Bringing Down the Duke
A League of Extraordinary Women, Book #1
By Evie Dunmore
Author Website: eviedunmore(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke. (Goodreads)
Bringing Down the Duke is flat out fun! Evie Dunmore has taken a common theme in historical romances (unsuitable couples) and made it fresh and entertaining.
The story features clever Annabelle and her newly found suffragette friends at Oxford, where she is a scholarship student. Charged by the group with swaying important people in politics to take on the cause for women’s right to vote, she sets her sights on Sebastian, the uber-influential Duke of Montgomery. He rejects her platform but is definitely attracted to the socially unsuitable vicar’s daughter. He is consumed with his reputation, his legacy, and his thoughts of her. Needless to say, he is stunned to find Annabelle and her friends, invited by his brother, at his home for the Christmas holiday. Thus ensues a delightful push and pull as the two work through their feelings, assumptions, and social challenges.
One might think that a novel about suffragettes would be feminist in nature. Even though Annabelle is smart, plucky, and independent, she is conventional in her want for financial security and love. I have no problem with this as it keeps the story true to its late nineteenth century time period. Sebastian is a pretty classic alpha-type male romantic interest, but I find him appealing. Dunmore gets their palpable chemistry and witty banter just right. The story is compulsively readable and moves along at a quick pace.
Is this book always historically correct? Probably not. Is it a woke battle cry for women’s rights and equality? Not really. It is an entertaining, diverting read in these troubled times, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended to any historical romance fan looking for well drawn characters and sizzling romance.