Title: A Duke, the Lady and a Baby
Author: Vanessa Riley
Published: June 2020
Publisher: Kensington Books (Zebra)
Genre: Historical Romance
I received a copy of A Duke, the Lady and a Baby from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Created by a shrewd countess, The Widow’s Grace is a secret society with a mission: to help ill-treated widows regain their status, their families, and even find true love again—or perhaps for the very first time . . .
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .
A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?
2020 has been the year in which I have discovered a love of historical romance novels and ever since I got myself hooked on them I’ve been on the look out for new authors to try and I’m very glad that I gave Vanessa Riley a shot.
A Duke, the Lady and a Baby is the first book in the Rogues and Remarkable Women series by Riley, and follows Patience, a West Indian heiress, who’s husband has recently died, leaving her widowed with a newborn son. To make matters worse, she’s committed to an asylum and separated from her son, only to be rescued by The Widow’s Grace, a group of women out to assist widows in reclaiming what they’ve lost. For Patience, that’s her son, and she’s out to rescue him when his new guardian, the Duke of Repington comes into the picture and hires Patience as the new wet nurse. Repington is a military man, through and through, and lives his life by rules and expectations – which Patience has every intention of shattering. They begin to form a mutual trust, each recognising the other holds secrets, against a common enemy.
This was a fun story to read. Admittedly, it took a few chapters to get a good sense of what was happening – Riley throws us into the middle of Patience’s story, after she has been rescued from the asylum, and we uncover the backstory from there – but once I had pieced it all together I was hooked.
Patience is a strong, female character with one goal in mind: to be reunited with her son. She’s willing to do anything to achieve her goal and that’s admirable. And while she has an initial dislike of Repington, she begins to realise that there’s more to this man who has inherited her late husband’s estate than meets the eye and that underneath his rigid, military exterior, there’s a lot more going on.
Repington realises right away that something doesn’t sit right with Patience’s story, and is concerned that she’s there to steal the child (not realising that it’s her son), and tries to figure her out. She, meanwhile, shatters all of his rules and forces him to confront some truths about himself.
I did feel there were some pacing issues, but nothing so bad that it made the story unreadable. Being the first book in a new series, I figured that we were setting up time and place and a collection of side characters that we would eventually revisit in later books.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I would definitely consider picking up future books (or backlist titles) by Riley.