Review: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)

Title: Bringing Down the Duke
Author: Evie Dunmore
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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….

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order. 

Review:

Annabelle Archer is excited to be moving to Oxford to study and support the women’s suffrage movement. She had to convince her cousin to let her go, but with some persuading, he allowed it. Annabelle’s work with the suffrage group leads her to Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery. Annabelle is in charge of securing his support for the cause, but he opposes it. When Annabelle and Sebastian spend time together, they start to fall for each other, but it wouldn’t be proper for a Duke to be with a commoner, right?

This was a great enemies to lovers romance! There were some quite steamy scenes, especially considering it takes place in the nineteenth century. These characters didn’t let social conventions stand in their way of getting what they wanted.

Even though it was a romance, there were some serious issues in this story. Annabelle and her friends fought for women’s rights, which got them into trouble. The question of a woman’s place in marriage was also a prominent issue. Annabelle was offered an opportunity to be a mistress, because she wasn’t at the right social standing to be a wife to that man. They had to marry for business and social rules, not for love. These serious topics made the story seem more realistic, because there wasn’t always an idealistic outlook for the characters.

This is such a great Victorian romance!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Other books in the series:

  • A Rogue of One’s Own

Have you read Bringing Down the Duke? What did you think of it?

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