Bringing Down the Duke
By: Evie Dunmore
Published: September 3rd, 2019
From the Cover:
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….
Those of you who know me best know I love British Literature. I took several classes in high school with some fantastic professors who introduced me to a period of writing that resonated with me. It also didn’t hurt that my favorite movie was “Pride and Prejudice” (The Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen version). It wasn’t long before I had devoured all of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and some of the romantic poets. Even years later, I find myself drawn to all things British literature. So, when I came across this book and saw that it not only was a British romance, but also took place in the 1800s, I was hooked.
I find I’m a little more critical of romance novels than I am of others. It’s got to have characters that feel realistic but aren’t hopeless. There has to be an undeniable chemistry between the two main characters, but this can’t be the main focus of the book. There have to be conflict and this conflict has to be more complex than the faults of the characters themselves. No common tropes! Finally, it’s got to have that happy ending (a deceivingly easy task, but harder to pull off well).
This book hits all of those things and some more. It throws in a feminist flare, which is uncommon in popular romance but even more so in novels that are supposed to take place in a time period before women had the right to vote. It also adds in history of women’s suffrage in England and resonates well with present day and the measures individuals are still taking for gender equality. What I can say about this book is that it will hook you from the beginning and not let go. I’m pretty sure I finished this book in one sitting and that’s exactly how I prefer my romance books.
My only complaint (and this is me being picky) is that I felt like for a “historical romance” novel, it felt almost a little too contemporary. It’s hard to replicate the language of the time period and the thoughts and actions of the characters, but I feel like more work could have been done to fully polish the novel. None of this seems to detract from the plot and story itself, but it’s why I won’t be giving it a full 5 stars. All of my fellow Pride and Prejudice lovers need to grab this book fast!