One Wedding and an Earl
by Tracy Sumner
“One Wedding and an Earl” is an emotional, beautifully written historical romance by Tracy Sumner. It’s the fourth book in ‘The Duchess Society’ series but can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story. I do think you may understand some of the subtext more quickly if you’re familiar with other books in the series, but the author provides enough information that it’s really not necessary.
Oliver is the Earl of Stanford, an old and noble title that brings him no joy. From an unhappy childhood to the nightmare of war and the aftermath that nearly destroyed him, the physical scar he bears is just an outward sign of his tormented inner self. His illegitimate half-brother and the wild friend group Oliver has gained through him are loyal, but his life is still empty.
Necessity is her name, but creating magnificent gardens is her passion. She grew up in the slums, on her own since she was 12, but she nurtured her dreams despite it all. As a young adult, Necessity was working as a gardener in a home where Oliver was recuperating from an injury. She used her extensive knowledge of plants and herbs to help him physically heal. In the years since, she’s built a name for herself as a landscape designer. Now, she’s been sent by somebody close to him to get the extensive landscape surrounding Oliver’s ancestral estate in order again after decades of neglect.
Neither Oliver nor Necessity want a relationship, and yet the chemistry that consistently sparks between them is impossible to ignore. This is a romance novel, so you know where it’s going to ultimately end up, but the emotional journey of these two characters is simultaneously heart-wrenching and exhilarating. They each must overcome so much personal pain, plus the massive social divide between them in a time and place when a lofty aristocrat and a girl from the slums could never be together. There are moments when you might want to reach into the book and shake either or both of them, and other times you’d like to hug them. If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll recognize many of the secondary characters. It’s okay if you don’t know them yet because you’ll get to know them somewhat in the story, and they provide wonderful lighthearted moments to balance out the emotional struggles of Oliver and Necessity. This has been such a great series! I’m looking forward to the next book, the story of which has already been strongly hinted at within this one and sounds fantastic.