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

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

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I love the cover of this book, but we know that you can't judge a book by its cover (or so many say). This book is sadly one of them. I did not come into this book with high hopes are so others may have but I did come into with the understanding of the time period and what I should expect in some way of a historical romance. What I got was a story that shows off the time periods racism and issues but nothing really in terms of story or character chemistry. This is a romance right? I felt let down by this idea that this book was a romance because I did not really feel anything between the two characters. At this point I am speechless and I don't know how else to explain my disappointment.
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what makes riley's historical romances so endlessly riveting is the slice of history she casts light on. the world has always been diverse, in stories like a duke, the lady, and a baby we get to see it. 

the duke in question is busick, a former military hero, hiding the fact that he lost a leg during the wars, who is also suddenly tasked with caring for his deceased cousin's son, i.e. the baby. patience, is the lady in question, and she's been through a lot. not only has her husband died under mysterious circumstances, his uncle is pulling some seriously shady moves on her, keeping her away from her son is almost the least of it. when she goes undercover as the boy's nanny, and she finds herself drawn to his guardian, she fights her attraction tooth and nail. 

nothing good ever came from tangling up with the english nobility in her experience. but busick isn't your average duke. and soon the things that draw them together find them irrevocably tangled up with each other. 

there's a bit of mystery that along with the leads sparkling chemistry makes this read quite enjoyable.

**a duke, the lady, and a baby will publish on june 30, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books in exchange for my honest review.
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Once a West Indian heiress lively and happy in her Caribbean home, now a widowed, penniless and desperate woman fighting to keep her own child and forced to ally with a domineering duke used to war and command.  This was setting up to be an exciting, tantalizing Regency Era Romantic Suspense by a new to me author I have been meaning to try so I gathered up this first in series with great eagerness.

The book opens with Patience Jordan in disguise and making a clandestine night-time visit to her former home to be sure the scoundrel who is now in possession is taking care of her baby son.  That very night, she sees relief show up in the form of the Duke of Repington, her son’s legal guardian.  He needs a nurse and she will do what it takes to get near her son and free them both.  She has learned that the English are wary of foreign-looking people like herself and she has been taken advantage of and hurt by unscrupulous, greedy men.  But, in Repington, she has finally discovered an honorable ally though he is demanding as well.

Busick Strathmore, the Duke of Repington, knows war and has the injuries and scars to prove it, but he is unused to the kind of private war that Patience Jordan is engaging in.  He is a protector and her fierce spirit starts turning his ordered world upside down.  He struggles to believe his cousin’s suicide and there are questions that need answering about all involved.   Patience and his ward need the truth to come out as well so he finds himself partnering her and wanting more for the first time.

I spotted the blurb on this one and I could not wait to dive in.  I don’t know what I expected, but the author’s style of writing was the first thing I noticed.  It’s whimsical and different, but doesn’t always feel in sync with the time period so I was distracted as often as amused.  The overall story was good and I enjoyed seeing the social and cultural elements that were included like Patience running afoul of a villain and ending up the unlawful party and criminal and of Busick suffering physical and mental injuries as a war survivor.  I liked the strength in them both and as partners bent on setting things right.

The romance, however, was so-so for me.  I just didn’t feel it between them.  Everything else was strong in this story particularly their roles in the suspense side, but the romance needed more development.  Most of the time they were antagonistic and in a battle of wills.  There was no frisson of attraction beneath that- or at least I didn’t notice any.  They didn’t communicate well together and I felt I was told they were a romance pair rather than see it develop before my eyes.

I do like the premise behind the series and would try another now that I’m used to the author’s style.  It was an overall engaging experience and I can recommend it to historical romance fans who don’t mind some modern-sounding dialogue and ideas cropping in.

I rec’d this book via Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
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I choose this book from the netgallery due to the cover thinking that it will be  entertaining.
But sadly i will not say it was 3.5 stars!

There was not much historial romance in this book! Though the author wrote it from the first POV.  I could not understand some bits of the book ... I placed this book down a few times and picked out another book.

Thank you so much for the arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby is an excellent start to Vanessa Riley’s Rogues and Remarkable Women series. I have found Riley to be a consistently good writer with strong heroes and heroines and their remarkable stories with complex bits of history that I never knew about. I loved her previous Advertisements for Love series, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how this new series progresses.

One thing to note is that the book is in first person from Jordan’s point-of-view and in third person from Repington’s. Riley’s choice to write it this way is brilliant. You get to understand Patience’s world from her eyes — her fears, her struggles, her desperation — and there’s an immediacy to and an intimacy with her thoughts, feelings and actions. For Repington, the third person allows him to initially distance himself from his war injuries and the life he now has to lead as an amputee in the rarefied aristocratic world that admits no blemishes.

With Patience’s encouragement and support, Repington embarks on a life of strength and vigor, not allowing his injuries to hamper him. Repington’s belief in her and his respect for her allows Patience to come into her own and stand firmly against patriarchy and racism and society at large. Thus, their relationship allows each to be much more than they were before — there is a balance of power in their relationship.

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A Duke, the Lady, and A Baby by Vanessa Riley is best described as a gentle romance yet gleefully disastrous for the white supremacists in romance. Prudence is a dark skinned woman from Demerara, present day Guyana. When her husband is said to have committed suicide, she is dragged to Bedlam, leading to Prudence sneaking in to feed her son. The Duke of Repington takes over Hamlin Hall. A society of Widows, a sisterhood of sorts, convinces him to hire Prudence of Lionel’s wet nurse. Thus the mystery of what really happened with that last letter Prudence sent her late husband and the slyness of his uncle unfolds.

Prudence and Busick. Yes Busick. Can we appreciate that Vanessa Riley has a list of the most horrible names of men during the regency and it’s her goal to use every single one? Yes? Me too. Anways, lets focus ADHD.

They slowly reveal who they are, something in tune with the mysterious plot. Their trust for each other, their stubbornness unraveled, and who they are is gently done.

This is a slow romance. I don’t know that I would call it a slow burn but more of a sweet romance that takes its time. It’s gorgeously written but it’s not meant for readers that like really steamy romance. I do feel sometimes the romance community prioritizes steamy romances as if those are the only romances that should be of worth in the genre.

And listen I love the steam. I stan the horny bitches. We love the hornsters ok. There’s something to be said for both but I do feel that sweet romances tend to be undervalued over the popularity of open door romances.

This book is about having someone you love that you can depend on. Prudence, like a lot of Black women, is expected to show her worth both as a Black woman and an immigrant living amongst the English ton. She has to be strong, silent, and resilient, things white aristocrats never had to be. She does not have the privilege of getting to be weak, to lean on someone else’s shoulder for a change, to be protected. She has to fight every day. She does not get to have the power her Duke has.

He gets to control his destiny. She does not.

She repeats to herself that in the ton’s eyes she is her late husband’s different wife. “Exotic’” and “dark” in their eyes, not worthy of the rank she is given nor worthy of the privilege to have a leisurely life which high browed white ladies had all day. Instead they want only the pain they believe she should ensure. They want her money, not her face.

The romance is so awkwardly adorkable and I found that aspect very enjoyable. The way Riley writes seems very reminiscent of the way people in this place and in this time actually spoke. She doesn’t write that modern faux historical regency tone that we’re so used to now. She does something with prose that creates the type of dissonance and high language that was so very typical amongst English speaking peoples of the time. It almost reminds me of the way Jane Austen would word things, that awkward yet hilarious prose which seems so humorous yet romantic to me.

I love that while reading this I was reading the honest truth that white ladies during (also now) this time were racist and would often use microaggressions to dehumanize Black people. Seeing the abuse Black people and bi-racial Britons lived through in a romance is new to me. I love seeing that while also getting a romance at the center. Riley examines history not just as someone trying to make aware of how white women during this time weren’t as feminist as we think but she highlights the white feminist exclusive spaces of regency romance. I cannot think of many Black women being so present in historical regencies let alone an ownvoices one.

I want to read historical romances as complex as this. I want to read Black women being described as rakes. I want to see a Black heroine describe her hand writing as intelligent. I want to see layered, frustrated, and justifiably angry women dealing with their trauma and also getting to be appreciated and loved in the span of a single genre killing romance novel.

I love that the hero is sweet on Prudence. The way he calls her soldier and a rake and wants to protect her when life has always been anti-Prudence getting to feel safe. Their romance is so cozy. He’s just a himbo schedule nerd that has eyes only for her. I would die for them.

I know there are going to be some reviewers that feel there shouldn’t be books where Black women get to be in the same or similar HEAs as white women and that’s messed up.

I want to see Black women in regency england, not just because there was such a large population of Black people in England during the time but also because Black women deserve to read romances that have been denied to them for so long. Hell I deserve to read romances like this. We are not protecting that white bubble of regency romances any longer and I’m here to watch that magic unfold.

Give me all the Riley adorkable romances to go please.

Thank You to Zebra via Netgalley for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Ok, Patience is SUCH an amazing woman, a fierce mother and determined to get to the heart of what has been going on. The Duke is in pain and frustrated and is a soldier who is used to everyone obeying him - and certainly will not stand for deceptions! Watching them bond over their love of Lionel and work to find their way to happiness was so much fun. I can’t wait to read the next installment of this series!!
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If you are a fan of Regency time novels you may enjoy this but honestly it kind of dragged for me. I was excited about reading it from the summary (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.; from @goodreads) but the first half dragged for me. The second half did improve but I don’t think I will be continuing the series. I think right now I’m more into contemporary romance rather than historical, but if that’s your thing I’m sure you will enjoy it.
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I love how Vanessa takes on so much in this book without it becoming preachy. Patience is a widow, navigating the ton as a woman of color, and a breastfeeding mother. Busick is a veteran who is coming to terms with his amputated leg and finding purpose in his new life away from war. This is about everything that you sometimes have to overcome on your way to finding true love.
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My second historical fiction novel EVER! I usually stay in my contemporary romance lane and in this case it is no different. I think by looking at other reviews it was a really great read for the genre, for me it was a DNF.
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Patience is sneaking into her house to feed her son when a duke appears to kick out her late husbands uncle from the house.  ARC from NetGalley.
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Sprung from the insane asylum where she had been locked up by her son’s unscrupulous new guardian, all widow Patience Jordan wants is to reclaim her baby and go home to Demerara. Before she can carry out her plan, though, she’s thwarted by the arrival of a senior claimant to the role of guardian, Busick, the Duke of Repington. Throwing her tormentor out of the house, Busick makes it clear the child’s welfare is his highest priority, and Patience is persuaded to wait and see how things turn out. Afraid to reveal her identity for fear he’ll send her back to Bedlam, she takes a position as her own child’s wet nurse.

The diverse representation in this book is as good as you’ll find in any historical romance. Not only is Patience a woman of colour (she self describes as ‘mulatto’ and it’s apparent from context that her father is white and her mother Black) but Busick is both disabled (an amputee) and suffering from PTSD due to his service in the Napoleonic Wars. The author does an excellent job of portraying what it would have been like for a young, albeit wealthy and beautiful, Black woman marrying into English high society; it’s obvious Patience is treated as an outsider and something of a curiosity.

That aside… I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. The story is told in alternating first person (Patience) and third person (Busick) points of view, which is probably my least favourite method of storytelling and can be intensely confusing. You don’t find a lot of first-person in historical romance so at first I thought it was going to be an interesting change; alternating first-person between the two main characters could have worked, but going to third-person for Busick really didn’t. There’s an intimacy to first-person, the character taking us into the story, sharing their innermost thoughts, but then when you change to third-person, it feels so much more like ‘telling’ rather than showing. I had a constant feeling of emotional whiplash changing between the two.

I’m not sure I really bought into the romance here either. Busick didn’t really know Patience when he decided she must love him and therefore he was going to be in love with her, which made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I could see good reasons for her falling for him - he listened to her, believed her and had her son’s best interests at heart - but despite being in her head a lot of the time, I don’t think the progress of her increasing feelings for him was conveyed at all.

I very much liked the premise of the story, and the research behind it was obviously good, but the execution just didn’t work for me. I’m giving it three stars.
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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

I saw this book first when various authors started mentioning it on twitter, so when it became available to review on NetGalley, I knew I needed to read it. A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby follows Patience Jordan as she tries to reclaim her son from his wicked guardian, and return home to her beloved Demerara. After her husband killed himself, she was imprisoned by his uncle, Markham, and later put into Bedlam Hospital and committed. Saved only by a Countess with a soft spot for widow's, she sneaks back into Hamlin Hall, now under the ownership of one of Colin's cousins, Busick, the Duke of Repington. Repington was injured in the Peninsula War, and is recuperating with his young charge, Lionel, and the new nanny, Mrs LaCrox, intrigues him. As the two get closer, can Patience keep up the charade of being merely a nanny, or will she admit all to Busick, including her growing feelings?

This book was slow at first, but once I was into it, I couldn't stop myself. Patience and Busick were fantastic main characters, and the banter between the two was so funny and engaging. They both had their dark sides, and their vulnerabilities, but together they could face all manner of evils, Markham being only one of them. Their love for Lionel, too, was heartwarming, and I hope for more from them in future books, especially after the epilogue.
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I loved the idea of this book but I found the going back and forth between POV to be confusing and it took me out of the story. I will read the next book by this author.
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*** 3.5 Stars rounded up ***
I went in expecting Regency Three Men and a Baby meets First Wives Club and excited to read a historical about a West Indian heiress, but was surprised to find Gothic notes joining the anticipated lilting banter and levity. Presumptive ghosts, the creeping villainy of a greedy uncle, and a convoluted mystery are juxtaposed with the silliness of well-meaning but clueless caretaking from a military man turned guardian & the poignancy of a desperate mother's battle to reclaim her son.⁠
As a conflicted Brontë fan, I found it fascinating to note that the story also builds on many of the same elements in Jane Eyre (and in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea), but transmutes them to not only center its West Indian heiress, but celebrate her agency, unambiguously highlight that any madness is in the misogynistic, racist culture not in her, and deliver to her a well deserved HEA.⁠

Unlike Brontë's Bertha, by the time we meet our heroine Patience, she’s already escaped an Englishman's attempts to lock her up and label her mad. She's realized that following rules only serves to enforce a status quo that’s robbed her of  her freedom, her money and her son, and she's taking risks to secure the life she wants. Her strength, competence, and sharp wit shine, while the intimacy of her 1st person POV feels both effective and purposeful given the long history of othering mixed race characters in literature.⁠
But despite having more or less imprinted on Captain Von Trapp, I found the hero Busick's authoritarian tendencies hard to warm up to and the switches to a 3rd person POV disorienting. My sense of him was muddled. For a strategist, he seemed obtuse and for a rake, rigid--reliant more on bluster than charm. ⁠He accepts the ability and value of disabled soldiers, even creating a regiment of them, but goes to extraordinary lengths to hide his own. He's devoted to protecting Lionel and Patience, but puts them in danger to "win" a point. When the story screams for a good grovel, he sulks.⁠ Ultimately, I was left with the sense that not only didn’t he deserve Patience (forgivable), but that he didn’t know it (not).⁠

On balance, there's far to more to like than not, and I'm eager for the next story of the remarkable members of the Widow's Grace.
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This book was nothing like I the best ways possible. It has so many of what I like to call my "catnip tropes" melded in a way that created a read that felt entirely new. 

When Patience Jordan, a West Indian heiress, questioned her husband's alleged suicide, she lost everything : her home, her freedom, and most critically, custody of her newborn son, Lionel. Escaping from dire imprisonment in an asylum with the aid of The Widow's Grace, a society dedicated to remedying wrongs against widows, Patience disguises herself as a footman, and later as a nanny and wet nurse, to remain close to her son, but his gruff new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, presents a threat to her plans...and to her heart.

Busick is a wounded war hero used to commanding everything and everyone around him, yet this slip of a nanny constantly breaks his rules and decimates his defenses. He's supposed to be investigating the questionable finances of the estate to protect his young ward, but he can't keep his mind - or his eyes - off the nanny. They band together to secure the interests of young Lionel and establish a fragile trust to pursue their goals. But will it be enough to face the dangers lying just beyond the horizon?

I think I found this book at the exact right time to fall in love with the characters and plot. I'm unused to reading historical romances featuring protagonists of color not directly dealing with slavery and I have to say that I am quite enamored of this. I found Patience to be relatable, albeit reckless to the point of frustration. I almost gave this book four stars because she was so hard-headed and impatient (ha!) in her pursuit of clearing her name and regaining custody, but then I thought about what I would do for my daughter in similar circumstances, and realized that of the two of us, she's far more...patient. 

I loved her spirit and her refusal to back down in the face of the duke. I love a gruff and commanding veteran warming up to discover life after war and Busick certainly delivered. The portrayal of a war hero contending with PTSD, acclimating to civilian life, as well as learning to live with a disability? Wondrously woven into the tale. 

5 stars to this and I can't wait to read more of The Widow's Grace series.
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This Regency romance keeps us in the familiar world of aristocratic England while giving us a whole new perspective. Through the eyes of a heroine who comes from a completely different culture than we are used to, we get a clear view of the difficulties of being on the outside of this exclusive society.

A widow bent on protecting her infant son, Patience is taking matters into her own hands when a hero arrives to save the day. But, how can Patience trust him to stay when her husband did not? Busick, Duke of Repington is not afraid of a challenge. He will prove to himself and his infuriating nanny that his strategies will work for a baby, a ragtag group of soldiers, and his own injured body.

It’s an unconventional story, unconventionally told. For those who stick with it, there is a satisfying ending that is both hopeful and sweet.
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After her husbands suicide, Patience losses her home and child to a greedy relation. She finds help from the Widow's Grace who conceives a plan for Patience to infiltrate her former home and regain custody of her child. As is typical of the cozy romance, there is plenty of wit, mystery, and intrigue, but what is not typical is Patience is a POC, which dramatically changes the perspective. Overall, I enjoyed the book and will likely pick up additional books in the series.
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I loved this idea of a story with a different twist of the leading lady- From the West Indies. I wanted to love this more but it took me a bit to get into the story. The first part was just okay but loved the end. The POV was one 1st and one 3rd which just threw me a bit and didn't really enjoy it that way. The chemistry was super late and not until the last 10% of the book so the romance was a little flat in this one. With that always worried and wondering what is going to happen next - made me worried to even read it with the babe. 

Loved the WOC leading lady and that side of England's racism, sexism was a nice change for this time period read. The Duke and his challenging wounds from war and that impact on the family. I will read more of this series and look forward to see where it all goes. 

Overall, 3.5 stars and 3 steam

Thanks to Netgalley, Publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I’ve only read one other book by Vanessa Riley, so I was really excited to read A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby. 

It was a fun, easy to read historical romance. There is so much historical detail woven in and really reflects the time period like you are living in it as you read. There is first and third person POV in this novel which took a minute to get used, but it added so much urgency and passion to the story. 

The main characters are great. I loved Patience and all the complexity she is living with. I love her baby Lionel and the family relationships that pop up all over the story. The Duke, Busick is a fun character and I was really rooting for him! I also LOVED that we finally get to read about a regency heroine who isn’t white! More please!!! 

What really excited me about this book is the secondary characters and the Widow’s Grace. A group of Widows that help each other through connections, the law, spying, disguises and you name it! So I’m very excited to find out what happens to Jemina’s story in the next book!!! I also loved Gantry.  

Historical fiction readers will love this book, romance readers will also enjoy! Closed door sexy times in this book. 

#ADuketheLadyandaBaby #DukeLadyBaby #VanessaRiley #HistoricalRomance #historicalfiction #RegencyRomance #Kensington #NetGalley

I received the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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