Summary from Goodreads: Created by a shrewd countess, The Widow’s Grace is a secret society with a mission: to help ill-treated widows regain their status, their families, and even find true love again—or perhaps for the very first time…
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?
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.
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby published in June 30!
Dear FTC: I read a digital galley form the publisher via Netgally.