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A DUKE, THE LADY, AND A BABY by Vanessa Riley


From the Rogues and Remarkable Women series, volume 1

by Vanessa Riley

Pub Date: June 30th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4201-5223-4
Publisher: Zebra/Kensington

A woman must infiltrate her own home in order to care for her infant son after the death of her husband.

Patience is a West Indian heiress who married Colin Jordan, a proper English gentleman. Patience loved her husband, but he became remote and distant over the course of their brief marriage and died before meeting their now 3-month-old son, Lionel. Colin’s evil uncle, Markham, forcibly removes Patience from her home and sends her to Bedlam, the mental asylum, hoping to gain control of her large trust by claiming he is Lionel’s sole remaining relative. After escaping Bedlam with a friend, Patience is determined to find a way to regain control of her trust and take Lionel back to her home island, where he will be safe. Her plan is thrown into chaos with the arrival of Colin’s cousin and heir, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, who inherited their home and is Lionel’s true legal guardian. Busick fires all the servants and bans Markham from the house, paving the way for Patience to disguise herself as a wet nurse for Lionel. Although Busick cares for Lionel and wants to be a good guardian, Patience can’t trust him with her secrets. Busick already believes she abandoned Lionel, and he’ll never understand the toxic mix of racism and sexism that allowed Markham to get rid of her so easily. Riley’s use of first-person narration for Patience highlights both her desperation to save her son and her ability to see how English society has failed them. Slowly, Patience learns to trust Busick, and they decide to work together to bring down Markham. The Duke’s affection for Lionel and the way the three bond as a family is the primary love story; Busick and Patience's romantic relationship as partners and lovers is underdeveloped and emotionally flat.

A slow, almost stolid, story of how a family develops against great odds.