grand gestures, collaboration with the “enemy”, and finally a hard-won HEA. I don’t know if this book is the start of new series or a standalone title – I am hoping it is the beginning of a new series, because there are several characters that I would love to see get their own HEAs. In any event, this is a fun story that I am happy to recommend!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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