A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women, #1)Barbara’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

Series: Rogues and remarkable Women #1
Publication Date: 6/30/20
/Number of Pages: 320

This was my first book by this author and it was a very enjoyable read. The storyline was unique for the Regency period and it was well presented. One unusual thing in the story’s presentation was that it alternated between first and third person which may bother some readers, but not others. While this wasn’t an unusually long book, I felt as if it took me a long time to read it – even though it didn’t. I’m not sure why that was – just me I guess. The story moved along at a good clip and it was well-plotted, but I did think the villain was a bit of a fizzle. While there was both a romance and a villain, I did feel that they were subservient to the story the author wanted to tell – which was the treatment and lack of acceptance of people of color during the Regency period.

Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, was severely wounded and lost a limb at the battle of Badajoz. He was Wellington’s right-hand-man and dearly wants to get back to the battlefield. I did come to like Busick, but it didn’t come easily. I think that was mostly because he seemed to be a cardboard caricature of a dedicated military man. I loved his determination to care for and protect his new ward, Lionel Jordan, who is the son of his much-loved cousin, Colin.

Patience Jordan was a lovely character and I admired her courage and loving heart. I liked her as soon as she graced the page. Just after the death of her mother, she fell madly in love with Colin Jordan. Almost as soon as they married, they left her West Indies home, Demerara, and traveled to Colin’s home in England. Patience did all she could do to please Colin – she adopted English ways, she perfected her speech, but Colin always left her at home in the country while he lived mostly in London. He explained that he was doing it to protect her because as a Mulatto (or Blackamoor – I was never sure which) she would be ridiculed and not accepted.

When Colin committed suicide, his uncle, Markham, swooped in and took over. He put Patience in Bedlam and took over custody of Lionel. The story is about Patience doing whatever she had to do to gain custody of her son and to escape England. You’ll love how selfless, brave, and loving she is.

There wasn’t much time spent telling us exactly what The Widow’s Grace society is nor how it came to be. We are to just accept that it exists and that they found and rescued these two ladies from Bedlam. I really wish that there was more focus on who Patience was as a person rather than what she was. I understand that the author wanted to focus on the story as a person of color, but that isn’t all she was. I wanted to get to know and like her for who she was, and there was some of that – just not enough to suit me.

We got to meet the featured characters of the next book and I liked both of them. They are both mixed-race as well and are struggling to find acceptance within London society. Since I liked both characters in this book, I’ll give the next one a read as well.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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