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.
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….
– My Thoughts –
Debut romances these days are knocking it out of the park. I can’t get enough of them and the latest book to have me addicted to it is none other than Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore!
Set during the time of the opening of the first women’s college at Oxford, Bringing Down the Duke brings a unique take on historical fiction. It combines a view of what would have been a Suffragist movement in Britain with a love story; a combination that proved utterly stimulating for me.
The story starts with our heroine Annabelle requesting permission from her cousin to attend women’s college at Oxford University. Annabelle is not a suffragist in the beginning, but she has to become one because of her receiving a scholarship from the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. This leads her right into the path of Duke Montgomery or Sebastian Devereux. To garner support for a movement, Anabelle and other suffragists need influential men like Sebastian’s backing. When Anabelle and her friends manage to infiltrate the duke’s household, Anabelle is surprised to find herself attracted to the Duke and his brain. Will Anabelle manage to bring the Duke down his pedestal or be knocked down herself?
Some may argue that there wasn’t enough romance and I should too…but I loved the change of pace. Besides the topic of feminism is so important because along with a host of other problems, women are still fighting for equality 🤦🏻♀️ Now imagine if there were no Suffragists..imagine if these women never spoke up….never fought for themselves and consequently for us, then where would we be now?
About the romance which is yet another beautiful thing about this book. It was slow-burning and perhaps, a touch of enemies-to-lovers too. I didn’t like the Duke most of the times because ,during those times, he would constantly(albeit not intentionally) remind Anabelle of her class. I loved the part where he and Anabelle would talk about books, democracy like equals..it’s rare to spot conversations like that in historical fiction.
Then there are the other characters in this book like Anabelle’s friends: Hattie, Catriona, Lucie who seemed so real that they leaped off of the page. Every conversation, every action was so well-written that I wasn’t bored for even one second. I devoured this book and wanted to be a fly on the wall or one of the characters so that I could live in the book.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book(as if it’s not already clear)!! I would recommend this if you love romance. If you don’t like historical fiction, even then I’d recommend you to try this one. It’s funny, witty, swoony and feminist!! This thirsty b#*ch also got a glimpse of the next book in this series(yes, Bringing Down is book one of a series!) which has the story of our suffragist Lucie and Tristan with the perfect cheekbones!! I can’t wait.
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
– About the Author –
Debut author Evie Dunmore wrote BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and her passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian.
In her civilian life, she is a strategy consultant with a M.Sc. in Diplomacy from Oxford. Scotland and the great outdoors have a special place in her heart, so she can frequently be found climbing the Highlands and hunting for woolly tartan blanket bargains.
Evie lives in Europe and pours her fascination with 19th century Britain into her writing. She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA).
Thank you for reading! Have you read Bringing Down the Duke? Are you excited to read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!