About the Book:
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?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby
While dealing with grief at losing her mother, Patience falls quickly for Colin Jordan, and leaves her home in Demerara to travel to England as his wife. Patience is a biracial woman, and Colin keeps her at his country home, Hamlin House, supposedly to protect her from hateful gossip and comments that she’d surely have to endure if she accompanied him on his many trips to London. After four years of marriage, and having just given birth to a son, Patience learns that Colin is dead. As if the trauma of giving birth and losing her husband aren’t enough, Colin’s Uncle Markham has now taken over the home. He ruthlessly separates Patience from her son, Lionel, and has her sent away. Thankfully, the organization called Widow’s Grace manages to free Patience, and she finds the way to sneak into the house to feed and visit her son. Patience has to find a way to search Hamlin House for her financial records, and then steal away with her son and head back to her father and home. Then Lionel’s legal guardian appears, and everything changes.
Busick Strathmore is the Duke of Repington, as well as a recovering officer who has been seriously wounded in service to his country. When Busick learns of the death of his cousin, Colin, and that he has been named guardian to his newborn son, he immediately heads to Hamlin House with a small contingent of his men. He forcibly ejects Markham from the premises, and seeks out his young ward. Busick had been told that Patience ran away, so he knows that he needs to find a nurse for the baby. Widow’s Grace was actually responsible for summoning Busick, and now they install Patience as nurse and nanny for Lionel. Patience is cautioned not to reveal her identity until they learn what Busick’s intentions are. Patience may be Lionel’s mother, but she is only a woman, and Busick has legal authority.
Busick is a battle hardened soldier, accustomed to commanding men. Yet, he turns to mush when around his young cousin. He is constantly holding him, talking to him, singing to him, and telling him how he will be cared for and protected. At the same time, he’s suspicious of Patience, wondering if she may secretly be in league with Markham. Patience has to follow his orders pertaining to how she cares for her own child, and act as a servant in the house she should be mistress of. Though wary and not fully trusting each other, Patience and Busick do have an underlying awareness and attraction. While Busick has had a somewhat rakish past, he draws the line at importuning his servants.
A DUKE, THE LADY, AND A BABY is my first book by Vanessa Riley, and it has a lot going on beside the burgeoning romance between Patience and Busick. There is the prejudice that Patience had to face for the color of her skin, and the precarious situation she was in just because she’s a woman and subject to men’s rule. To offset that, Widow’s Grace showed how the sisterhood of women can band together and help each other through the most difficult of circumstances. The villain of the story is truly despicable, and I am genuinely pleased at his receiving what he deserved. I found the writing to be very good, but the viewpoints often changed, and several times I had to re-read passages to determine who was speaking. The romance itself felt mild to me, rather than a strong earth shattering love, it seemed truly more like an affectionate convenience. I did love both lead characters. Patience was resolute, determined, and strong in the face of all she had endured. Busick tried to hide his own very serious injuries and pain, while protecting those in his household. Though he declared himself a stickler for rules and schedules, he has a heart of pure gold. I love his strength and honor, and his interaction with Lionel is heartwarming. I’d recommend this book for readers who enjoy a romance moving at a slower pace, but with strong lead characters. Oh, and I absolutely adored that baby! ~Rose