cover image A Duke, the Spy, an Artist and a Lie

A Duke, the Spy, an Artist and a Lie

Vanessa Riley. Zebra, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5227-2

The marriage of convenience trope gets a fresh spin in Riley’s outstanding final Rogues and Remarkable Women Regency romance (after An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler), which sees a Jamaican heiress marry a British spy to save his life. When widower Lord Felton Lance Gantry is almost captured by guards on his latest mission, Cecilia Thomas swoops in to save him by lying about their acquaintance. Cecilia hopes to avoid the eager suitors who are after her dowry and Gantry to maintain his cover, so the pair agree to a marriage of convenience. Adventurous Cecilia, a painter, expects to find excitement in their union. Instead, Gantry abandons her at his family home. In Gantry’s absence, Cecilia turns to Gantry’s father, Tramel, for comfort, and when Cecilia discovers that her sister, Helena, is in danger, Tramel helps rescue her. Then Helena dies, leaving behind a baby, leading Cecilia to reevaluate her life and seek a divorce. But Gantry won’t concede, and a tantalizing game of cat and mouse ensues as Gantry tries to win Cecilia back. Riley masterfully plays up the will-they-won’t-they between husband and wife as the emotionally charged romance twists to its conclusion. This sends out the series on a high note. Agent: Sarah Younger, NYLA. (Apr.)