Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore is a dazzling, feminist historical romance. It’s also Dunmore’s debut novel and the first in her new series.
Note: this review was originally posted August 26, 2019 on curlybookowl.com.
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….
I’m very new to the historical romance genre, but I won a copy of Bringing Down the Duke in a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited to give the genre a try. I am so glad that I did!
The brilliant Annabelle Archer has just earned a place in the first cohort of female students at Oxford. As part of her scholarship, she must recruit men of influence to champion the women’s suffragist movement. One of her targets is Sebastian Devereux, the Duke of Montgomery, a cunning political strategist and member of the Tory party. They are perfectly matched in every way except for the one that matters most: Annabelle is a commoner.
It’s not a novel premise—a man and a woman from different social classes fall in love—but Bringing Down the Duke is a witty and heart-stoppingly romantic addition to the genre. Set against the backdrop of the suffragist movement in England, it’s also got a delightful feminist take.
Annabelle and Sebastian had scorching chemistry. More than that, though, they had so much respect for themselves and for the other. You could feel how deeply both of them valued the other’s wit and cleverness. Plus, there was no shortage of fun banter between the two.
I physically swooned on more than one occasion. Yes, you read that correctly: I SWOONED. You can’t blame me, though, not when there are so many swoon-worthy moments like when Sebastian says, “These wild depths in you, they call to me.” I also got some serious Darcy vibes from Sebastian, especially when he was trying to communicate his feelings initially:
“Annabelle. I’m aware that we have not been acquainted for long, if one merely counts the days. And yet…surely you must know…how much you occupy his thoughts.”
I still can’t believe this is Evie Dunmore’s debut. Bringing Down the Duke is a must-read, not just for fans of historical romance, but for all romance fans. I am already anxiously awaiting the next book in this delightful series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has not impacted or influenced my review or opinions.