Title: Bringing Down the Duke (League of Extraordinary Women #1)
Author: Evie Dunmore
Format: Paperback, 356 pages
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: I’m not a romance reader. Or, at least I wasn’t until I read Red, White and Royal Blue (you can check out my review here). And I enjoyed that one so much I decided to give this one a try. I’d been seeing it a lot on Twitter thanks to @Drunk_Austen and it sounded interesting enough that one day after work while I was standing in the cafe waiting for my coffee I decided on a whim to buy a copy. Once I had my coffee and paid for my copy I sat down and started reading. And I could not put it down.
I finally left my bookstore after a couple of hours to go home and once I was home and had fed the dog, and petted the cats, and had dinner myself I opened this book up again and read until just past midnight when I finished.
I hardly ever read books in (basically) one sitting.
I found the characters well developed and interesting and the plot moved along at a quick but appropriate pace. I was invested in Annabelle’s story and I related a lot to what she was going through outside of her love story. I’ve always assumed that romance books focus solely on the relationship between the main characters, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much time the story spent on Annabelle’s pursuit of her studies and her work promoting the women’s suffrage in England. I also enjoyed the diversity in personality types and backgrounds of the other female characters and I was just as invested in their stories as I was Annabelle’s. and I’m looking forward to learning more about those characters and reading their own stories as Dunmore continues this series.
Dunmore has done a great job weaving the history of Victorian England with her original characters and thus I would recommend this one to romance readers and historical fiction lovers a like. I also think this is a great book for introducing readers to the Romance genre who don’t know where to start or are wanting to read something other than a contemporary romance.
Up Next: A Rogue of One’s Own (League of Extraordinary Women #2)
Set for September 1st, 2020 Dunmore’s next novel pits a headstrong suffragette against a rogue “bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart”. Check it out here in Goodreads!