Love and Feminism go hand-in-hand in Bringing Down the Duke(A League of Extraordinary Women #1), written by Evie Dunmore

Love and Feminism go hand-in-hand in Bringing Down the Duke, written by Evie Dunmore
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019 
Publisher: Piatkus, Berkley
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

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 

Evie Dunmore

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).

For more about the author, visit her Goodreads page, or follow her on Twitter.

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! 

Tale of two women separated by hemispheres but connected by plants | ARC Review: The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn

Looking for a swoon-worthy summer romance? | ARC Review: Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

LINKS

Looking for a swoon-worthy summer romance? | ARC Review: Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
cover(Goodreads)

  BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY

SYNOPSIS

Discovery. Desire. Deception. A wondrously imagined tale of two female botanists, separated by more than a century, in a race to discover a life-saving flower . . .

In Victorian England, headstrong adventuress Elizabeth takes up her late father’s quest for a rare, miraculous plant. She faces a perilous sea voyage, unforeseen dangers and treachery that threatens her entire family.

In present-day Australia, Anna finds a mysterious metal box containing a sketchbook of dazzling watercolours, a photograph inscribed ‘Spring 1886’ and a small bag of seeds. It sets her on a path far from her safe, carefully ordered life, and on a journey that will force her to face her own demons.

In this spellbinding botanical odyssey of discovery, desire and deception, Kayte Nunn has so exquisitely researched nineteenth-century Cornwall and Chile you can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers, the touch of the flora on your fingertips . . .

Should You read The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn?

Anna was once again reminded of how extraordinarily long some plants had been around for, blooming, dying and blooming again across the centuries, seeds scattered on the wind, seedlings divided and shared, sold and replanted in foreign soil.

 The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn is a story of two women, separated by generations and continents, and their connection with each other. The two protagonist’s are Elizabeth and Anna, both of whose perspectives show just how connected they are.

First, we see Anna in Sydney, Australia, as she watches builders work on her grandmother’s house and they find an antique and engraved box in between some bookshelves. On opening the box, Anna finds a sketchbook inside and some old seeds inside a pouch. The sketchbook reveals a multitude of plant sketches, drawn so intricately that it might as well be drawn by a 3D printer. Anna also finds a diary in which there’s a story about a woman named Marguerite who emmigrated to Australia with her child. The child, Anna will found out later, is none other than her great grandmother.

Next, we see Elizabeth’s POV as she mounts her late father’s stallion and races to a cove nearby. She contemplates on her father’s last words, when he told her..no, made her promise to retrieve a mysterious plant from Chile. Alas, it is Victorian England and Elizabeth had the “misfortune” of being a woman. However, Elizabeth prevails and after a small but firm discussion with her brother-in-law, she is ready for her journey to the southern hemisphere along with her maid Daisy.

In the past, Elizabeth successfully reaches Chile and discovers not only the native plant her father talked about but also a family of her own. Amidst all her happiness, Elizabeth didn’t forget her father’s warnings about a cunning man who would do anything to take the plant away from her. However, warnings are apparently no good against a madman.

In the present, Anna struggles with her past but she still wants to discover the connection of the sketchbook’s artist with her family. Will Anna’s search proove fruitful? Will Elizabeth’s last wishes be fulfilled after all these years?

I loved the dual narration, the pace and the plot of the story. The story basically comes full circle with Anna and you’ll know why if you ever read the book. The writing is pretty soothing. It transported me from Sydney(Australia) to Cornwall(England)to Chile(South America). I loved the characters very much, especially Anna, Daisy, and Elizabeth. Daisy was a loyal companion of Elizabeth until the very end. Anna and Elizabeth had botanic similarities and that was that. Elizabeth was the complete opposite to Anna and it contributed to her untimely demise. There are romantic elements present but they don’t draw your attention out from the family mystery that’s surrounding the novel.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading historical fiction, historical fiction with botanist themes and family mysteries.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT: 

Author: Connect with Author Kayte Nunn here.

  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
  • Publication Date: 18th April , 2019
  • Paperback: 390 Pages
Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Will you read The Botanist’s Daughter ? If you have read it, then let me know if you liked it or not. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Mini Review: The DNA of You & Me & The Confessions of Frannie Langton

Hi everyone! I’ve been lax with writing up reviews and this is me trying to make up for it. This is my mini- review post featuring The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins and The DNA Of You and Me by Andrea Rothman. They are both debuts but belong to completely different genres.

1. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins(3.5/5 stars)

         BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY

  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Publication Date: 4th April , 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 384 Pages

Review: The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins is a wonderful debut and I have officially put Sara Collins on my debut authors to watch list. The premise is intriguing: Frannie, a mulatto is brought by her master to England and ‘given’ to another master; later she falls in love with her new master’s wife. The Confessions is told entirely from Frannie’s point-of-view which she wrote while she’s in Newgate Prison awaiting trial in Old Bailey for the murder of her new master’s and mistress.

The Confessions is described as a black woman’s love story inspired by the popular gothic romance Jane Eyre. The author loved reading Austen but never saw a woman of color as a protagonist in those stories instead she read stories a woman of color was the victim. With Frannie Langton, author Sara Collins wanted to write a black woman’s love story and not of her suffering. However, through Frannie’s words we come face-to-face with her love and her suffering as well.

The writing is flawless but the plot is unforgivingly slow. The ending kind of smacks you in the face but in a good way because my boredom turned to interest: interest in finding out if Frannie is guilty of double murder or not? Overall, I would recommend it if you love reading historical fiction set during the Victorian era and if this mini review intrigues you so.


2. The DNA of You & Me by Andrea Rothman (3/5 stars)

            BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY

  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Publication Date: 12 March , 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 242 Pages

Review:  I loved the unique story of The DNA of You and Me but it’s not for everyone’s taste. Emily was raised by her father and due to a childhood allergy, she was accustomed to spending most of her childhood indoors. This would’ve put a damper on her socializing with other kids but as she grew up, Emily realized that she preferred the company of herself rather than others. Her personal experience eventually left her to research new genes responsible for guiding olfactory neurons to their targets. (Olfactory: the sense of smell) During this research, she meets another academic Aeden and after a series of long arguments, their relationship goes to another level. However, there’ll come a time when Emily has to make a choice: Her career or a life with Aiden?

I loved it but as I said before that this book isn’t for everyone. Most of the book is filled with genomic sciences jargon that took the story a little to much to the non-fictional side. There’s romance if you skim the scientific stuff but it’s an easy read. The sex is almost clinical in the beginning and that may be because it’s told from the POV of the narrator. However, there’s a scene when Emily says ‘no’ but Aeden still goes ahead and that left a bitter note in the entire story. I’m ashamed to say that I even forgot about this scene until I read another Goodreads review. The ending left me emotional but happy and hopeful for Emily. It did give me Eleanor Oliphant vibes but this one has way too many scientific jargon for a reader to enjoy.

However, considering this is a debut and the fact that I liked the writing, I’d definitely look forward to reading her upcoming books.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me ARCs in exchange for an honest review.

Do you think you’ll read The DNA of You and Me or The Confessions of Frannie Langton? Do you prefer reading mini-reviews or full reviews? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

LINKS

 ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

SYNOPSIS

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.


Why should you read THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful. She looks up at him, startled, from the bed.

– Things in Jars, Jess Kidd

I love reading historical fiction and if it has a hint of mystery and/or fantasy mixed into it, I’ll jump on it right away. This was my first time reading a Jess Kidd novel and I can’t believe I didn’t come across her writing before.

Things in Jars is set in the year 1863 when London was a cesspool of crimes and diseases. We follow the story of a female detective Bridie Devine as she attempts to rescue 6 year old Christobel, the kidnapped child of a Lord Berwick. It certainly doesn’t help Bridie that she is a female in a world of male detectives and that she was unable to prevent the death of a child in her last case.

Christobel is not an ordinary child for it seems that she has extraordinary abilities, can play with others’ memories. Her eyes see too much and she has pike’s teeth that can wreak serious damage. However, Bridie is determined not to fail another child and thus, she with her giant but wonderful maid Cora and the ghost of a prizefighter named Ruby, she sets out on a dangerous path to find Christobel.

The timelines are divided are divided into two as we go back to Bridie’s past and come back to her present. Bridie’s past shows us her coming from Ireland when she was a child, collecting corpses with Gan, her time as laboratory assistant to Dr John Eames at Albery Hall, and wearing the clothes of the dead Lydia. We learn soon enough that Bridie’s past links into her current investigation.

… the low, thick fog that has descended upon the city like an unwashed bedsheet. Oh, the unwholesome colour! Like sinus rot, and dense, like only a London Particular can be. You could scoop it into a tankard and it would mug there.

– THINGS IN JARS, JESS KIDD

I can’t sing enough praises about Jess Kidd‘s writing. Her characters are so lively and colourful that they leap out of the page and you stare at them in wonder. Besides Bridie’s housekeeper/friend Cora, the ghost of a boxer who’s in love with Bridie, we also meet characters such as the predatory and sly Mrs Bibby and the viciously dangerous Gideon.

It had all the elements of a perfect Victorian-era detective novel. There are gruesome murders, double dealing, never ending rains that threaten to tear down a city, and deadly villians that come back to haunt from the dead. In a time when medical profession was bound by any ethics, Jess KIdd immaculately describes the gruesome outcome when the penchant of curiosities knows no bound. She writes about corrupt anatomy collectors who are desperate to acquire living anomalies by any means necessary and preserve them in their jars.

Overall, I highly recommend this book not only because of its encorporation of fantasy and mystery, beautifully alive characters, and the storytelling but also because of the brilliant author who wrote it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Connect with Author Jess Kidd here .

  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication Date: 04 April 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 416 Pages

Do you think you’ll read THINGS IN JARS? Do you like reading historical fiction set in the Victorian era? Have you read any similar books or Jess Kidd’s previous books namely The Hoarder and Himself ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A trip to a magical Paris during the french revolution | Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantée by Gita Trelease review

The Priory of the Orange Tree Goodreads cover
Cover ( Goodreads)
Buy it on Wordery | Book Depository|| Add it on Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

When the Sky fell on Splendor summary
Photo credit : mine, Synopsis: Goodreads

Why should you read Enchantée by Gita Trelease? 

Remember—magic is a cheater’s game, and everyone who sees it wants to play.

― GITA TRELEASE, ENCHANTÉE

Enchantée takes place during the onset of the French Revolution when the people of France we’re starving while the nobles including the king and queen looked on. However, this version of France has a twist: a magical one. Paris was a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians.

Camille Durbonne, our protagonist, is a magician but she doesn’t want to be. Camille has no choice but to use magic to provide for herself and her siblings.

Camille’s reluctance to use magic is understandable since all magic comes at a price and the price is one’s sorrow. Camille doesn’t lack sorrow since her parents died of small pox and left her fending for her abusive brother and sick sister. All Camille wants is all her sorrows to end and to find happiness like she did before. Camille does find happiness,if only momentarily.

“Magicians needed sorrow. And deep sorrow existed only because of love.” 

One day Camille saves two boys from dying in a hot-balloon and this is where she meets someone called Lazare. This day reminds Camille of bittersweet childhood memories and for a moment there’s only joy and nothing else. However, Camille is soon given a painful reminder of sorrow in the form of her brother. Arriving home, Camille finds all of her and her sister Sophie’s belongings and money and it could only be done by her brother. Camille has no choice but go find her brother at Versailles and demand their valuable possessions.

It may have been easy arriving at Versailles but leaving was much harder. After discovering her brother passed out at a gambling table, Camille finds herself in a trap when two women arrive wearing Camille’s stolen dresses . In order to get back her stolen dresses, jewels and money, Camille must gamble with the two women.

I forgot to mention earlier but there are three kinds of magic mentioned in the world of Enchantée. At first, Camille only uses only the first kind of magic, i.e. using her sorrow to turn metals into coins. Thereafter, she uses a darker kind or the second kind of magic called the glamour.

As Camille begins to gamble with magic at Versailles, she discovers that court life is not what she imagined at all. As she begins to use glamour magic to give herself a new identity at court, she discovers that she isn’t the only magician there. As lies pile up, will Camille be able to remember her true purpose or loose herself in the magic and glamour of it all ?

“Papa’s ghost might have whispered in her ear, there would be consequences, some of them not fair. How else would you know you had done something, if there was no change? No shift in the world?” 

― Gita Trelease, Enchantée

What I loved was the magical twist to one of my favourite places, the worldbuilding, it’s diversity rep(there is a queer couple and a biracial character), it’s soft romance.

What I didn’t love was the length of the story. I think it could have been shortened by a whole lot. There were so many unnecessary scenes in the ARC that I had to skim some of it. Since I read an ARC so I hope the final version has been corrected of this.

Someone asked on Insta if this had a world similar to Caraval. Well, not quite. It’s entirely different.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you love reading about Paris, historical fantasy and magical fantasy(not sure if that’s a word).

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 glowing stars.

Author: Connect with Author Gita Trelease here .

  • Publisher: Flatiron/Macmillan
  • Publication Date: 05 Feb 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 434 Pages
Thank you for reading my blog post

Do you think you’ll read ENCHANTÉE? Do you enjoying reading fantasy mixed with historical fiction? I loved visiting this fictional Paris. What favourite city of yours would you like to see in a fantasy setting? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!