web site hit counter Bringing Down the Duke - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Bringing Down the Duke

Availability: Ready to download

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 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.


Compare

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 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.

30 review for Bringing Down the Duke

  1. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    So much FUN!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    3.5 stars. There are many good qualities with this book, but at the same time, I wasn't as invested or giddy as I usually am for other romance books I've read. Some things I enjoyed: the focus on women pioneers, the discussion about women's roles and position in society and their own homes, the friendship between the suffragists, the banter between the protagonist and the love interest, and the yearning from the love interest as well. While their initial attraction to each other felt forced at f 3.5 stars. There are many good qualities with this book, but at the same time, I wasn't as invested or giddy as I usually am for other romance books I've read. Some things I enjoyed: the focus on women pioneers, the discussion about women's roles and position in society and their own homes, the friendship between the suffragists, the banter between the protagonist and the love interest, and the yearning from the love interest as well. While their initial attraction to each other felt forced at first, I enjoyed their intelligent conversations - they felt genuine and showed the characters making real connections over important topics. I wish they had connected this way first and the physical attraction came in slowly later, as that would have been more natural. Unlike other romances I’ve read, the conflict in the last 1/3 of the book was actually warranted - I believed the stakes and the consequences here, and appreciate the complicated sacrifices that weighed their actions. However, I was a little turned off by how often the love interest would get angry and arrogant towards the protagonist if he didn’t get his way - this was his reaction to everything, even in the last 1/3, and it felt selfish. The protagonist also became very emotionally dependent on him, and I wish she had stood her ground more firmly in her decisions and what she believed in, especially since this book is supposed to be about suffragists. I think if she were more adamant in her values and individuality, and if he were served a bigger slice of humble pie and sacrificed more to meet her in the middle, the story would have been more impactful and he would have had more satisfying character development beyond a grand gesture at the end. Regardless, I am open to reading the sequel when it comes out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i like historical fiction and i like romance, so i have no idea why its taken me so long to get onboard the historical romance train. but i am so happy this was my first ride into the genre. there are so many things i enjoyed about this. first, the writing is delightful - the story is written with a quality that is very reminiscent of the time period, but also feel refreshingly modern. additionally, although much of the story focuses on the social structure of victorian england and the politics t i like historical fiction and i like romance, so i have no idea why its taken me so long to get onboard the historical romance train. but i am so happy this was my first ride into the genre. there are so many things i enjoyed about this. first, the writing is delightful - the story is written with a quality that is very reminiscent of the time period, but also feel refreshingly modern. additionally, although much of the story focuses on the social structure of victorian england and the politics that surround social positions, i was never bored. i enjoyed the feminist inclusion and found the womens suffrage subplot enlightening. and i am wholeheartedly behind annabelle and sebastian as a couple. their banter, their exchanges of wit, and their palpable chemistry make them such entertaining characters. i am really impressed with this debut novel and i am very much looking forward to reading more about other extraordinary women in the upcoming books for this series. ↠ 4.5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Siria

    This is a book featuring suffragettes, but this is not a feminist book. In fact, Bringing Down the Duke seems to use its thin veneer of wokeness as an excuse to revel in gender essentialism. Pretty much every encounter between the two leads mentioned "feminine warmth" and "masculine hardness", so I had strained my eyes from rolling them so hard before I was very far into the book. The love interest—Sebastian, Duke of Montgomery—is the kind of alpha male character to whom I have an instant aversi This is a book featuring suffragettes, but this is not a feminist book. In fact, Bringing Down the Duke seems to use its thin veneer of wokeness as an excuse to revel in gender essentialism. Pretty much every encounter between the two leads mentioned "feminine warmth" and "masculine hardness", so I had strained my eyes from rolling them so hard before I was very far into the book. The love interest—Sebastian, Duke of Montgomery—is the kind of alpha male character to whom I have an instant aversion. He's constantly looming over the protagonist, Annabelle, using his size against her, grabbing her by the arm to stop her from getting her away, backing her into walls. He clearly gets off on this, and spends time when he's not with her fantasising about forcing her into marriage and clapping himself on the back for having the self-control not to rape her. He is emotionally abusive towards his younger brother in a way that the narrative never recognises—and yet the narrative would have us believe that Sebastian is one of those good feudal overlords who only ever has the best interests of his tenants at heart. Please! And then there's Annabelle, who repeatedly acts like an idiot, but whom we're told is very smart because she's read Thucydides; whose political and moral principles seem to be based on the best interests of whomever she last spoke to; and who never once seemed like the impoverished but genteel daughter of a rural Victorian clergyman whom she purported to be. Her defining personality trait, really, is that she's Not Like the Other Girls—hence why she'll go to a ball in a skintight, fashionable gown with no undergarments on underneath! Even on a practical level this wouldn't have been possible given how gowns were constructed then, but Annabelle just draws all the men's eyes with her astounding beauty, etc. Add to this the vague but disturbing racial undertones (Annabelle is stunningly beautiful, and this is implied to be because of distant French aristocratic or even royal descent; Sebastian looks "Nordic", which means blond and square-jawed; the description of Disraeli and another Jewish-coded character made me squirm); the dialogue which far too often sounds more 21st-century American than it does 1870s upper-class British and which uses terms like "existential angst" which would not be coined for several more decades; the vicious pantomime dame caricature of Queen Victoria (look, I'm an Irishwoman with a disdain for the system of monarchy and if I think it's an unfair caricature...); the melodramatic plot; and the complete and utter lack of any historical research or understanding (Dunmore repeatedly messes up forms of address for the aristocracy on the most basic level, has someone practicing underwater archaeology in Greece in the 1870s when the first such excavations don't take place until the 1950s or '60s, etc). Plus on the very last page, when our happy couple have overcome what we are told is crushing societal disapproval and scandal concerning a duke's decision to marry a mere gentleman's daughter (uh huh) and are making out on a yacht in the Mediterranean (sure), the verb used in Sebastian's inner monologue to describe having sex with his wife? "Mount." Like I said: this is a book featuring suffragettes. This is not a feminist book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    And another debut author smashes it out of the park in 2019! "It is becoming clear to be me why a fair girl like you has been left on the shelf. You are not only bookish but a radical political activist. All highly impractical in a wife." BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was just.. pure fun? Deliciously swoony? Just the right amount of angst? There came a time in a duke's life when he rarely encountered an honest opinion, where he could be on his way to hell in a handcart and everyone would politely step asi And another debut author smashes it out of the park in 2019! "It is becoming clear to be me why a fair girl like you has been left on the shelf. You are not only bookish but a radical political activist. All highly impractical in a wife." BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was just.. pure fun? Deliciously swoony? Just the right amount of angst? There came a time in a duke's life when he rarely encountered an honest opinion, where he could be on his way to hell in a handcart and everyone would politely step aside and wish him godspeed. You might find yourself looking at this plot summary and thinking, sure sure, read that HR a thousand times. Bluestocking attracts a Duke? Nothing new. And yeah okay maybe. But that doesn't mean this isn’t worth your time. "Have you by any chance missed that class at finishing school where they teach you to feign delightful ignorance in the presence of a man?" "I’m afraid so." These characters all but leap off the page. The attraction, the chemistry, the sizzle is.. damn. Their backstory has elements of drama but are never overblown, or overwrought, and come out in the open naturally without being held onto until the last minute. Every up and down, back and forth, push and pull, was so.. organic? And also, strangely, refreshing. Additionally the side characters, the bluestocking suffragettes, were just fabulous. All of them. Hattie might have been my favourite. "Did you really give a man a nosebleed?" "Yes." "Why?" "I suppose because the village lads I ran with as a girl didn't teach me how to slap like a lady." The specifics of the setting, that this takes place during the opening of the first women's college, and focuses mostly on women's rights, feminism, and the injustice of the sexes, I mean.. there's never a wrong time to tackle those issues but right now it feels so so timely. And how sad is that; this book is set in 1879 and here we are.. still fighting. She had never really known her place. Where others were appropriately intimidated, she seemed oddly intrigued by the challenge. This debut is so strong and so clever. The cover might make it seem that this is all lighthearted joy and hijinks but don't be fooled. This is a love story between people who have their eyes wide open. Who are sensible, and logical, and intelligent. Who know the implausibilities of a union between them and fight it because they know better. Which makes that tension even more delicious. And yes, sure, there is still fun to be had. "Would you have me change my place in history to prove how much I want you?" BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE is compulsively readable and a delight to devour; I finished this in a shockingly small handful of hours which, considering my slumpy month, is a miracle. And I'm ecstatic to see that not only are we guaranteed more from this debut author, but we're getting more from this series and set of characters. I'm going to be clamouring for more A League of Extraordinary Women books and likely seriously regretting my decision to read this early because now the wait will feel even longer than just a year. 4.5 stars ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Evie Dunmore writes a smart historical romance set in the Victorian era that takes place amidst the suffragette campaign for women's rights by getting parliament to amend the married women's property act. There is implacable opposition to this from all corners, not just from men alone but other women too, and including the Tory party and Queen Victoria. It is 1879, and the over educated, beautiful but destitute 25 year old Annabelle, inveigles her way to study amongst the first group of women at Evie Dunmore writes a smart historical romance set in the Victorian era that takes place amidst the suffragette campaign for women's rights by getting parliament to amend the married women's property act. There is implacable opposition to this from all corners, not just from men alone but other women too, and including the Tory party and Queen Victoria. It is 1879, and the over educated, beautiful but destitute 25 year old Annabelle, inveigles her way to study amongst the first group of women at Oxford University after gaining a modest scholarship, for which she must support the radical political suffragettes led by Lady Lucie Tedbury, and their campaign to recruit powerful men of influence to champion their cause. Annabelle has the task of recruiting one of the most powerful men in the land, the Duke of Montgomery, Sebastian Devereux, a cold hard man whose home Annabelle, and her two fellow bluestockings, Hattie and Catriona, manage to infiltrate. Things do not go to plan as Annabelle becomes ill and a surprisingly strong attraction between the two of them grows . However, after an affair gone wrong in the past, Annabelle is distinctly wary, determined not to repeat her errors of judgement. Montgomery himself is taken aback by his feelings for Annabelle but he has his future mapped out with the possibility of finally attaining what he has always wanted. Additionally, his hands are full with a troublesome brother, Peregrin, a meddling Queen, and organising a political campaign to ensure the Tories win the next election. This is a time where the upper classes in England used marriage as a tool to secure alliances that enriched them further in the acquisition of more land, money and power. Marriage to Annabelle, a country girl of no consequence would cause a scandal of earth shattering proportions that Montgomery cannot afford. Other possible arrangements for their love are stymied by an Annabelle unwilling to ruin her life, her reputation, or lose her self respect. Dunmore writes a fun and highly entertaining historical novel that takes account of some serious issues of the day regarding the fight for women's rights, outlining just how much it cost women to fight the ruthless forces arraigned against them, many finding themselves imprisoned, their reputations in tatters, not to mention having their educational opportunities taken away. The characterisation is done well with the smart charismatic Annabelle and Sebastian's character development shifting him fundamentally from the person he was at the beginning to who he becomes by the end. This a a novel that I enjoyed reading far more than I expected to, and would recommend to others. It's the first of a series, and I look forward to the next one. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    In Bringing Down the Duke, Annabelle is strong and capable, but destitute. When an opportunity to study at Oxford presents itself, she grabs it with both hands. It comes with a scholarship that stipulates her involvement with the women's suffrage movement. She needs to lobby men of influence to their cause, which is how her path crosses with the Duke of Montgomery's. This story has everything I love in a romance. Annabelle is smart and competent, and she's not afraid to work hard to make the best In Bringing Down the Duke, Annabelle is strong and capable, but destitute. When an opportunity to study at Oxford presents itself, she grabs it with both hands. It comes with a scholarship that stipulates her involvement with the women's suffrage movement. She needs to lobby men of influence to their cause, which is how her path crosses with the Duke of Montgomery's. This story has everything I love in a romance. Annabelle is smart and competent, and she's not afraid to work hard to make the best of her meager situation. Montgomery is dashing and attentive. Though he comes across a bit cold in the beginning, Annabelle slowly thaws him out. He finds her fascinating not just for her pretty face, but also for her sharp mind. Even though she's resilient and can take care of herself, he's still protective of her and comes to her aid. There is so much witty banter and meaningful dialog everywhere. And the Victorian era reticence and propriety just adds to the whole charming atmosphere. I also really enjoyed the look into the women's suffrage movement. It's the perfect companion and back story to this romance, as it mirrors the value Annabelle places on her independence and her reluctance to hand over any powers to a man. It's uplifting and thought-provoking to read about what strong women went through back in the day to ensure we have the rights we do today. I'm a romantic at heart, so I'm always searching for the perfect romance that speaks to me. And I found exactly what I was looking for in this book. Strong women and the dashing men who value them for their mind and their wit will do it for me every time. I pretty much swooned from beginning to end. After this, I'll read anything by Evie Dunmore. The next book in the series comes out in the fall, and I can't wait!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    Fantastic I enjoyed this romantic historical fiction so much that I am impatiently waiting for the next in this series! Annabelle Archer is an English country girl on her way to the University of Oxford in 1879. She will be one of the first female students, but she is charged with supporting the women's suffrage movement in exchange for her scholarship. Sebastian Devereux is the most powerful man in England and the the Duke of Montgomery.  He is a bit cold and very intimidating. Also, an extrem Fantastic I enjoyed this romantic historical fiction so much that I am impatiently waiting for the next in this series! Annabelle Archer is an English country girl on her way to the University of Oxford in 1879. She will be one of the first female students, but she is charged with supporting the women's suffrage movement in exchange for her scholarship. Sebastian Devereux is the most powerful man in England and the the Duke of Montgomery.  He is a bit cold and very intimidating. Also, an extremely handsome, dashing knight-in-shining armor! Enjoyed it so much! Fun, full of time period history and setting, steamy tension between Annabelle and the Duke (loved them both). Sexy, fun romance. I cheered for these two all the way. The duke reminded me of the character Ross from Poldark (swoon worthy), an Amazon series that I love. This was a library loan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    JanB

    This historical romance is set in 1879 during the early days of the suffrage movement. Annabelle, a commoner, is a woman before her time and when the National Suffrage Women’s movement offers her a scholarship at Oxford’s first women’s college, she jumps at the chance. In return for the scholarship she is required to actively participate in the movement’s activities. This is where she runs into the very proper Duke. I loved the historical time period and Annabelle is a worthy heroine of the genre This historical romance is set in 1879 during the early days of the suffrage movement. Annabelle, a commoner, is a woman before her time and when the National Suffrage Women’s movement offers her a scholarship at Oxford’s first women’s college, she jumps at the chance. In return for the scholarship she is required to actively participate in the movement’s activities. This is where she runs into the very proper Duke. I loved the historical time period and Annabelle is a worthy heroine of the genre. She is outspoken, intelligent, and a woman who knows what she wants. The witty banter and budding romance between her and the Duke made this pure fun. The cover leads you to think it's a fluffy rom-com but be aware that it’s spicy and open-door. I was given a digital copy for review from EW but chose to listen to it on audio, which I highly recommend. This isn’t my typical genre but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 3.5 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    A steamy, intelligent and feel good historical romance, set in Victorian England at the time of the Suffragette movement! 1879, and Annabelle Archer, a beautiful but 'over educated' 25 year old becomes one of the first women to study at Oxford University. The fiery Miss Archer, is awarded a scholarship on the condition that she supports the Suffragette movement, and helps to recruit powerful men to the cause. It's whilst fulfilling this duty, that she first meets the wealthy and powerful Duke of A steamy, intelligent and feel good historical romance, set in Victorian England at the time of the Suffragette movement! 1879, and Annabelle Archer, a beautiful but 'over educated' 25 year old becomes one of the first women to study at Oxford University. The fiery Miss Archer, is awarded a scholarship on the condition that she supports the Suffragette movement, and helps to recruit powerful men to the cause. It's whilst fulfilling this duty, that she first meets the wealthy and powerful Duke of Montgomery (Sebastian), a cold and brooding man, with links to the Tory party and to Queen Victoria. He opposes everything she stands for, yet she finds herself fighting her attraction to him. Sebastian is a powerful man, with great ambition, who is looking for a wife of equal wealth and status, for an alliance, not a lower class blue stocking! Can they fight their attraction?!! I don't really read historical fiction, especially not historical romance, and I'm not really sure why?! I recently loved The Diviners series, and then I really enjoyed this! I need to look up some more Historical Romance with kick ass feminists in like Annabelle Archer and Evie O'Neill! Any suggestions?! What a great debut by Evie Dunmore! I am so happy with all of the amazing debuts coming out recently! This was a fantastic book, and I'm so happy that it is part of a series, and cannot wait to continue it! It was well written, funny, angsty and yet sweet, and I had a lot of fun reading it! It actually reminded me a lot of Pride and Prejudice with its slow building romance, which started off as hostility! I looooved Annabelle! She was so strong, independent, smart and feisty! I want her as my friend! Sebastian was so lovely, and attentive. I love it when a character comes across as cold and aloof, but secretly they have the biggest heart hidden away! It melts me every time! Their dynamic was amazing! They were both so fiercely intelligent and stubborn, with so much chemistry. The sexual tension was strong in this one, and I revelled in it! Their relationship was actually a lot steamier than I expected it to be! Oh the angst as the Duke battled with his duty and his heart...swoon! I also really enjoyed the other characters in the book. Hattie, Lucie, Catriona and Peregrin! These side characters were all so well written, and I loved them! I especially loved the female friendships, and how they all supported each other! I'm really looking forward to learning more about them in the future books. All of the characters were so precious, except for the Tory party (booo!) and Queen Victoria. They can go suck eggs! I loved the Suffragettes element to the story! It was so emotive reading about how men, AND women saw and treated women! How many people thought that the female brain was feeble, and that intelligent women were unattractive! And yet amazing women didn't stand for this, and fought back! YESSSSS! It's crazy to think that women were fighting for their rights, against injustice and inequality in 1879, and yet here we still are...I really admire those women who fought so hard so that we could have more rights than they did. So yeah this was a light, fun and enjoyable read, and I would definitely recommend it! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

  11. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    I don’t read historical romances as much anymore. But there were years when I read nothing else than this genre. Spunky heroines, banter between hero and heroine, and women not afraid of going head to head with a duke was what made me come back again and again. Bringing Down the Duke is a debut novel with lots of potential. The book had some of my favorite aspects of historical romance novels and it also played during a time, the late 1800s, which isn’t often portrait in this genre. Most stories I don’t read historical romances as much anymore. But there were years when I read nothing else than this genre. Spunky heroines, banter between hero and heroine, and women not afraid of going head to head with a duke was what made me come back again and again. Bringing Down the Duke is a debut novel with lots of potential. The book had some of my favorite aspects of historical romance novels and it also played during a time, the late 1800s, which isn’t often portrait in this genre. Most stories are set during Regency England between 1811 and 1820. This novel plays during the time of suffragettes, when women were allowed to attend college and during the time of winning voting rights for females. It was certainly an exciting time. With many strong and forward thinking women. The author kept the information about that particular time well balanced. And I applaud her for writing about a not so overly covered period of time. Although not everything resonated with me the way I hoped it would. Nevertheless I really enjoyed the way the author portrayed that specific epoch of time. I think what was crucial for me was that even though I love modern and trail-blazing heroines, I didn’t feel that Annabelle was extraordinary for her time, not like the series promised. Moreover if it boils down to her fears, they were pretty much the same as any other woman in historical times, scandal, getting pregnant out of wedlock, being shunned, having to marry without love, and ending up as a mistress. OVERALL I EXPECTED SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good novel. I just wasn’t wowed by it. Nevertheless, the writing was great. The story flowed and it easily engaged, I just didn’t love it. ___________________________________ I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author. Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog. Find me on Bookstagram.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 11/1/20 I enjoyed this book, just not as much as I would have liked. I’m telling y’all, I think I’m definitely a mood reader 🤔. Who knows! Anyway, I thank my darling friend, Ginger, for referring this book. I will get it in a kindle sale some day 😘 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Somehow this cover brought to mind a rom com, but that is not what unfolds within these pages. Instead, it’s a clever historical romance, one like nothing I’ve read before, though I admit I am not a frequent historical romance reader. In late 19th century England, Annabelle Archer is the daughter of a country vicar, now penniless. Annabelle has joined the first class of female students at the University of Oxford. Her scholarship has a price, though, and a worthy one: she must advocate for women’ Somehow this cover brought to mind a rom com, but that is not what unfolds within these pages. Instead, it’s a clever historical romance, one like nothing I’ve read before, though I admit I am not a frequent historical romance reader. In late 19th century England, Annabelle Archer is the daughter of a country vicar, now penniless. Annabelle has joined the first class of female students at the University of Oxford. Her scholarship has a price, though, and a worthy one: she must advocate for women’s suffrage. She’s been told she must recruit men to support the cause, and in her sights is the Duke of Montgomery, Sebastian Devereux. Oh, and the Duke happens to be her political polar opposite, and handsome. So very handsome. At the same time, Sebastian is finding Annabelle’s green eyes irresistible; however, she’s a commoner and not fit to be his duchess. Even though this wasn’t a rom com, there were still funny moments. There were also some emotional times. I found the romance between Sebastian and Annabelle to feel authentic. The women’s suffrage movement during the Victorian era was a fascinating backdrop. Overall, Bringing Down the Duke surprised me with its heart, and I look forward to the next in the series. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melanie A. *mostly on hiatus*

    1st READ: Nov 2019 - 5+ STARS!! REREAD: Jan 2020 - 5++ STARS!! Better the second time around! ***A 2019 Top Pick*** 5+ STARS!!! His kisses had lifted a loneliness off her she hadn't even known she carried. SOOOOOOOO wonderful! After a bit of rocky start, I fell head over heels in love with Annabelle and Sebastian. Congratulations to Evie Dunmore . . .the writing was incredible, the characters had so much depth, and talk about feeling the story: this was impossible love at its best! 1st READ: Nov 2019 - 5+ STARS!! REREAD: Jan 2020 - 5++ STARS!! Better the second time around! ***A 2019 Top Pick*** 5+ STARS!!! His kisses had lifted a loneliness off her she hadn't even known she carried. SOOOOOOOO wonderful! After a bit of rocky start, I fell head over heels in love with Annabelle and Sebastian. Congratulations to Evie Dunmore . . .the writing was incredible, the characters had so much depth, and talk about feeling the story: this was impossible love at its best! And I adored how the story was woven into the political fabric of Victorian England. Audio: 4 STARS! So I almost regret listening to this one instead of reading it because I have no notes or highlights. :( I have every intention of doing an immediate re-read though, from the physical copy I'll be buying this weekend! It was really that good! Hopefully I'll write a proper review after that. :-)

  15. 5 out of 5

    EmBibliophile

    4.5 stars. "Have you by any chance missed that class at finishing school where they teach you to feign delightful ignorance in the presence of a man?" "I’m afraid so." This was such a fun, adorable, tension-filled, and intense romance! This book was so enjoyable to read. It has the equal amounts of funny hilarious moments, Intense emotional scenes, a delicious slow burn, and two stubborn characters who are just perfect for each other even if it’s kind of impossible for them to be together. I loved A 4.5 stars. "Have you by any chance missed that class at finishing school where they teach you to feign delightful ignorance in the presence of a man?" "I’m afraid so." This was such a fun, adorable, tension-filled, and intense romance! This book was so enjoyable to read. It has the equal amounts of funny hilarious moments, Intense emotional scenes, a delicious slow burn, and two stubborn characters who are just perfect for each other even if it’s kind of impossible for them to be together. I loved Annabelle and Sebastian so freakin much! Their chemistry was undeniable. I loved their banter, and how stubborn they both were. The writing was really good and the story was so captivating. I can’t wait for the next book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christina ~ Brunette Reader

    London, 1879 Handing a leaflet. Speaking few and incisive words. "One: identify a man of influence. Two: approach him firmly, but with a smile. Three: remember they can sense if you are afraid, but they are usually more afraid of you." How difficult can it be? Miss Annabelle Archer thinks. Instilling the rightness of the cause into the minds and consciences of that handful of men who could truly help breaking the other half of the population’s second class citizenship status quo. Inspiring London, 1879 Handing a leaflet. Speaking few and incisive words. "One: identify a man of influence. Two: approach him firmly, but with a smile. Three: remember they can sense if you are afraid, but they are usually more afraid of you." How difficult can it be? Miss Annabelle Archer thinks. Instilling the rightness of the cause into the minds and consciences of that handful of men who could truly help breaking the other half of the population’s second class citizenship status quo. Inspiring in them even just a kernel of that same passion for evolving, improving, changing that has led and sustained her during these difficult first months in Oxford. At 25, the offer of a stipend at Lady Margaret Hall, the first college recently allowing female students to attend, has been the miraculous, and last, opportunity to flee a life of frustration as an unpaid poor relation drudging her days away in her cousin’s house in Kent. Once rid of such confining environment and able to resume the literary and classical studies her father had introduced her to, joining the National Society for Women’s Suffrage has been the logical continuation in her quest for independence and a fruitful way to return her scholarship. "No decent woman would talk to a stranger in the street, certainly not while brandishing pamphlets that boldly declared The Married Women’s Property Act makes a slave of every wife!" Yet, here she is, in front of Westminster on a chilly October day, her first suffrage meeting, a cold mist dulling Parliament Square. And then the ideal target in sight, whoever he may be, "the kind who had his confidence bred into his bones, who oozed entitlement from the self-assured way he held himself to his perfectly straight aristo nose," and she the only activist among the ones in her group having the courage, or the foolishness, to accost him. The brief exchange has come to naught, of course, the icy façade he’s presented her has been answer enough, tough an instant sort of awareness has sparkled between them, "bright and disturbing like an electric current." And oh, he has been staring at her mouth. "No matter their position in the world, they all liked her mouth." Well, a duke no less, but he’s never going to be one of their political allies, so no use in keep glancing back in the direction his carriage has gone off... "The woman had had the softest, most inviting lips he’d seen on this side of the channel. [...] But what was more remarkable was that she had looked him straight in the eye. Sebastian Devereux, nineteenth Duke of Montgomery, has no time for brash suffragists. A protagonists of Britain’s politics and at only 35 one of the most powerful peers of the realm, with an unruly younger brother to manage, a scandalous divorce in his near past, the ancestral ducal seat to regain and now the Queen appointing him chief strategic advisor for the Tory party in the upcoming elections his life is already complicated as it is and, though not opposed on principle, adding support to women’s rights campaign on his agenda is out of the question. After all, it’s not as if he’s going to run into “Green Eyes” ever again... But things are destined to change when a shift in the course of action on the suffragists’ front brings these two rivals at close quarters. She might not exactly like him. But she very, very much wanted to make sense of him. [...] and he didn’t even feel inclined to question why a most unsuitable woman—a commoner, a bluestocking, a suffragist—would give him so much pleasure. Though if it is as they say that the personal is also a little bit political and vice versa, in this case a battle of wills, wits, hearts and souls is inevitable, or to put it in Annabelle’s own words: “Perhaps this is not a question of staying out of trouble, Your Grace. Perhaps this is about deciding on which side of history you want to be.” And a question of whether love or reason will prevail... or even better, a rare compromise between both... Debuting Ms. Dunmore has penned a winner, written with flair and suavity, presenting a smooth and evocative prose. A deliciously romantic story firmly grounded in the late Victorian setting, but posing some timeless questions about love against duty and honour or about reputation and safety against freedom and passion, questions that transcend the historical declinations and contingencies while making the tangible inner struggles of the characters deeply resonate. Not only it had all the "ingredients" I usually adore in a romance book, from the exquisite slow-burn tension to the accurately rendered and smoothly interwoven era bits and manners, but what impressed me the most was how skilfully balanced everything felt, to the point that if I hadn’t previously known this was the author’s first work, I would have ascribed it to a much more seasoned hand. There was humour and wit without descending into a lighter read. It was character-driven and often acutely introspective without being meandering, well-researched and slightly intellectual without being pedantic, tender and sweet without being cloying. There was a finely calibrated intensity that never lapsed into self-indulgent drama and an underlying opposites attract scenario able to go beyond the well-worn trope while renewing it through an intelligent and rounded leading couple. Annabelle and Sebastian are not the predictable pair, so common in the genre, composed by the smart-mouthed, anachronistically liberated heroine and the uppity nobleman with a hidden wild side, no, there was instead an authenticity to them which stemmed from the layered, nuanced and vibrant characterisations, so consistently immersed in the historical setting that each of their moves and skirting around also became a sort of social tableau on the customs and mores of their times. They act, think and behave like late Victorian people without becoming stale stereotypes and preserving their own unique personalities, and the realistic hurdles on the path of their relationship, when contemplating such vast class difference in those days, are not magically brushed aside but, on the contrary, cleverly turned into pivotal issues and plot-points. If Annabelle is portrayed as convincingly relatable, in her strengths and fragilities, smart and dignified in her beliefs and fights, I found that this book was mainly Sebastian’s journey and watching him finally come to terms with his inner "sentimental" self was sheer joy, as far as romances go. This strongly driven and complex man, with a cold and severe poise (and how much of it is just that, poise?), starts to gradually reconsider every aspect of his life and his outlook on his role and duties, with the same thoroughness he dedicates to political battles. Thanks to this compelling and passionate woman questioning him every step of the way, who challenges and infuriates him... and who probably makes him yearn for "more" for the first time in his privileged but somehow confining and inhibited existence. Once freed there’s no turning back, his love for her becomes vital and reverberates in his every action and word. All the above is held together by a subtle and bittersweet undercurrent of longing... for what it is, for what it might be... expressing in all the conversations, the gestures, the sensuality, the delicate love scenes, the barely restrained emotions, the careful flirtations, and oh so fitting the mood of two completely different realities coming face-to-face, like those of commoner early-feminist Annabelle and noblesse oblige conservative Sebastian, that have to decide which direction their own private world will have to take while the outer one glares disapprovingly. Their choices, torn between need and responsibility, will accompany the story to the hard-earned happy resolution, which felt even more romantic, poignant and satisfying as it was based in the realm of true-to-life, substantial possibilities.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I hate that I didn't quite love this one as much as everyone else. I mean, it's got a strong feminist vibe, good message about finding yourself, and main characters that aren't horrid. It just didn't grab me and pull me in like I wanted it to. I think it may have been the lack of humor? But for whatever reason, I never really felt invested in this couple. While I was interested in the Duke's brother and in Annabelle's friends, I really wasn't all that fascinated by either Annabelle or Sebastian. I hate that I didn't quite love this one as much as everyone else. I mean, it's got a strong feminist vibe, good message about finding yourself, and main characters that aren't horrid. It just didn't grab me and pull me in like I wanted it to. I think it may have been the lack of humor? But for whatever reason, I never really felt invested in this couple. While I was interested in the Duke's brother and in Annabelle's friends, I really wasn't all that fascinated by either Annabelle or Sebastian. I really didn't see what Annabelle saw in him. Eventually, yes, he was quite the great guy. But right off the bat? No. He was cold, stuffy, and bland. But hot. However, looks only go as far, and his personality really distracted from the hotness, in my opinion. Stodgy dudes just don't get my panties wet. And why was he so intent on having her? She was beautiful and a little bit feisty. Ok. What else? She didn't seem to like herself much, and I guess it trickled down because I was pretty ambivalent about her, too. I think could have probably gone with the I-love-you-because-true-love stuff if the book hadn't been so realistic-ish in other areas. Maybe if it were a bit more silly like other historical romances tend to be, you know? Still, there was nothing to complain about storywise. This just may be targeted towards a different romance reader, and I maybe expected something different because of all the glowing reviews. <--not the book's fault. And I guess it's not all that lengthy, but it seemed like it just went on and on and on forever. <--I just went back and checked thinking it was some 600 page behemoth. It's not. I wouldn't say I was bored, but I didn't feel the need to rewind the audio if I zoned out for a second, either. Anyway, this was still a good debut romance novel and I'm looking forward to reading about Lucy in the next one. Maybe. Elizabeth Jasicki - Narrator

  18. 4 out of 5

    Warda

    I’m incapable of writing a review these days, but this was so much fun to read. I loved the setting and that it followed the suffragette movement in Britain. I loved how it highlighted how difficult women had it back then but how much they still fought against societal standards men created. And I loved seeing how these obstacles would affect a pairing that society deemed inappropriate and then the couple more or less saying, ‘Well, you know what? Fuck you too then.’

  19. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    where's my brooding duke who appreciates my feminist values and wants to buy me a yacht???? rtc buddy read with my asian blogger child 💞 where's my brooding duke who appreciates my feminist values and wants to buy me a yacht???? rtc buddy read with my asian blogger child 💞

  20. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  The appealing cover led to me interest.  I adore the bright colors and fun title.  The marketing team deserves a lot of credit.  I don't normally read romances but this one sounded silly and fun.  It is set during the Regency period and the feminine protagonist, Annabelle, is a suffragette and one of the first women to study at Oxford.  I expected this to be a story about a strong willed and driven woman who has a hate to love journey.  Sadly I had to stop reading at 59.5% Ahoy there me mateys!  The appealing cover led to me interest.  I adore the bright colors and fun title.  The marketing team deserves a lot of credit.  I don't normally read romances but this one sounded silly and fun.  It is set during the Regency period and the feminine protagonist, Annabelle, is a suffragette and one of the first women to study at Oxford.  I expected this to be a story about a strong willed and driven woman who has a hate to love journey.  Sadly I had to stop reading at 59.5% as this book went from fun to infuriating. The beginning of the book started out great.  Sure the book has lots of clichés, tropes, and silliness but rather than being annoyed, I kinda felt like I was meeting an old beloved friend.  I was entertained because I felt like the novel was pulling from books by Austen, the Brontë sisters, etc. and I liked the homages.  I loved the set-up.  I was heartily entertained by how the two love interests meet and was looking forward to see how they would interact. Things went well up until the first real meeting of the pair.  The pretext for their run-in was the first hint of bad things to come because it was a badly devised supposed suffragette subplot.  Now mind ye the only reason Annabelle is involved with the political movement is exchange for them paying her tuition.  She doesn't actively want to be involved.  Neither do any of the women in the group.  The suffragette aspect is extremely minor and used poorly.  This was supposed to be one of the highlights of the book. So of course girly-whirl accidentally runs into Duke at his manor house.  There is a misunderstanding, she runs out into the snow, the Duke has to fetch her on his horse, she catches a cold (like Jane in P&P), and has to recuperate on the estate.  The plot then goes to hell and the anachronisms take over.  The supposed intelligent woman is completely turned into an insipid idiot over her lust.  She got in trouble early in life for fornication and destroyed her prospects and here she is again being even more stupid by not learning from her prior mistake.  Ugh. And the anachronisms are awful.  Going places without a chaperone, being alone with an unmarried man, wearing a skintight dress without undergarments (seriously this type of dress DID NOT exist), the use of the wrong honorifics, and language that felt too modern all appear here. But really the kicker was how awful the relationship between the Duke and the dumb girl was.  The Duke is an alpha male determined to have sex with his conquest on any terms.  Even the things that are supposed to be nice, like a new coat, are because he doesn't like seeing pretty thing in an old-fashioned shoddy coat.  Annabelle's brains fall out of her head because of his manliness and his masculine scent.  Love seems to have no place.  Lust rules the day. That could be okay if the sex scenes didn't feel so one-sided.  Annabelle loses her identity and agency.  The Duke's desires subsume her own and feels so toxic.  He doesn't really seem to care about Annabelle's needs or wants or how their sexual exploits would ruin her future.  Bah!  I just couldn't take it anymore.  I abandoned this one in disgust even more annoyed because it had so much early potential.  Plus it promised, but didn't really deliver, women at Oxford and suffragettes.  Arrr! As Matey Siria says in her review (shortened but seriously read the whole thing): "This is a book featuring suffragettes, but this is not a feminist book.  In fact, Bringing Down the Duke seems to use its thin veneer of wokeness as an excuse to revel in gender essentialism . . . The love interest—Sebastian, Duke of Montgomery—is the kind of alpha male character to whom I have an instant aversion. He's constantly looming over the protagonist, Annabelle, using his size against her, grabbing her by the arm to stop her from getting her away, backing her into walls . . . And then there's Annabelle, who repeatedly acts like an idiot, but whom we're told is very smart because she's read Thucydides; whose political and moral principles seem to be based on the best interests of whomever she last spoke to; and who never once seemed like the impoverished but genteel daughter of a rural Victorian clergyman whom she purported to be . . ."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE AUTHOR: Evie Dunmore SERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1 RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019 GENRE: Historical Romance THEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers, women's emancipation RATING: ALL OF THEM! CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG I'm a huge fan of Judith McNaught's historical romance. Why I'm mentioning that? Because this author's debut, BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE, transports me back to a time when I was devouring the novels by McNaught. While Evie Dunmore's TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE AUTHOR: Evie Dunmore SERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1 RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019 GENRE: Historical Romance THEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers, women's emancipation RATING: ALL OF THEM! CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG I'm a huge fan of Judith McNaught's historical romance. Why I'm mentioning that? Because this author's debut, BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE, transports me back to a time when I was devouring the novels by McNaught. While Evie Dunmore's writing style is more modern in parts which makes this story extremely readable, I'm not complaining, mind you, because this author's words wrapped themselves around my heart. However, the story, this deliciously angst-filled plot, the yearning, the complex characters so reminded me of McNaught's. I think that's one of the biggest compliments I can give an author. Evie Dunmore shows us how far women have come, how women fought for what we consider normal and rightfully ours. This alone makes it this book worth reading and will give you a new appreciation of the women's role in society today. Spun around this setting is an epic love story between a commoner and a duke, both very aware of their position in society. Sebastian is right a jerk when this starts off but man, did I fall in love. I fell so hard. He is honorable, considerate, more than he let on when we first meet him, arrogant, high-handed, controlled and incredibly private and emotionally stunted. It was a thing of beauty to watch him turn from this seemingly cold-hearted bastard into a man, who felt deeper than anyone would have ever expected he was capable of. What a complex, infuriating, protective, wonderful man he was. Something tore inside his chest, something vital, and briefly, he wondered if a man could die from it. The pain all but took his breath away. What a way to find out he did have a heart. Annabelle is everything Sebastian needs but can't have. She was just as beautiful a character with her backbone of steel, intelligence, sophistication and unshakable loyalty. She refused to be the duke's mistress because she had a sense of self worth and knew that even though Sebastian would treat her well, society wouldn't. She knew the feeling of being a pariah, she didn't want to repeat mistakes she'd made before. While my heart hurt for them both I could understand her standpoint. He does have a heart, you see, a restrained, honorable heart, but it bruises just like yours and mine, and I wager it is a hundred times more steadfast. He is a rare man, not because he is wealthy, or powerful, but because he says what he means and does what he says. Their attraction was so palpable, so passionate and there were times I wanted to smoosh their faces together and tell them to get it over with. There was so much tension between them, the impossibility of their love made this story heartwrenching. She belonged here, right here wrapped in these strong, nonjudgmental, protective arms, and she wasn’t sure where to begin again without him. Supporting these two are equally strong women, who I suspect will get their own stories. This is a well researched, fascinating romance with characters that make you think even after leaving them to their happily ever after. And what a HEA it was. How can I not fall back into a slump after BRINGING DOWN HE DUKE? Ugh!  The story is flawless and flows without hiccups. And I can't praise the beautiful words enough. Evie Dunmore shows other authors how debuts are done. I loved every minute spent with Sebastian and Annabelle. “Darling,” he said, “I have only just begun to love you.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen (About That Story)

    4.5 stars! Bringing Down the Duke was a unique and refreshing story and I enjoyed it all! It was a witty, entertaining, and engaging read that was incredibly well told. Annabelle and Sebastian were wonderful, likable characters. I loved Sebastian. He's seemed so grumpy and cold, but I loved getting to see the man behind the mask as he got to know Annabelle and opened up. He was sweet, protective, and seductive. I thought Annabelle was such a great character. She was strong-willed with a very intri 4.5 stars! Bringing Down the Duke was a unique and refreshing story and I enjoyed it all! It was a witty, entertaining, and engaging read that was incredibly well told. Annabelle and Sebastian were wonderful, likable characters. I loved Sebastian. He's seemed so grumpy and cold, but I loved getting to see the man behind the mask as he got to know Annabelle and opened up. He was sweet, protective, and seductive. I thought Annabelle was such a great character. She was strong-willed with a very intriguing past, and I loved her tenacity and attitude. I love how hard she’s worked to better herself and everything she was fighting against. I really enjoyed learning both of their histories, especially hers. I loved watching these two come together, and fight their feelings as their attraction grew. It felt like a fun game of cat and mouse. I loved them butting heads and how Annabelle challenged Sebastian, it was awesome. I loved the build to them coming together and the growth they both experienced. This book had such a different feel than any others I have read from the time period and I loved how it made me feel. I really enjoyed the writing and all the descriptions. There's a lot to take in in the beginning so it took me a few chapters for everything to really click but after that I really hit my stride and was engrossed in the story. There were a lot of entertaining moments that had me smiling, some mild drama, and a lot of angst happening. I was tense at times because of the time period and politics and was aggravated on Annabelle and pretty much women's kinds behalf on several occasions. I liked the different dynamics happening and I enjoyed Sebastian's relationship with his brother and liked how much it evolved. I really loved the relationships that Annabelle formed with the women involved and hope they each get their own stories. This was a great introduction to a new series and a fantastic way to introduce a new author. After the initial start, I was totally pulled in I'm looking forward to reading more. This is not to be missed!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    What a pleasant surprise! This book has quite a lot going for it - an unlikely romance that develops in a very believable way, a focus on the suffragette movement, and strong characters. I can't believe this is the author's debut book! I *absolutely* will be reading her next book! Very much recommended! What a pleasant surprise! This book has quite a lot going for it - an unlikely romance that develops in a very believable way, a focus on the suffragette movement, and strong characters. I can't believe this is the author's debut book! I *absolutely* will be reading her next book! Very much recommended!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lubnaa (Romance Library)

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars Before I even start my review of this book, I think it would be remiss of me not to talk about something that’s been on my mind – something that other reviewers seem to have completely missed. When reading a politically charged book that focuses on the women’s suffrage movement, it is so important to think critically, lest you be overcome by white feminism. Bringing Down the Duke is a Victorian romance novel set against t I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars Before I even start my review of this book, I think it would be remiss of me not to talk about something that’s been on my mind – something that other reviewers seem to have completely missed. When reading a politically charged book that focuses on the women’s suffrage movement, it is so important to think critically, lest you be overcome by white feminism. Bringing Down the Duke is a Victorian romance novel set against the backdrop of women fighting for their rights, which is great. But it is equally important that we remember the women of colour who are too often erased from history for their contribution to women’s rights. It is important that we look at the women’s suffrage movement from an intersectional perspective. Men of colour, let alone women of colour, barely show up in history books because history is often told from the white male perspective. The same can be said for the women’s suffrage movement in Britain, which is basically the foundation for Bringing Down the Duke. When it comes to women’s rights from an intersectional perspective, this book does an okay job depicting the intersection of class and gender through its protagonist, Annabelle. But as expected, women of colour are excluded. Listen, if you are going to write a book about the women’s suffrage movement, then it is important that you remember the people that history works tirelessly to exclude. So I feel it my duty to bring this up and to present a couple of articles that explore this topic, the women’s suffrage movement in the UK specifically, from an intersectional perspective (men of colour included!). Don’t forget to keep colonialism in mind because the British Empire was at its peak at the time. Colonialism undoubtedly adds a layer of complexity to women of colour’s role in the suffrage movement in the UK. • https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-... • https://votingcounts.org.uk/suffrage-... • https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/blo... Alright, we can officially switch from essay mode to review mode, which will have spoilers. Bringing Down the Duke is labeled and marketed as a fresh, unique, and feminist historical romance, but it came across as the complete opposite to me. I’ve already talked about why I don’t consider this book feminist. If you’re writing a book about the women’s suffrage movement and fail to include women who look like me and other women of colour, then your brand of feminism is not for me. As for this book being fresh and unique…well, when I first started reading it, I thought that was exactly what I was getting from the story because historical romance novels with suffragist heroines are rare. But then the story unfortunately veered into the predictability territory, and not the fun kind of predictability. The suffragist aspect quickly becomes background noise as the heroine, Annabelle, debates the pros and cons of becoming the mistress of the oh-so-powerful Duke of Montgomery. If you are a voracious historical romance reader like me, then you have most likely read a plethora of historical romance novels where the Duke hero refuses to marry the heroine because she is below him in station. Been there, done that. Nothing fresh or unique about this type of story. And for the record, I despise heroes like that, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The blurb of this book would lead you to believe that the heroine, Annabelle, is this strong advocate for women’s rights, when in actuality, she’s quite passive and a complete pushover who can’t make up her mind about anything. There are a few times when her passion about women’s rights and the classics shine through, but for the most part, she’s a bystander in her own story. Annabelle is the kind of character that just gets dragged into things. She admits that she got dragged into political activism because of her scholarship. She even admits that she studies classics because her father only taught her the classics and she “had no choice in the matter.” Like I mentioned, the political activism quickly becomes background noise and it is only used as a plot device to drive the heroine into her saviour Duke’s powerful arms. Once she gets her happily ever after, she no longer bothers with activism, but she does continue her education, which I think is where her real passion lies. As for the hero, he is the powerful Duke of Montgomery who thinks that his lofty position in society gives him the right to ask things of the heroine that he has no right to ask. He comes across as an asshole, which kind of comes with the territory because he is really stuffy and cold. Very few authors can write stuffy and cold heroes without asshole tendencies. But Montgomery is a total hypocrite. He clearly states that he sees Annabelle as a lady, but he doesn’t think she’s good enough to be his lover or his wife. He thinks she’s only good enough to be his mistress because she needs his “protection.” And he implies to other aristocratic men that Annabelle is his mistress, long before he even asks her to be his mistress. There is a difference between being a lover and a mistress – one entails equality, the other entails an imbalance of power. But this was not emphasized at all. Montgomery even confesses to her that if their stations were equal, then he would have made her his wife. The heroine obviously refuses to be his mistress, but she guards his so-called-romantic confession closely to her heart because it makes her feel good about herself, for reasons I fail to understand. Is the heroine’s self-esteem really that low? The hero is also the type who thinks that “If I can’t have her, then no one else can,” displaying ugly bouts of jealousy. He has the nerve to be offended when she tells him that he only thinks she’s good enough to be his whore. She wants too much when she says she wants to marry him. He doesn’t want to give up his reputation by marrying her. But he’s totally okay with her throwing away her reputation and her chance for a university education so she could be his mistress. And as it is with this old and predictable drama, it takes a dramatic life or death situation for the lofty Duke to come to his senses and propose. Please spare me from all the drama. Oh, and I also don’t like the way the hero treats his younger brother, but that’s a whole other conversation. Despite not liking the heroine and absolutely hating the hero, I liked that the romance was a slow burn, mostly because they had really good chemistry together. It’s the kind of chemistry that is only possible with good writing, and Evie Dunmore’s writing is solid for the most part. However, the character development for both the hero and heroine is weak and unbelievable. I think this book needed a more headstrong heroine because Annabelle was too much of a pushover for someone as entitled as Montgomery. If Bringing Down the Duke had more interesting and likable protagonists with solid character development and if the feminist aspect was inclusive, then this book could have easily been a winner for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    Today I learnt: Find yo self a rich feminist with daddy issues. But for real, I read this in one sitting and stayed up until 2:30 am to finish it. And now I'm in this place of hell where I have to wait a year for the next book. This is what happens when your pre-order comes early and you have no self control so you read it right away. I just loved the characters and Annabelle having a background of not being like this pure virginal angel. I felt so bad for her near the end when crap just picked up Today I learnt: Find yo self a rich feminist with daddy issues. But for real, I read this in one sitting and stayed up until 2:30 am to finish it. And now I'm in this place of hell where I have to wait a year for the next book. This is what happens when your pre-order comes early and you have no self control so you read it right away. I just loved the characters and Annabelle having a background of not being like this pure virginal angel. I felt so bad for her near the end when crap just picked up nonstop to screw her over. I cannot wait for the next book with Lucie! She continuously peaked my interests in every scene she was in. I'm wondering if we'll get a book about Sebastien's brother now too. He could be a fantastic hotmess POV.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    Why I love it by Siobhan Jones When I started at BOTM, I was a professed literary snob—and probably flaunted that term with pride (queue eye roll). I never read romance books because I assumed they were too cheesy and poorly written to be considered worthy of my time. Years later, dozens of romance books devoured, I’m so happy to report that, on that score, I was wrong. Set in turn-of-the-century England, this is the story of Annabelle Archer, a plucky woman with the opportunity to become one of th Why I love it by Siobhan Jones When I started at BOTM, I was a professed literary snob—and probably flaunted that term with pride (queue eye roll). I never read romance books because I assumed they were too cheesy and poorly written to be considered worthy of my time. Years later, dozens of romance books devoured, I’m so happy to report that, on that score, I was wrong. Set in turn-of-the-century England, this is the story of Annabelle Archer, a plucky woman with the opportunity to become one of the first female graduates at the prestigious University of Oxford. Upon entering college, she becomes an advocate for the women’s suffrage movement, which is how she first encounters the Duke of Montgomery—an influential, ill-tempered political adversary whom she must convince into becoming an ally. A clash of two strong-willed, sharp-tongued enemies? Sounds hot ;) Bringing Down the Duke gives us the best that the romance genre has to offer: light-hearted fun, steamy sex scenes, and lots of brooding, read-between-the-lines dialogue. It also serves up a few additionally tasty accoutrements, including royals, a heroine with a feminist agenda (Suffragism! Get involved, people), and witty repartee that make for a very entertaining read. FYI, this is not a book that takes itself seriously—but I think you’ll agree the result is serious fun. Cheers! Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/bringing-d...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    Why you may not like this book: This is a romance where the big questions about why are two main characters can't be together bring up some power dynamic issues that tie to class and wealth issues, and give us some will they won't they back and forth. If those are tropes you have issues with, you may not find this as enjoyable. The main male character is the dry sort. The point of the whole book is that he does, indeed, have feelings, but he's bound by duty to often refrain from showing them. Re Why you may not like this book: This is a romance where the big questions about why are two main characters can't be together bring up some power dynamic issues that tie to class and wealth issues, and give us some will they won't they back and forth. If those are tropes you have issues with, you may not find this as enjoyable. The main male character is the dry sort. The point of the whole book is that he does, indeed, have feelings, but he's bound by duty to often refrain from showing them. Readers may be able to follow that intellectually, but from a reading experience, you may be left wanting from the Duke's lack of emotion. This is a historical romance with modern day appeal, so if that bothers you, look away. Why I loved this book: This was a ton of fun and was well-balanced in terms of romance, plot points, believable obstacles for our main characters, and supporting characters. This balance of elements makes this feel super accessible and a great recommendation for people dipping their toes into romance or historical romances. I really enjoyed Annabelle. She sold me on the her motivations and all of her actions felt true to her character. Even at the end, when I wasn't thrilled about the miscommunication element, I could more or less see why Annabelle did what she did. And thankfully, the author doesn't leave us stranded in the third act miscommunication for too long. I thought that this took some neat looks at things like safety and independence as they happen in relationships, and of course, in this historical setting. And the way that more feminist ideas can coincide with wanting someone to love and care for you. Generally a delight. [January 8, 2021] Marking for reread. Could bump this up to 4.5 stars on reread.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tears Of Venus

    5 my-🖤-is-so-full-right-now ⭐️s Song : Enchanted by Taylor Swift “These wild depths in you, they call to me” Thank you, Evie Dunmore, for reminding me of the reason I started reading romance. Personal note, otherwise known as " I'm about to get emotional on your ass " I grew up reading classics. They have helped shape me and contributed immensely to who I am as a person today. Being the kid that, despite having the most loving and supportive family, still felt somewhat lost and misunderstoo 5 my-🖤-is-so-full-right-now ⭐️s Song : Enchanted by Taylor Swift “These wild depths in you, they call to me” Thank you, Evie Dunmore, for reminding me of the reason I started reading romance. Personal note, otherwise known as " I'm about to get emotional on your ass " I grew up reading classics. They have helped shape me and contributed immensely to who I am as a person today. Being the kid that, despite having the most loving and supportive family, still felt somewhat lost and misunderstood, I have found refuge and solace in books. As I got older though, I've become incredibly sensitive to the misery of the world surrounding me. Naturally, I turned to my safe haven, my trusty companions, my books. But I soon figured my means of escape could just as well throw me further into despair. Wars, crimes, misery, injustice and tragedies, even of the romantic variety. Case in point, Wuthering Heights . 9 years later and there's still a painful pang in my chest every time I think of that book. That's when I decided I need happily ever afters. There's enough tragic endings in real life. Nobody is safe from the cruelties of the world, and we're all bound to suffer one way or the other, but I needed the safety, the comfort and the certainty that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That after storm and rain, the sun will shine brighter than ever. And that, children, is how I met your mother friends, is how I fell into the romance rabbit hole. 5 years and a thousand happily ever afters later, and I'm still just as ravenous and desperate for it. That being said, somewhere along the way, I grew cold, distant and cynical but still appreciative of the happy ending I'm promised. I stopped feeling the thrill, the butterflies, the excitement. The high was never quite the same anymore. As any addict could tell you, that doesn't make you stop. It only makes you chase that elusive high harder. All I wanted was to feel. Picking up this book, I certainly didn't expect to be reminded of how euphoric it could be to get lost in someone else's story. I didn't expect to feel, but feel I did. This is the story of Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery and Annabelle, the daughter of a Vicar. This is the story of a woman that was born with dreams far bigger than her "station". (she's also one of the few HR heroines who not only aren't virgins but are not ashamed of their desires, YAY) This is the story of a powerful man, one that finds himself forced to right the wrongs of his elders and one that can't afford to let his heart lead in the face of his responsibilities. This is the story of two individuals that couldn't be more different from each other, but also couldn't be more right for each other. This is a story set in the Victorian era, when women started fighting for their rights, when history was being rewritten and when one had to choose which side to be on. This is a story of attraction, love, friendship, trust, responsibility and sacrifice. It had depth, humor, chemistry, character, heat and great banter. This is a story that offered me a mug of hot chocolate, covered me in the softest plaid and lovingly welcomed me in its arms. I only wish it does the same for you. 🖤

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    What a fun, fast-paced, and surprisingly modern take on a historical romance! It definitely maintained the best guilty pleasures of the old-school Harlequin tropes, but with a modern mindset that I appreciated. If you're not a historical fiction fan, don't let this novel's premise turn you off—this is one good story. Romance: ★★★★★ Logic: ★★★ Enjoyment: all the stars Set in England in the late 1800s, Bringing Down the Duke follows the two perspectives of Annabelle Archer, a 25-year-old Oxford studen What a fun, fast-paced, and surprisingly modern take on a historical romance! It definitely maintained the best guilty pleasures of the old-school Harlequin tropes, but with a modern mindset that I appreciated. If you're not a historical fiction fan, don't let this novel's premise turn you off—this is one good story. Romance: ★★★★★ Logic: ★★★ Enjoyment: all the stars Set in England in the late 1800s, Bringing Down the Duke follows the two perspectives of Annabelle Archer, a 25-year-old Oxford student trying to thrive in London, and the Duke of Montgomery, a 35-year-old aristocrat with close ties to Queen Victoria. (I mention the age gap as it does influence some readers. I found it tasteful in this case, and very necessary for the plot due to the time period.) Annabelle Archer is thrilled to attend Oxford's new college program for women, and even more thrilled for the scholarship that allows her to leave her small country village for London. There's just one catch: she must be an active member of the suffragist movement—which includes lobbying members of Parliament and inserting herself into the aristocracy's sphere. Sebastian Montgomery is the most influential duke in the realm, and a notoriously cold man. He has no time for the softer things in life—he's too busy trying to secure his dukedom's future and reclaim the ancestral home that his father gambled away. Obviously, these two find their paths cross in a definitive way. Bringing Down the Duke brings a little bit of Pride and Prejudice, a little bit of Jane Eyre, a little bit of Harlequin romance, and a LOT of well-written narrative. My only complaint is that I wish some of the scene-to-scene transitions had been more logical. We went from A to B to D to C, and then in order to follow the romance, we abandoned some of the slow burn fire for immediate attraction...which felt like an abrupt shift. Blog | Instagram

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    4.5 stars Why are historical romances so inherently sexier than contemporary romance? Like yes fight the societal norms of repressed sexuality to convey your passion for one another. Get it. I loved this the romance had me feeling so soft the way they interacted with each other was so sweet. I loved the women of this book and can't wait to explore them more in the rest of this series. No complex thoughts, book cute, made me happy, a fun time. 4.5 stars Why are historical romances so inherently sexier than contemporary romance? Like yes fight the societal norms of repressed sexuality to convey your passion for one another. Get it. I loved this the romance had me feeling so soft the way they interacted with each other was so sweet. I loved the women of this book and can't wait to explore them more in the rest of this series. No complex thoughts, book cute, made me happy, a fun time.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.