ABOUT THE BOOK
As the middle—and least marriageable—sister in a bevy of swans, Lavinia Wynnburn is quite content being the odd duck out. This way, she’s free to commit social faux pas without anyone much noticing. Until the Duke of Beaubrooke turns up the morning after a ball, asking for her hand in marriage.
Alexander Reddington doesn’t particularly care for social niceties, nor is he particularly good at them. But now that the spare has become the heir, he must marry…and soon. When he stumbles into the same corner as a socially awkward wallflower, he knows he’s found the perfect wife: one who won’t bother him to attend every simpering event of the season.
Only, Alexander’s shy and pretty new wife is finding her new position surprisingly exciting and keeps accepting every invitation that flutters past their door. And worse luck, he might even be falling for her. Now he must hide the truth about why he really proposed…before his unexpectedly happy marriage is dashed to pieces.
Four Weddings and a Duke is a standalone read told from dual perspectives. It starts with a meet-cute at a wedding between two unconventional non-conformists who abhor big gatherings and enjoy their quiet time. That is all about to change. The story is located mostly in London where the season is filled with weddings and balls and newlyweds and academics on the brink of discovery.
The book follows an arranged marriage between the myopic and unusual middle sister Lavinia Wynnburn who prefers her books over balls, and the reclusive, academically-inclined Alexander Reddington, Duke of Beaubrooke, who would much rather be in his greenhouse studying his plant research than overseeing his estate and being seen in society. The arranged marriage between the two families is unique in that Alex was given a choice between three Wynnburn sisters–two more suited to the role of Duchess, and Lavinia, who should have paid attention to society’s rules more closely. With no time to spare and weighing the personalities of Lavinia and her sisters, Alex chose her for her sense of humor, her honesty, her intellect, and her acceptance of his life pursuits. Yes, she would do just fine. “She may not be what the Duke of Beaubrooke needed, but she could be what he, Alex, needed.” And he needed her more than he knew.
After the shock of the Duke announcing his choice of bride, her family, and the ton welcomed her in her new role with open arms and catty gossip. She started to revel in the balls and social gatherings and knew that Alex would not be a willing participant, but it was becoming a problem with her husband’s disappearance to pursue his research. She wanted him to notice her as she did him, to stand beside her as she supported his research, to recognize her significance as a woman and a wife, but the day of his special birthday party broke her heart. She understood why he had to leave, but nonetheless, she was hurt and ridiculed by her so-called friends saying she couldn’t keep her new husband’s interest long enough to have him attend his own birthday party. Where had she gone wrong? Did she make a mistake in marrying this man who thought so little of her?
I delighted in the instant connection between Lavinia and Alex. Their interests and personalities are similar. Unfortunately, that includes their lack of communication which leads to suspicion and doubts. Lavinia is strong but she has a problem expressing her feelings to Alex sometimes. She is so kind and giving to the people she loves. Lavinia has been ignored in her family all her life and I loved that Alex noticed that at first. Working around academics for years, I understand his work ethic and drive to win a grant to pursue his lifelong dream in the field of botany. But it comes at a price to his growing relationship with Lavinia. Alex seems a bit stuffy, but he has a tendency to pop a joke or give a half smile that shows his playful side. Alex and Lavinia’s passion is beautiful and secure as they get to know each other intimately. However, as we know, other outside influences can hinder and ruin relationships. Because they are newlyweds with societal responsibilities as well, it is a struggle to balance their lives. Communication breaks down, rumors start to fly, trust starts to falter, and unfounded accusations are thrown. Just when everything looks bleak, Alex comes through with one of the most heartfelt apologies and grand gestures I’ve seen in a long time. Yes, tears formed and my heart melted.
My favorite supporting character is Nigel, Lavinia’s ornery childhood friend, and Alex’s school nemesis. I adored how he stuck up for Lavinia and set Alex straight. His playful ribbing of Alex is funny and he turns out to be a good friend in the end.
I highly recommend this delightfully funny historical romance with a lesson in communication and understanding and making the little choices count. The characters are entertaining and I found Alex’s research on plant grafting interesting.
Thank you to Ms. McLean for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and loves her romance with a touch of suspenseful mystery. She resides in PA with her husband and two amazing children.