From the Back 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…
Evie Dunmore’s BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my first foray into historical romance, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Dunmore writes with an intensely witty voice, sarcastic and charming. Pair that with significant historical research and we have an intelligent, laugh-out-loud funny debut novel.
“The trouble with freedom is it isn’t just an empty phrase that serves well in a speech. The desire to be free is an instinct deeply ingrained in every living thing. Trap any wild animal, and it will bite off its own paw to be free again. Capture a man, and breaking free will become his sole mission.”
I personally found BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE a bit tricky to get into at first, because Dunmore throws her reader directly into the story with slim-to-none introduction on behalf of the characters. Once I finally learned who was who, hardly any time passed before Annabelle and Sebastian’s romance begins! Though I love the pair–Annabelle, an Oxford-educated country girl, and Sebastian, a proper English Duke reminiscent of none other than Mr. Darcy–and the unique chemistry they shared, their relationship felt rushed and anti-climactic. For this reason, I grew bored about halfway through the novel, and struggled to finish. However, I did end up finishing, more so for Annabelle’s journey as a suffragist bluestocking than for any other reason.
BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE is by far the smartest romance novel I have read thus far. Though I did struggle with bits of the novel, specifically the pacing of the romance itself, I admire Dunmore’s writing voice and the amount of historical fact she included in her novel. Perfect for fans of PRIDE & PREJUDICE and period romance, Dunmore’s debut BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE is a wild ride through nineteenth century England, full of swoon-worthy moments as well as interesting insight into the women’s suffrage movement.