Vanessa Riley

Looking for a Good Romance?

From the sets of Hallmark's Sense and Sensibility to her southern porch, Vanessa Riley delivers a unique take on Regency Romance. A Gamble at Sunset offers a Fresh Perspective on Love, Loss, and Redemption. 

Lists with A Gamble At Sunset:


Award-winning author Vanessa Riley turns all convention on its head for the first in an enchanting, dazzlingly diverse new Regency romance trilogy featuring a duke, three sisters, and a tantalizing bet with a most desirable reward...


When a duke discovers the woman he loves was tricked into marrying another, the master chess player makes the now-widowed Viscountess the highest-stakes wager of his life in a last-ditch effort to win her affection: he will find husbands for her two sisters--or depart forever. Thus begins a sparkling new series, Betting Against the Duke, Book One - A Gamble At Sunset.

Vanessa Riley Author of Historical Fiction Mystery and Romance

Vanessa Riley, here.


You are powerful, even when you don't feel like a super hero. My goal is to embolden and encourage you through my novels which reclaim and reimagine the true lives of women who dared to dream, explore, and build. 
Hello, I am Vanessa Riley, award-winning author, honored as the 2023 Georgia Literary Fiction Author of the Year, spotlight hidden narratives of Black women and women of color in novels like Island Queen and Queen of Exiles. My works emphasize strong sisterhoods, diverse communities, and power across historical fiction, romance, and mystery genres. I've been featured in the AJC, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Publisher Weekly, and the New York Times.
Welcome to this safe space. I have resources for you and your book clubs, for researchers and fellow history nerds. Start with my newsletter where I share historical tidbits, laugh-out-loud moments, lifestyle and travel escapes, and secrets.


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Looking for a Murder Mystery?

Lady Worthing has her deadliest case yet.


An unexpected blizzard strands Lady Worthing, Commander Henderson, and Miss Sewell at Lord Duncan's with his now-houseguests. Suddenly, an evening of fine dining, fine brandy, and insightful debate becomes an inescapable--and deadly--ordeal. The ultimate test for Abigail's skill. One of the dinner guests is found dead in front of the Berkley Square mansion. And when another guest is murdered, Abigail discovers each had received a taunting, prophetic nursery rhyme . . . coincidence, or clues left by a killer on the loose?

The Lady Worthing Series is great for book clubs. Can you beat the sleuth?


Some of the Lists Featuring Lady Worthing


Sisters AARP          

Learn More About Lady Worthing Mysteries

Murder in Westminster

The first in a vibrant, inclusive new historical mystery series by acclaimed author Vanessa Riley portrays the true diversity of the Regency-era, as a widow whose skin color and notorious family history have left her with few friends she can rely on - just as the local vicar names her the prime suspect in a murder case. . .


"Vanessa Riley deftly combines historical fact with an exhilarating story and a truly inclusive cast of characters. . . . A triumph: atmospheric, evocative, and utterly irresistible."
- Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily series 
"A fresh, unique take on the Regency. . . . Lady Worthing is an intrepid and unforgettable heroine. ."
- Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries
"Vanessa Riley breathes new life into the genre."
- Sherry Thomas, USA Today bestselling author of the Lady Sherlock series 
Recommended by: 
      Highly Recommend Mystery Best Mystery diverse mystery Black Historical  Regency MysteryAmazon editor's Pick for Mystery Best Mystery diverse mystery Black Historical  Regency Mystery


See the Praise Murder in Westminster

Sister Mother Warrior

Two women join together to defeat their oppressors and help a nation become free. Based on the true lives of Adbaraya Toya and Marie-Clair Bonheur. Riley was named the 2023 Georgia Author of the Year Awards Literary Fiction Winner for Sister Mother Warrior.

Sister Mother Warrior is a Summer Pick for Starred Review for the following:


Library Journal Starred Review  AudioFile Magazine Audible Award Essence List of Top Books  Atlanta Journal-Constitution  USA Today Bookbub Best Historical Fiction        Amazon Editor's Pick  for historical fiction, Black historical fiction, Black History, Caribbean History  Historical Novel Society


Learn More about Sister Mother Warrior

Library Journal Review - "Riley follows up Island Queen with another sweeping, powerful historical novel based on two remarkable real women."


Island Queen

A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies.

Bookclubs and Booksellers' Picks and Starred Reviews:




New York Times Book Review - "Island Queen provides an incisive interior view of some of the thorniest aspects of West Indian colonial culture. Evocative and immersive, Riley's narrative bears that weight with grace; discovering Dorothy's story is a singular pleasure."


Click For More News on Island Queen 

Island Queen has been optioned for an adaptation to Television by Longboat Pictures with Julie Anne Robinson, Adjoa Andoh, and Victoria Fea as executive producers.