Cover Image: A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

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I dnf this book. I tried to read it 3 different times to give it a fair chance. But each time I tried to read the book I couldn't get further then 10% in. I just wasn't interested at all.
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Not your average romance. The duke and the lady are very interesting characters in themselves--not stock characters, and the challenges they face in trusting each other and taking care of the baby are charming.
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This is an fun and unconventional Regency romance, featuring a feisty widow determined to get her child back and a disabled war veteran, Buswick Strathmore Duke of Repington. Patience is committed to a mental asylum by a man determined to steal her son's inheritance, and after release, goes to any lengths to be reunited with her child. We meet her climbing out of a window dressed as a man. 

Although Patience seems strong, she is haunted by her late husband's apparent suicide, which she believes was her fault. Determining only to take her son back with her to the land of her birth, she ends up meeting with a group of widows fighting for their rights, and becomes a nanny to her own child who is now in the care of a distant cousin. 

The novel then develops into a marriage of convenience story, but you can tell by that time the hero and heroine have developed genuine feelings for one another. Buswick fell in love with the woman he believed to be the outspoken nanny of his young charge (even if she was a little crazy). Patience is mistrustful of most Englishmen, especially the mysterious nobleman who is out to get her. 
Yet she finds Buswick to be an honourable and virtuous man, in spite of his previous reputation as a rake, and one who cares deeply for her child. 

A Duke, a Lady and Baby was an enjoyable read exploring the lives of some rather ignored and marginalized groups in 19th century society, including people of biracial heritage. 
Although the author is better known for her Inspirational works, this is from a general market publisher, and is really a general market title. As such it gets a little steamy in a couple of places. 

Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read an ARC of this title. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
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Overall a good book! I was engaged in the story enough but it wasn’t like I was addicted to it. The writing was okay, it wasn’t the style I normally like but it was still good.
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Loved the premise and the inclusion of a WOC, which is something rarely done in a Regency romance. I was definitely intrigued by this book.

I enjoyed the mystery part, the secret society helping widows and some other areas but the romance just didn't jive with me.

I may read the second book only because I want to know what happens with those characters.
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I really tried to like this book but wasn't able to be engrossed in the romance and hap-dash historical setting. The almost insta-love and the POVs required a whole lot of suspension of disbelief. Similarly, whilst I love whimsical, sappy romances, the novel sadly fell short in both, the romantic plot direction and lush writing. I was really looking forward to liking this and definitely feel that readers looking for a sweet, quick romantic read in between a break would really like this.
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Found this book to be all over the place, and I had trouble following right from the start - as if the read expected me to know who was who and what had already happened without going into any detail at all. A case of trying to keep it all mysterious, but it just ended up making it incomprehensible for me. Then the POV changes throughout further threw me for a loop., All in all, not an interesting read and it did not catch my attention at all, unfortunately
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I enjoyed Vanessa Riley’s A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby a lot. It’s an engrossing, evocatively written, and highly original story. I loved both of the main characters: Patience Jordan, the displaced mother driven to desperation after being separated from her son, and Busick Strathmore, her husband’s cousin, the wounded warrior determined to do right by his new ward. I understood Patience’s motivation and her deception. She’s a mixed-race colored woman in England in 1814, a widow with little to no social standing or access to her rightful inheritance. 

Of course she isn’t going to trust a new authority figure after the first guardian threw her in Bedlam in the wake of her husband’s death, and after she’s experienced years of social rejection from her husband’s family and the ton. These are people all too happy to benefit from her father’s money but loathe to condescend to accept Patience as anything near their social equal. This hypocritical duality of status is found in history and was also manifest in the character of Miss Lambe in Jane Austen's Sanditon. It makes perfect sense for someone with as little choice and social capital as Patience to masquerade as her son’s new nanny. That’s the position white people in England expect her to occupy. And she is both tender and fierce in how she goes about her mission. 

I also loved a lot of the writing. It’s playful and detailed. We get Patience’s perspective in first person but see Busick’s side of the story through third person omniscient narration. Honestly the shift is an issue for some, but it didn’t bother me at all. I liked being able to see Busick with his friend and his troops, scenes we needed to play out on his own without Patience. They could have been delivered in first person as well but we do still get a strong sense of his inner thoughts nonetheless. 

There’s also a surprising amount of wit and wisdom about the state of the world throughout this novel. The subject matter is heavy, but it never weighs things down. Patience wants to find her trust papers, regain custody of her son, and also to find out more about the he circumstances of her husband’s death. That creates a great deal of suspense. 

For me the romance and the mystery worked really well together in the narrative. There are few circumstances more realistically designed to push two so different people together and at the same time keep them apart. 

This is one of my favorite scenes, Patience contemplating her options for escape the night she breaks in to feed her son and finds her usual means of egress closed off. 

<blockquote>Three stories up. What to do? 
Break the glass and be caught? Bedlam. 
Stay here and be caught in the morning’s light? Bedlam. 
Jump and be caught dead? The notion deserved Bedlam. Wait for the ghost of my dream or one of Hamlin Hall’s to come and float me down? Yes, Bedlam again.

I love this section because it captures the precariousness of the situation in a nutshell and Patience’s voice and intelligence as well. And then this paragraph just after clarifies the challenge even more. Telling us who Patience really is, her state of mind, and who and what she’s up against:
If my mother were alive, she’d put a root on Markham so that bad luck would be his and only his. 
But West Indian magic nonsense was as bad as English ghost lore, and none of it could explain why Markham kept winning—he had my house, my son, my dignity.

I also loved this scene for how it establishes so indelibly Patience’s love for her son:

Hand over hand, toehold after toehold, I lowered myself until one boot hit the ground and then the other. I drew my arms about me and made sure my heart was still inside my ribs. 
But it wasn’t. 
It was in a dingy crib, three stories up.</blockquote>

That writing is vivid and urgent, with a poetic rhythm. That’s a also a good representation of what to expect throughout. This is closed door romantic suspense deeply steeped in the social history of the Regency era, the ugliness so many historicals work so hard to ignore. And yet it also tells a lovely story of two people falling in love with each other and a man falling in love and coming to terms with fatherhood and a new life. That’s not a typical story for the genre. But it is a compelling one.
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The first book of the Rouges and Remarkable Women series, Vanessa Riley pens a sexy and barrier busting historical romance that will leave you drinking a whole lot of coffee the next day because you're not gonna get any sleep once you start this book. 

When the story's about a woman who's willing to risk everything to save her child and her status also finds a man who passionately loves her for the incredible woman she is, I'm done and Vanessa did not disappoint.

Truly loved this book. 

Can't wait for the next one to come out in 2021. 

*I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
Thank you Zebra Publishing.
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I greatly disliked this book. I had such a struggle with the writing style, the plot, the characters, etc. I DNF'ed at 22%.
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I read a lot of historical romance and finding books with POC main characters is not easy so when I come across one I can’t help but to read it. Which is in fact how I came across this author previously so I was already familiar with her work and the premise of this book sounded rather interesting and I’m a bit of a sucker for a mother that would go through so much and be willing to do be with her child. Nothing is ever easy of course least of all love but it was a very interesting story that I enjoyed.
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Thank you to the publishers  for this ARC. 
I expected a little more out of this story but all in all in was a cute fun read.
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I had high hopes for this book but unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. The story was too insta-love for my tastes and really killed any anticipation and excitement I had for their romance growing and progressing. The first person POV was interesting to see in historical romance. In fact, I have not seen that done before and while I can see where the author was going with this narrative choice, it didn't work in the dual POV narrative.
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Review originally published at Romancing Romances

I received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

This was my first book by Vanessa Riley and I was super excited to read this book, as it is a diverse historical romance, and I’ll admit right away: most authors I read are not diverse and/or do not write diverse stories/characters. However, I’m trying to improve myself and this was my first eARC of a historical romance that featured more diversity.

The heroine, Patience, is from an island in Demerara (currently Guyana, South America), and the hero, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington is a war-hero from England.

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. But I found it tasking to finish it, and it just didn’t really work for me.

First of all, the book is written in the 1st person AND in the 3rd person, which makes it confusing, and honestly, it started to give me headaches with its changing the whole time.

Patience, although I can understand her struggle, and her reasons, was just a bit annoying sometimes, and in the end I just didn’t like her.

Busick was okay, not a great hero either. He’s an amputee, a war hero, a very strict, very protective, very organized man. My favourite part about him was the love he had for his ward, Lionel – Patience’s baby.

For me… we don’t actually see a romance develop between the main characters, we are simply told they started to fall in love, and there is no chemistry between them.

The mystery in the whole book just was too much, and yet left questions unanswered at the end.

I liked and respect that the author explored difficult themes, such as war wounds, mental health, the injustices in England during the 19th, particularly regarding women, and even more regarding POC, amongst other subjects. But it wasn't enough to make me enjoy the book. I did enjoy the female friendships, and the best part for me was Lionel (the baby), and moments he was with his family.
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This was just a sweet and cute read.
It was a little eye opening. And I just loved it. 
This was 3 stars for me.
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I loved several aspects of this, but the first person/third person switch made for a disruptive reading experience. If executed better, this novel could have made my list of favorites given its themes and premise.
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I had high hopes because this cover is beautiful and HRs featuring black characters are in short supply. This story fell quite short and was actually difficult for me to maintain interest as I read it.

It started off with Patience, a patient at bedlam, climbing in through the window to nurse her baby boy. We quickly learned that Patience was an imprisoned widow, cast out after her husband Collin was found dead and placed in an insane asylum. The West Indian heiress married Colin Jordan, an Englishman and moved to England with him. When Collin was found dead of a suicide, Patience found herself accused of his death, penniless and without her newborn Lionel. Colin's uncle Markham seized control over everything including the baby and had Patience put into Bedlam.

The good news was that the rightful heir, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, believed there was something fishy about his cousin's supposed suicide. So the disabled military man traveled to his estate to take control and investigate his dead cousin's death. Busick quickly hired Patience to be the wet nurse to the baby, not knowing Patience's true identity and connection to baby Lionel. They quickly developed a friendship and later it became more. Together, they began unraveling what was really going on. This journey was dreary to me. I had a hard time with the author's storytelling and writing. It didn't flow smoothly and I wasn't able to connect with the characters. I did admire Patience's strength, grit and resourcefulness but I didn't really believe her with Busick. Busick seemed like an honorable military man, but he really wasn't endearing. He was just blah. There was no build up of chemistry between this two. It felt like a relationship of convenience. The story of Widow's Grace was definitely educational. I love learning new historical facts since that period was such a painful one for women and people of color. There wasn't much of a romance here to smooth out the rough storytelling.
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this is abook set in india about arranged marriage and a baby. and if that's waht yo uwant to read, then you should read this book. if that's not something that sounds rad to you, then don't read this one. that's aabout all i can say about this book.
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Overall, I liked the premise of this.  It was a different story.  I didn't think that it was difficult to follow or read (some historical romances can be hard to follow along).  Overall I gave it 4 stars, which means I like it.

Patience has lost everything: her husband (suicide) and her child (taken away).  She
Will do nothing but to get her son back, even posing as a man and then taking the identity of a wet nurse.  Her son is placed into the care of his cousin, the Duke of Repington.  How we, the more age is around the Duke, the more she sees that he is a good man and is good to her son.  Will her feelings for the Duke hey in the way of her main job: to get her son back?

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for this book!
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I initially was drawn to this book because I had just finished Evie Dunmore’s ‘Bringing Down the Duke’ and the description and obviously the cover had some similarities. I tend to be drawn to the same type of book and similar story lines in groupings, even if I don’t read them all together. This book definitely has its own twist on the historical romance despite some similarities. It’s fast paced and daring and is quite the story of romance, a powerful woman, and the men who try to be in control. If you like a slow burn romance with plenty of twisty bits this is the book for you!
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