Bringing Down the Duke
By Evie Dunmore
Published by Berkley
What it’s about?
Annabelle Archer is the unmarried, clever daughter of a vicar. Her options are limited but she earns a scholarship at Oxford in return for her involvement with the rising women’s suffrage movement.
She is given the task of campaiging men of influence to gain support for changes to the rights of women and influence parliament. Annabelle’s target is Sebastian Devereaux, Duke of Montgomery, a key adviser to Queen Victoria who is leading the campaign to reelect Disraeli.
After a scandalous divorce, Montgomery is working hard to rebuild his reputation and the family legacy all but destroyed by drunken his father. With society expecting him to remarry soon, he needs to find a suitable Duchess. Montgomery find himself fighting his feelings for Annabelle who would make a very unsuitable wife.
Annabelle and Montgomery are more than a match for each other and the atraction is mutual, but the differences between them are huge. The battle to bring down the Duke begins.
What I think:
I really enjoyed this book. It follows the tradition of Regency romances – impoverished but beautiful women and rich handsome men who go against society’s expectations for true love. It reminded me of Stefanie Laurens’ Cynster series, but with a late Victorian/suffragette twist.
Annabelle is clever and witty as well as beautiful. Trapped in poverty and forced to act as housekeeper for her cousing she is miserable and her intelligence is wasted. Studying at Oxford is the chance she needs to build her future.
Her fellow female students, the blue-stockings, may have money to support them, but also face criticism for their bookish and artistic pursuits. the y are funny and charming and just really a Victorian gal gang who looks out for each other.
Annabelle is a character that you can instatntly warm to; she is a very modern heroine. She has in the past, gone against society’s expectations and paid the price. She is thoughtful and sensitive as well as resilient. She fights for what she wants and holds on to her prinicples when she could gain financially from compromise.
It is clear from the beginning that her and Sebastian are meant to be together. But with neither of them willing to compromise the reader is left guessing whether or not this going to happen. It seems that everything and all levels of society are against them.
I won’t spoil the ending of the book, needless to say it is of course happy!
This is the first in the League of Extraordinary Women series – the next book follows the adventures of Lady Lucie and the futher adventures of the Oxford suffragettes. If the rest of the series are as good as the debut then it is goung to be a good read.
I read this a BABbookclub readalong on Bookstagram and everyone seems to be really positive – lots of people read the book in one or two sittings which is always the sign of something good!
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore is available from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here