Book Review: A Duke, the Lady and a Baby


Vanessa Riley

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

published: 30th June 2020
spoilers? maybe some

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?

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: past suicide, non-consensual drug use, murder

A Duke, the Lady and a Baby was up there as one of my most anticipated reads for this year. I mean, just read the synopsis! It sounds amazing.

And yet.

And.

Yet.

The best way for me to explain how I felt about this book is this little anecdote. About 30 pages in, maybe less, I came across an… interesting euphemism (to say the least) for sex. A euphemism that left me giggling for hours, and one I still can’t think about without bursting into laughter.

The fleshly congress.

And really, this set the tone for the book as a whole. Granted, I hadn’t particularly liked the writing before now – it felt a little grandiloquent, in all honesty – so I was sort of predisposed not to really enjoy the book. But then the euphemism.

Romance books are good at finding ways to talk about sex through euphemisms, I know this. But this euphemism was so laughable, I just couldn’t cope. I couldn’t read more than a few pages before remembering the fleshly congress. To be perfectly honest, I think I got through the book in the hopes of finding more such euphemisms. Unfortunately, there were none (the sex scene was fade to black…).

As much as it put me off, that euphemism was probably the best thing about the book.

Because there were a number of other aspects of it that irritated me. For one, Busick (not a romantic-sounding name at all) basically browbeats her into marrying him. And I know I have read and liked a lot of romance books that are predicated on something similar (it is quite hard to escape a case of the male character using his societal power over the female character in some way, I am resigned to this), but here it just didn’t work for me.

And they also seem to just decide they are in love without there actually being any evidence for it. They don’t even communicate very well, for crying out loud!

So in the end, this went from being one of my most anticipated reads to one of my most disappointing ones.

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