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

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

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Member Reviews

I read that an author I follow recommended this book and I was able to receive an ARC on Netgalley. I was somewhat disappointed in the book.  When the story starts, I felt like I was missing something.  The Widows of Grace has been organized to help widows in need but there wasn’t information to really understand it. 

The writing was a little disjointed, BUT, I was intrigued by the information on Mulatto’s in 1814 England.  It’s always been irritating to read about how women were treated as property and just less than, but this added an interesting aspect of race.  I was unaware that there were Mullato’s that held a certain place in society during that time.  I was also unaware that there Mulatto’s in other places in the world.  After reading historical romance many years ago and centered around the South, I didn’t really think about similar situations elsewhere.

I liked the Duke and his tendency toward order and strict schedules and facing off with Patience.  She struggled in her role to take care of her baby and her secrets.  The baby Lionel, while too young to be too involved in the story, brought a sweetness especially when the Duke was talking to or taking care of him.  The Duke and Patience began to share secrets and trust each other, which was difficult for both.  

It also interesting to read about war wounds, loss of limbs and the types of prosthetics.

I was a little confused on who was white and who was Mullato as towards the end it was noted one or more were people of color.  Race isn’t an issue for me, but I think if I had known that about the various characters earlier it would have helped to understand their thoughts and actions.  

I was a little confused with Patience wanting to go back to her Island and to feel safe with her family and yet it was noted in the later portion of the book that her sisters had probably been enslaved.  

Knowing this book is the beginning of a series, I’m interested to see if the next book will clarify some of the questions I had from reading this book.

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this new work.
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-	The heroine is a person of color.
-	The hero is coping with the loss of a leg in battle.
-	A heroine who is a lactating mother!
-	Author’s notes that indicate that a fair amount of research went into the book.

Not so positives:
-	I hated how the narration switched from first person (the heroine) to third person. Either switch back and forth between the hero and heroine in first person, or stick to third. I found it very jarring – it pulled me out of the story over and over.
-	I did not buy the overly intimate banter and handsy-ness of the couple’s relationship. Not for one minute. It felt inappropriate to the times and to a relationship between a widow and the ward of her baby who she just met. Long passages between them struck a wrong note over and over.
-	I enjoy a good damaged hero, but this guy is often a terrible jerk: Her: “You brought my son to a gaming hell. How is that not wrong?” Him: “It was to teach you a lesson. To teach that lovely stubborn head a lesson.” (p. 190 of the advance reader copy) *hate hate hate* “he schooled and scolded her with lips on her neck mapping the way she moved against him when he stroked here, teased there” (p. 191 of the ARC). This manner of their relationship did not work for me at all and grated on my nerves.

I loved the description of this book and am sorry I didn’t love it. I struggled to finish it. Readers who enjoyed Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore may enjoy this historical romance that doesn’t feel at all historical so far as the hero/heroine relationship goes. I won’t be reading book 2.

I read an advance reader copy of A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby.
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Clean Regency Romance and Adventure
This is not a bodice ripper. This is a clean Regency period adventure with a romance tossed in. The story has a really bad guy, a decent good guy, and a mother who will do anything to protect her infant son. It is a very good story that I could not put down. I wish that there had been more detail in some parts, but it did a good job of covering a lot of activity in a short period of time. I will be watching for more of this author's books and more of this series. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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This is my first time reading any of Vanessa Riley’s books and I must say that I will be reading more of her work. This was an awesome read about a Duke, A Lady And A Baby.

Widowed West Indian heiress Patience Jordan’s husband commits suicide and his cousin is all to happen to lock up Patience and take away her son Lionel.

Patience is embarking on a way to get her son back putting herself in danger while she poses as a nanny using disguises in order to get to her son back and locate documents about herself being mentally able to care for her son.

With the help of “The Widow’s Grace an organization that helps widows Patience is able get things accomplished.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
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I was really looking forward to reading this book. However, I found the plot to be lacking and it was at times hard to follow who was reading. It might have been better if the author had stuck to one type of narrative instead of jumping back and forth from first person narrative to third person narrative. I received a ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review of the book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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When Patience Jordan begins to question her husband's death by suicide, she loses everything: her home and her son, Lionel, and she's falsely imprisoned. Then the Widow's Grace comes to her aide. As their name suggests, it is a group of widows looking out for one another and making sure that, just because their husbands' are deceased, they're not left out in the dust with no means of support. They help Patience get a position in her former home as the nanny for her own son, unbeknownst to the new guardian of Lionel's estate - Busick Strathmore, the Duke of Repington. Now Patience must not only care for her boy, but she must also contend with Busick's strict schedule for her baby, as well as figure out what has happened with her inheritance. 

Busick - a wounded military hero - is set about unraveling his late cousin's disastrous financial dealings, lest Lionel be left with nothing. But Patience proves to be more than he bargained for. As the begin to work together, a tentative trust forms between them, but can is be broken by secrets closely kept? 

There was so much about this book that was refreshing. Patience is a great heroine. I loved her steadfastness, her strength. She has been put through a lot and she never gave up. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Patience and Busick. I felt like they were enough foil to each other that their differences eventually made them click and it worked really well. I thought that their chemistry was perfect. It added a light-hearted element to the story which I think was my overall favorite aspect. Just how silly - not in a bad way - Patience and Busick were towards each other. Him with his strict schedule and her trying to thwart that schedule at every turn.

Of course, one of the reasons for Busick strict schedule is to prove to everyone - namely himself - that he's still able to lead, that he's still able to command his troops despite his debilitating injuries. I honestly did not notice the reference to his lost leg when I first saw the cover of the book, only after I had begun reading. Busick was such a wonderful character. Not wanting to show his vulnerability for fear that he would lose the respect of his men, but also having to come to terms with his new capabilities. I think he lost more than an appendage, he lost himself quite a bit, which is understandable but Patience, and Lionel, start bringing him back to himself. 

For me, the mystery aspect kept me engaged. It's clear from the beginning that there's more going on than meets the eye. I liked how everything was pieced together by the end. 

So, there's definitely a lot of good parts about the book, but it was not without it's faults. It took me a bit to get into the story. There's kind of an abruptness to the beginning. The story starts with Patience sneaking into her son's nursery the only way she could - dressed as a man. Her husband is dead at this point, she's been imprisoned, and released, but readers have no idea of these facts. I felt like I came in late to the start of a movie and I missed some important opening information, but that's not the case, we weren't yet given any information. It's a familiar thing that runs throughout, kind of jumping from instance to instance and the parsing out of information at seemingly odd times. It took some getting used to, and I think, by the end, I finally got it, but it made for a not-so-easy read. 

Similarly, while I ultimately love Busick and Patience together, I wanted a little more build up. I felt like there were so many things going on in the story for them both individually and together, coupled with the fact that Patience's husband's death is at the forefront of the story, and added to that is the idea that our hero and heroine must end up together in the end, and I felt like it became too rushed. 

Overall, I like what Vanessa Riley has started here. I loved the representation and the strong female characters. Along with some interesting turns by some secondary characters, and I'm all set to be excited to see where the series goes next.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of "A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby" by Vanessa Riley. I will admit that I was very intrigued by the premise of this book and was even pretty impressed by the first chapter. But, after that, almost all of the tension died out and the I had to slog through most of the book. A few moments of romantic tension kept me going, but for the most part this book was pretty boring for me. I liked that it had a different culture perspective since the MC was from Demerara and her life as a mulatto in England was interesting. I like her perspective on motherhood too, especially since that isn't common. As I said, the premise was great, but for whatever reason did not hold out for an entire book.
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It took awhile to get into the rhythm of this book but pretty soon I was engaged with the the characters of Patience and Repington and the merry chase of hidden identities and raising a baby and a mystery to be solved.  The romance seems rushed but its the diverse characters and even story line that is the charm of this book and makes it worthwhile reading.
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This is one of the first historical romances I have read and I think I have found a new favorite subgenre! A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby is the opposite of a boring and predictable romance book. This book has treason, suicide, murder, gambling, deceit, women pretending to be men, and so much more. This book also discusses the power dynamics of women and men, as well as whites and people of color. The protagonist was a wealthy woman of color which put her in a very interesting position in many ways. I loved learning about the food that the women made in the book-- and as I was so pleasantly surprised to see that the author included a recipe for the coconut bread at the end of the book! 
This book was definitely heavy on the details so that understandably may not be for everyone. The romance between Patience and the Duke was definitely a slow burn so if that is not your style you may not like this book. In my opinion, I found their eventual coupling up to be very realistic. They both had lots of things to consider, such as the recent death of Patience’s husband (the Duke’s cousin) and the future of Patience’s child. Sometimes I feel like couples get together unrealistically quickly in books so it was nice to see these two feel out their growing attraction before diving right into things. I am looking forward to other books in this series!
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What happens when you become a Widow and have an infant son, your deceased husband death is by suicide and his relatives has you locked away in a mental hospital so no one knows where you are? This is what happens to Patience Jordan because if she is not found and considered dead, then the guardian for Patience son will receive the inheritance that Patience’s father set up for her getting married. 
This is an interesting storyline which takes place during historical events, there is mystery, suspense, drama, interracial marriage and romance. The characters were well developed and you can feel the emotions of of the characters especially Patience love for her baby and willing to do whatever it takes to reclaim her home and baby. The Duke you can feel his pain and frustration of learning how to live with his leg amputated and how his love for being the guardian of the baby. 
In the author’s notes I like how she explained the different terms of races, places, events and inventions 
during that time period.
I look forward to reading the next book to see some of the characters Jemina, the countess who runs the Widow’ Grace backstories.

Cassandra H.

I received a ARC from Netgalley and this review is of my own honest opinion and review.

#KessingtonPublishing #ADukeTheLadyAndABaby ##VanessaRiley
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I downloaded this book to prepare for an interview with Vanessa Riley, Sarah MacLean, and Joanna Shupe that was on Facebook Live during their release week.
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A Duke, the Lady and a Baby by Vanessa Riley is quite different from the types of books or even sub-genres of romance that I read. The story follows Patience Jordan, a Mulatto/Blackamoor woman from Demarera who in a desperate attempt to gain back custody of her child, takes a job undercover as his new nanny while he is in the care of his guardian. 
After the suicide of her husband, Patience is all alone in a foreign country and at the mercy of her uncle-in-law who commits her to Bedlam and kidnaps her son Lionel, the sole heir to his father’s estate in order to steal his inheritance. Patience is released from prison with the help of a local aristocratic lady who helps widows in need and promptly starts working on ways to get her son back. 
The story revolves around Patience’s quest to regain her son, clear her name and find a way to go back to her home country to raise Lionel in peace. Her biggest obstacle is Lionel’s true guardian; Busick, the Duke of Remington. Busick, a former soldier, takes his responsibilities as the guardian of his cousin’s infant son and his fortune very seriously. He doesn’t trust Patience whom he believes abandoned her child. Various issues prevent Patience from revealing her true identity so she goes undercover as a nanny in order to be close to her son as well as search for important documents in order to regain custody. 
There are many things I admire about this book:
The sheer amount of research that has gone into writing a story about a woman of color in England during the 1800s. Including learning all the legal and financial rights that women as well as foreign women of color had (or not).
The number of obstacles relevant to the time period that Patience faced in her quest; her gender, her ethnicity as well as being a widow
The perseverance and development of Patience’s character. Her diligence, determination and strength were amazing to read about.
The inclusion and talk of disabilities, war injuries and prosthetics. 

At the same time, there were a number of reasons because of which I did not connect with this book.
The use of both first and third person narrative in the same book- this drove me crazy. It was confusing at first and then evolved into being just plain annoying. 
The first few chapters were very hard to comprehend. There were so many panicked thoughts going through Patience’s head that it took quite a few pages to discover what is actually going on. 
The overall tone and pace of the book were very boring to me. At some points the plot dragged and stagnated.  I had no problem putting the book down but I struggled to pick it back up to finish it. 
While the two main characters had wit and intelligence aplenty, I honestly did not feel much chemistry between them. There was very very little physical intimacy in this book and what little there was lacked description and spark.  
There is very little background story to the characters. All we really know is that Patience is from Demarera and has a very rich father and a difficult mother. She has sisters but we don’t know how many or their names. How did she meet her first husband? Why did she marry him?  What impact did her mother have on her? I would also have liked to see more personality from Busick-he went from rigid and distrusting to falling in love and remaining the same. 
I was almost more interested in the side characters half the time than the main character. 

All in all, I feel like this book could have made a great historical fiction with the story just revolving around Patience’s quest to get her son back. The romance aspect was quite lacking in my opinion. I would not read it again. 
 * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Vanessa Riley delivers with A Duke, the Lady and a Baby. I think it’s a story readers will enjoy. I have recommended it multiple times on all my social media channels, and I interviewed the author.
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Patience Jordan was widowed and committed to an asylum by her deceased husband's unscrupulous relative. Finally free, she teams up with other widowed women to claim what she was forced to leave behind in the manor house--her baby. Unfortunately (or fortunately...?), another relative of her husband, "the Duke," has taken over the manor, seeing to it that the baby will be his ward. Disguised as a wet maid, Patience works her way into the manor, and perhaps the Duke's heart...

Historical romances are not my favorite genre. The gender dynamics of another time always leave me feeling slightly uncomfortable, like being trapped in inescapable power play that you can't argue against because it was appropriate for the time. However, after reading and enjoying Evie Dunmore's Bringing Down the Duke, I've been attempting to expand my reading horizons and appreciate historical romances for what they are. This novel by Vanessa Riley caught my eye for its cover that popped and high praise.

While the gender dynamics still leave something to be desired, I understand them as a necessary evil in historical romances, and Vanessa Riley creates a unique and original story about a woman attempting to regain what's rightfully hers. And it's amazing that we're not talking about property, or money, or a title, but a baby! A living, breathing baby! Almost baffling. But Riley makes this premise come to life in a believable manner, with fantastic world-creating, character building, and prose that sing. This book is all show not tell, maybe to such an extreme level I felt like I had no idea what was happening in the first chapter. But upon catching on, I appreciated the way each character's past and motivations were slowly revealed and helped explain why they were the way they were. I can't say this is a particularly "fun" read, as it's quite a heavy premise and it seems like danger is around the corner at every page, but it was certainly enjoyable, well-written, and full of rich details that transported me to another time and place. More like a cozy blanket and a cup of cocoa read than a beach read, but there's a time and place for everything. And who doesn't love hot chocolate?
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So, this book kind of defies any sort of easy categorization and is a very unique historical romance blended with suspense. I was very much compelled to keep reading throughout this book because the plot was fascinating.

Essentially, the plot is that this widow, who is a mixed race woman from a Caribbean island, was the victim to her husband's cousin who had her locked away in Bedlam for being "crazy." She breaks out of Bedlam with assistance and sneaks back into her former home to feed her son. Ultimately, the Duke of Rippington (?) shows up as the rightful guardian of her son and she winds up disguising herself as Mrs. LaCroy to be her son's nanny. The Duke and Patience slowly sort of fall together in a very quiet way.

What I liked the most about this book probably was the suspense plot even if sometimes I didn't quite understand what was happening. I liked Patience as a character a lot too. The Duke didn't really make total sense to me? Like, he's a military strategist and sometimes I was just like... dude, wtf? Oh, but the lower part of one of his legs was amputated and I really loved the way that representation was handled with the one intense caveat of his own internal hangups might be triggering for some people who use a wheelchair. But his disability wasn't ignored or glossed over and we saw his ups and downs in recovering from his injury, which was nice.

What I didn't like about this book is more that I think sometimes I felt like it was going over my head? Like Vanessa Riley is clearly SO smart and she writes beautifully, but sometimes I just genuinely didn't really get what was happening. Specifically, the way the duke talks just was weird for me. In other words, I think this is probably more historically accurate than a lot of books and I'm just not used to it.

But all that to say, I enjoyed this and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series because I loved Jemina (a side character with amnesia)!

Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington for the advanced copy!
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This is my first Vanessa Riley book (well I was lucky to get an ARC of it) and I really enjoyed it. I very rarely read historical rom these days but when I do, I prefer to read books by authors of colour. I was intrigued by this story's premise because the heroine is from the West Indies as am I (born and raise, still living here). different island but I havent read a historical romance featuring a heroine from the islands so I was ready!! 

And i loved this. Loved Patience and the Duke's meeting (she's disguised as a man). right off they have great banter and the duke is exasperated when Patience appears, in the guise of a nanny this time, to take care of the Duke's new guardian (who is actually Patience's son).

Patience is not the meek, complies to all his rules, nanny that he expects and it makes for some truly delightful scenes! And he baby, little Lionel is just adorable. The first scene with him and Busick (the duke) had me chuckling. The baby is just a few months old but is written as such a real character, his personality shone through his mannerisms.

Patience is dealing with alot and what I was grateful for in this book was that while Busick realizes he has feelings for Patience, he doesn't want to act on it immediately because he believes she's a nanny and doesn't feel right about it because she is in his employ. 

The two clash alot and their banterrrr, i ate that all up. 

Now, one thing I wasn't 100% sure on was the disability rep. Busick is an amputee and while Patience doesnt treat him any different for it, Busick doesnt want to be seen as weak. There's is on scene where he injured himself while at his mother's house and thinks Patience will see him as less, as he's confined to his bed for a bit since he's in pain and can't walk just yet. and he thinks he doesn't want to be treated as an invalid like his father. I suppose he was feeling vulnerable here because before, throughout the book, even while he struggled with pain from using his prosthetic, he didn't see himself in that light. So I was a bit iffy on that part. But at no time did Patience ever act as if she saw him differently, inspite of his fears and voicing them to her.

I am delighted by the entire premise of the Widow’s Grace, a secret society of widows fighting back against society and who vow to help out other widows like themselves and i'm looking forward to the next book cuz i just knew Jemina and Daniel had that chemistry. I called it early on! The little sneak peek we get at the end makes me want their book NOW! 

Before i forget...the POVs are in different tenses. Patience's is in 1st person and the Duke's in third but it worked for me. It wasn't jarring or anything. I liked that the author chose to switch it up a bit here.
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I liked this book a lot and read it rather quickly.  It was a fun historical romantic read. I also like how it higlighted the unequal treatment of women.  Lots of funny dialogue as well.
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Now, when I started A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby I was a bit nonplussed as to how Patience could get hired as her own child’s nanny/wet nurse without getting outed by the servants – unless the servants were in on it. But, fear not, the problem is easily solved in the first few chapters. Onward.

I’ll go with 3.5 stars out of 5. I liked the story of Patience and Busick and will she be able to get her baby back (plus bag a duke in the process, heyo, it’s a romance novel of course). There was a good mystery plot with excellent tension, although I’m still a little hazy about how the whole finance plot worked but that’s pretty minor. I really liked the historical detail Riley put into Patience’s backstory both as a woman color in pasty, imperial England and her plight as a widow who does not have guardianship of her own child and how this leaves her very, very little (extremely little) legal recourse to baby Lionel. Busick is also a character we rarely see in romance fiction – a hero who has lost a limb in wartime. It affects how he’s treated by others despite his rank as a duke. The romance plot itself is pretty low steam but it’s not chaste. There is definitely kissing and a small number of boob jokes (they’re kind of hilariously bad). I’m looking forward to future books in this series because this was fun.

What kept pulling me out was a structural thing. Patience’s perspective is in first-person while Busick’s perspective is in close third. Switching back and forth like that drives me batty. It just gets in the way of the story. Ymmv, of course.
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There is a whole lot going on in this book. 

At times, the circumstances seem beyond a bit far fetched. 
So here are my thoughts. I like Vanessa Riley. 
I was super excited that she had a West Indian heiress for the female lead. 
What I wasn't so thrilled about?
No man is honorable when he's a rake and Busick is much touted for being a rake. 
Patience was so newly widowed and still breast feeding., the timing just felt way off. 
There's maybe too much going on, if that's possible.
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I found this book fun, if not a little difficult, to read, and it had a very interesting plot. Patience has a very strong motivation and never strayed. Busick felt the same way, and I enjoyed the romance between the two quite a bit. I loved how kind and sweet the Duke was. I enjoyed the representation the pair brought to the story in terms of race and disability during the time period. The discussions of gender were also really well done, but some of these discussions seemed to overwhelm the romance and plot. 

I think the banter between the two characters was really fun, and I enjoyed the scenes where they interacted, especially with Lionel. The main problems I have is that some of the writing was a bit confusing, and the plot was muddled at points. I wanted more action, but also more time spent with the side characters. The secret society of widows was not played up enough for me and became a bit of a back burner topic. I wanted to see more of the intrigue and investigation into what happened to Patience's husband and herself. 

Overall, I believe this was a very unique story, but it was a little lackluster in the execution. I do want to continue the series and see how the writing and plots progress because this book had very good bones.
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