Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)
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....

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1) Details

TitleBringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherBerkley
ISBN-139781984805683
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Fiction

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1) Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Corina
    January 1, 1970
    Bringing Down the Duke is a debut novel with lots of potential. The book had some of my favorite aspects and it also played during a time, the late 1800s, which isn't often portrait in historical romance novels. Most stories are set during Regency England between 1811 and 1820. This novel plays during the time of suffragettes, when women were being allowed at college and during the time of winning voting rights for females. It was certainly an exciting time. With many strong and forward thinking Bringing Down the Duke is a debut novel with lots of potential. The book had some of my favorite aspects and it also played during a time, the late 1800s, which isn't often portrait in historical romance novels. Most stories are set during Regency England between 1811 and 1820. This novel plays during the time of suffragettes, when women were being allowed at college and during the time of winning voting rights for females. It was certainly an exciting time. With many strong and forward thinking women.I really enjoyed the different era. 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. I expected something different.But, I'm not saying it wasn't a great 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.But above all else I love seeing debut authors write about an era that is not as overly used as Regency England is. And a new and different voice to a popular genre is always welcome. Especially if I can see this author going far. Because this author is one that I'll be watching.ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
    January 1, 1970
    TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKEAUTHOR: Evie DunmoreSERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019GENRE: Historical RomanceTHEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers, women's emancipationRATING: ALL OF THEM!CLIFFHANGER: NoREAD MY REVIEW ON THE BLOGI'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' TITLE: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKEAUTHOR: Evie DunmoreSERIES: A League of Extraordinary Women #1RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019GENRE: Historical RomanceTHEMES & TROPES: Enemies to lovers, women's emancipationRATING: ALL OF THEM!CLIFFHANGER: NoREAD MY REVIEW ON THE BLOGI'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.”
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Siobhan JonesWhen 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 itby Siobhan JonesWhen 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...
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  • Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    Set in England, 1879, Bringing Down the Duke is an unusual historical romance. The main character, Annabelle Archer is a daughter of an impoverished country clergyman, but she is also among the first group of female students at Oxford University and is a political activist of the suffragette movement. Her task is to recruit men of power and influence to their cause and this is how she meets Sebastian Devereaux, the Duke of Montgomery, her political opposite. There is a strong attraction between Set in England, 1879, Bringing Down the Duke is an unusual historical romance. The main character, Annabelle Archer is a daughter of an impoverished country clergyman, but she is also among the first group of female students at Oxford University and is a political activist of the suffragette movement. Her task is to recruit men of power and influence to their cause and this is how she meets Sebastian Devereaux, the Duke of Montgomery, her political opposite. There is a strong attraction between these two smart and strong-willed characters. However, Sebastian is aware that the bride he needs in order to secure a better position in society is somebody with money, social status and connections, somebody who is very different from the nearly destitute country girl he is developing feelings for. The novel is very engaging and highly entertaining. I am always interested in strong female characters ( the whole series is entitled: A League of Extraordinary women) and the fact that the story is set against the backdrop of the fight for the rights of women just made it more fascinating for me.Will be looking forward to the next title in this promising new series.Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
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  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    January 1, 1970
    3.7 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.In 1870s Victorian England, Annabelle didn't have a lot options when her father dies and is forced to live with her cousin who treats her like help he doesn't have to pay. When a former friend of her father and professor from Oxford who she has been corresponding with offers a scholarship to their women's college, she works out a plan to attend. There s 3.7 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.In 1870s Victorian England, Annabelle didn't have a lot options when her father dies and is forced to live with her cousin who treats her like help he doesn't have to pay. When a former friend of her father and professor from Oxford who she has been corresponding with offers a scholarship to their women's college, she works out a plan to attend. There she joins up with the National Society for Women's Suffrage, makes friends, see's a pathway to gaining any smidgen of freedom, and meets a Duke.Having to take over the Dukedom at the age of nineteen, that his father did his best to gamble away, Sebastian has always felt the heavy weight of responsibility. The Queen has personally asked him to be strategic advisory for the Tory party and he never shirks his duties. When a suffragette boldly approaches him, she definitely catches his attention.In a time where societal strictures are felt everywhere, Annabelle and Sebastian are going to have to decide what consequences they're willing to face to follow their hearts. “Fortunately, an old spinster from the country should be quite safe from any scandals,” she said brightly, “even at Oxford.” The first in the League of Extraordinary Women series and Evie Dunmore's debut, Bringing Down the Duke was a romantic but grounded historical romance. Annabelle's set-up could be any number of women's story from this time period and the consequences of her wanting to pursue her dreams and snatch any kind of freedom for herself are never far from her mind. Becoming friends with and joining the Suffragettes is dangerous for her but fighting to amend the Married Women's Act and wanting the right to vote is essential to the freedom she craves. I loved how the author kept Annabelle grounded in reality and while this kept the tone from being light and airy, it also gave the character and setting the gravitas it deserved; acknowledging the danger and societal norms they were pushing against only gives more feeling to what these women did. Annabelle was courageous with what seems like a simple act of handing out pamphlets (the author does a fantastic job of differentiating how the consequences were different for commoner Annabelle and her nobility friends) and wisely wary of what a relationship with a Duke would mean for her. This was intimacy, knowing he could look this way. Very few people would ever see him like this, Montgomery the man, not the duke. How she wished he were only a man. Due to Sebastian's background of given such a heavy burden at such a young age, he is more closed off. I would have liked a little more depth to his background to be seen on page, especially regards to his first wife (we get a little more much later on in the story) and more with his younger brother. He's a cool customer and we get glimpses at how strong his heart beats but I think he could have been fleshed out more.Annabelle and Sebastian's relationship is more of a slow burn and given their positions and situations, this fits perfectly. The spark of attraction is there when their eyes meet but they're forced to do more of a reach for and retreat, which creates some great burning for. The very real obstacles of a Duke and a commoner having a relationship provided the angst and I loved how the author handled this with an authenticity that, I personally, feel has been missing from historical romances lately. It is the very reality that make this fairy tale romantic. “Don’t,” he said hoarsely, “don’t throw away what we have just because you cannot have everything.” Secondary characters like Annabelle's friends, Hattie, Lucie, and Catriona, Sebastian's brother Lord Devereux, a wicked Lord Ballentine, and a Queen Victoria, who reminds us not all women are part of the sisterhood, round out the story well. We will obviously see some of these secondary characters again (Lucie the leader of the suffragettes and the rakish Ballentine look to be next up) but the author did a good job giving us just enough to entice and not have them clog or steal from Annabelle and Sebastian's story. She knew then that she would never be able to unsee him again. I thought the first half had some shorter and choppier sentences that broke up some of the flow of the story, background depth was at times missing from the characters, and I thought it took too long to see and feel the heart of Sebastian. However, this felt truly grounded in a historical romance sense and Annabelle's struggles with following her heart, rather due to laws, consequences, or fear, will have you fighting the emotion back. This debut will definitely have me waiting in anticipation of the next in the series.
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  • Christie«SHBBblogger»
    January 1, 1970
    Title: Bringing Down The Duke Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #1Author: Evie DunmoreRelease date: September 3, 2019Cliffhanger: NoGenre: historical romancePerhaps, her father should have made her read “Sleeping Beauty” instead of The Iliad—her life might have turned out quite differently.There's been a lot of early hype for this book, and I'm here to say that every bit of it has been earned. I've read a lot of historical romances with strong heroines who overcome the obstacles and restr Title: Bringing Down The Duke Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #1Author: Evie DunmoreRelease date: September 3, 2019Cliffhanger: NoGenre: historical romancePerhaps, her father should have made her read “Sleeping Beauty” instead of The Iliad—her life might have turned out quite differently.There's been a lot of early hype for this book, and I'm here to say that every bit of it has been earned. I've read a lot of historical romances with strong heroines who overcome the obstacles and restrictions put on them. What I genuinely don't think I've read is a heroine who joins the women's suffrage movement, and that was a big drawing point for me. I was really intrigued to read about how the author would portray the group of women, the public's perception of them, and the challenges they faced. I loved the fact that Annabelle is one of the first female students of Oxford. That she dared to dream of a higher education during a time when the social class you were born into and your gender dictated what your lot in life would be. Aristocrats were society's darlings simply due to their lineage, and favored even more when they didn't have to work. Not only did Annabelle come from an impoverished family, but as a woman, that narrowed her options to thrive down to almost zilch. Despite all this, she was able to finagle permission from her cousin to attend Oxford with the promise that she would pay him a sum of money regularly that she had no idea how to come up with. She doesn't let this sway her, because she's willing to work day and night, study, and attend her required suffragette meetings for her scholarship money just for a place to call her own. She doesn't want to live the dead-end existence she's been living out in the country, so she sets out to do something about it. Annabelle is pretty much perceived as a crazy liberal for even suggesting that women have the brain capacity to make voting decisions and control their own fortunes. An insane thought in our current times, but back then women moved from their parents' household to their own and never held any sort of power over their own lives. Sebastian Devereux, thirteenth Duke of Montgomery, is quite the snobbish, coldly aloof hero at the start. He rules over his vast estates without much joy, but he's forced himself to excel at it after his wastrel father gambled them into ruins. His younger brother Peregrin is managed by him with an iron fist, so much so that their relationship is mainly intimidation and demands. Sebastian is a favorite of the queen, and has traditionalist political leanings. As the newly appointed advisor to the Tory election campaign, he's fighting for one purpose only: his family's property back that was lost by his father in a card game. Out of family loyalty and obligation, he's been struggling for years to somehow buy it back from the queen's nephew with no luck. This seems to be the chance of a lifetime, if he can only sway the political field in the direction the queen desires. The only problem is, that direction directly conflicts with everything Annabelle has been fighting for. When Annabelle's group schemes their way into an invitation to Sebastian and Peregrin's home, she had no idea that she's about to rattle his foundation and leave him faltering on shaky ground. Reluctantly impressed by her direct gaze and unique fearlessness, he develops an unwanted curiosity that continues to grow with each meeting. The concept of having a romantic relationship with a woman so far below him in social class is beyond inconceivable. It would be laughable to even think of it. That may be horrible for him to feel that way, but I like that the author didn't shy away from presenting the reality of the social climate. But besides that is the fact that her political goals are on the opposite side of the playing field. He'd lose all respect and become a laughingstock by his peers at even a hint that he was with her. Everything that was finally almost in his grasp would be lost forever. Something in his chest responded, a sudden bloom of warmth in the cold. He swallowed. He hadn’t drunk in near two decades, but this was not unlike the heated sensation of Scotch burning down his throat. Could one become drunk on the presence of a woman?So obviously, there's a lot of push and pull between these characters. Sebastian tries to pursue and seduce, Annabelle resists harder than possibly any other character I've seen. The angst....it was absolutely delicious. I felt his internal battle over his need for her, and his sense of responsibility to expectations. Annabelle has already been burned very badly by another lord, and she isn't willing to compromise an inch. They had an amazing chemistry between them the more they fought it. Possessiveness, protectiveness, and admiration sparked and caught fire, but they were stuck in a battle of wills unable to move forward. Even though I wanted to slap him more than a time or two, you could see the depth of emotion and passion he had for her. In the end, he fought, and he made sacrifices the way he needed to in order to show her that she was the most important thing in the world to him. His lips brushed against her ear. “These wild depths in you, they call to me,” he murmured.This book was completely addictive. The love they had for each other was grew against all odds, and you truly felt that these two were meant to be. Bringing Down the Duke was so good that it forced me to compulsively race through the entire thing in less than twenty-four hours with butterflies in my chest, hearts in my eyes...it was the total package. I ravenously CONSUMED this author's writing style, and her brilliant talent for storytelling. To say that I'm excited for the next story in the League of Extraordinary Women series is a huge understatement. I need the follow up in my greedy hands yesterday. You can officially call me a loyal fan after reading this sparkling debut-it's just that simple. Get in on this series from the start, this is a new author you need to acquaint yourself with. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:
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  • ♥Rachel♥
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsBringing Down the Duke was sooo good! There was a delicious push and pull between Annabelle and Sebastian. They started out as enemies with opposing political views, and Sebastian was quite arrogant at first. It was a meeting of minds with intelligent conversation, and an undercurrent of intense attraction! For as much as they were at odds at times, Sebastian was quite the knight-in-shining-armor often coming to the rescue even when it put him at risk. I fell hard for him!Annabelle was 4.5 StarsBringing Down the Duke was sooo good! There was a delicious push and pull between Annabelle and Sebastian. They started out as enemies with opposing political views, and Sebastian was quite arrogant at first. It was a meeting of minds with intelligent conversation, and an undercurrent of intense attraction! For as much as they were at odds at times, Sebastian was quite the knight-in-shining-armor often coming to the rescue even when it put him at risk. I fell hard for him!Annabelle was a breath of fresh air! The kind of woman I hope I’d be in the face of such obstacles. It really was a tough time for women back then. This was set in a time when women had few rights, really appalling when you think of it. The situation Annabelle found herself in with her cousin was infuriating, and I’m glad he had little to do with the story other than at the beginning. I can’t believe Bringing Down the Duke was a debut novel! While it took me a little bit to sink into the story, I was solidly glued to the pages as soon as I hit the %15 mark I didn’t want to put the story down eager to find out what happened next! I love how everything turned out, and I can’t wait until Lucie’s story next, especially after reading the teaser at the end!A copy was kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • *The Angry Reader*
    January 1, 1970
    *ARC received for an honest review*I think this is my best ARC this year. Best historical romance. Best new author. And I didn’t expect any of it.First off, the cover is silly and the book is not. What the book is, however, is that rarest of jewels - emotional and passionate whilst remaining sweet and delicious. You’ve read this story a thousand times - uptight dude meets unconventional chick. Strong personalities clash. Aggravation turns to want turns to love. But Dunmore does it with panache. *ARC received for an honest review*I think this is my best ARC this year. Best historical romance. Best new author. And I didn’t expect any of it.First off, the cover is silly and the book is not. What the book is, however, is that rarest of jewels - emotional and passionate whilst remaining sweet and delicious. You’ve read this story a thousand times - uptight dude meets unconventional chick. Strong personalities clash. Aggravation turns to want turns to love. But Dunmore does it with panache. She breathes new life into a beloved trope - giving it a fresh spark yet not destroying something sacred. There is something magnificent in finding that rare book that gives you the feels without being smothering or cloying or depressing. It’s a deft hand that crafts something this delicate yet substantial. I adored their chemistry. I fell headlong into their believable struggles. I couldn’t get enough of their respect for themselves and each other. And I swooned a few times because he DID see her. And he said it. My heart soared and plummeted with his. Delightful. I’m atingle with anticipation for more from this delightful new author.
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  • Sam (AMNReader)
    January 1, 1970
    I ate this up. Looking forward to more from this author.
  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    What a fun, fast-paced, 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 starsSet in England in the late 1800s, Bringing Down the Duke follows the two perspectives of Annabelle Archer, a 25-year-old Oxford student tr What a fun, fast-paced, 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 starsSet 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.
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  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    January 1, 1970
    4 STARSSuch a lovely story, I adore it, this is my first book from Evie Dunmore and I'm already impressed!I loved everything about it, the romance has the perfect amount of push and pull and I find it romantic!Annabelle and Sebastian started out as enemies with different opinions and this through the story developed in to something more intense and intimidate! "He spun her round and she was pinned flush against the door, trapped between oak wood and one incensed aristocrat. Out of the two, the 4 STARSSuch a lovely story, I adore it, this is my first book from Evie Dunmore and I'm already impressed!I loved everything about it, the romance has the perfect amount of push and pull and I find it romantic!Annabelle and Sebastian started out as enemies with different opinions and this through the story developed in to something more intense and intimidate! "He spun her round and she was pinned flush against the door, trapped between oak wood and one incensed aristocrat. Out of the two, the oak would yield more easily."This is a refreshing historical romance!I cannot wait to read more books from this author!    
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    This is an incredibly strong debut in historical romance-- I'm excited to see a new author who reminds me so much of Courtney Milan, as I would love to see more historicals with that quality of writing, thematic depth, and 21st century attitudes/lens applied to a historical milieu. I want to describe this books as plucky and charming, as well as feminist AF and quite swoony. Beyond that... read the back cover copy. If this book sounds like a trope combo you could like, I highly recommend it! Esp This is an incredibly strong debut in historical romance-- I'm excited to see a new author who reminds me so much of Courtney Milan, as I would love to see more historicals with that quality of writing, thematic depth, and 21st century attitudes/lens applied to a historical milieu. I want to describe this books as plucky and charming, as well as feminist AF and quite swoony. Beyond that... read the back cover copy. If this book sounds like a trope combo you could like, I highly recommend it! Especially for readers who have some trepidation about the romance genre: I think this could be a friendly point of entry if you already know you enjoy historical fiction in generalVery excited to see more from this author in the future! Berkeley is seriously slaying the game with their 2019 line up
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  • Chanel Cleeton
    January 1, 1970
    Evie Dunmore’s debut is a marvel. Set against the backdrop of the British suffrage movement, Bringing Down the Duke is a witty, richly detailed, historically significant, and achingly romantic celebration of the power of love and the passionate fight for women’s rights. A stunning blend of history and romance that will enchant readers.
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars.Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke is the first book in the A League of Extraordinary Women series, and is a very strong début from someone who promises to add a much-needed fresh voice to historical romance.  The writing is sharp and clear, and displays a really good sense of time and place; the characters feel true for the time period, and I was particularly impressed by the heroine, who is forward-thinking and progressive without being one I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars.Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke is the first book in the A League of Extraordinary Women series, and is a very strong début from someone who promises to add a much-needed fresh voice to historical romance.  The writing is sharp and clear, and displays a really good sense of time and place; the characters feel true for the time period, and I was particularly impressed by the heroine, who is forward-thinking and progressive without being one of those contrary-for-the-sake-of-it, look-at-how-unconventional-I-am types who annoy the crap out of me.Annabelle Archer has lived under the roof of her cousin, a country clergyman, since the death of her parents.  She’s an unpaid skivvy; she keeps house, looks after his children and endures his continual complaints about the fact that her father over-educated her – why on earth would a woman need an education?  So when Annabelle is offered a place at Lady Margaret Hall (in 1878, LMH was the first Oxford college to open its doors to women) he’s  far from pleased, but when she says she’ll fund the cost of a replacement housekeeper (somehow), he begrudgingly allows her to go.Some months later, we find Annabelle in London with a group of her friends, like-minded young women who, under the leadership of Lady Lucie, secretary of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, are planning to approach various men of influence with a view to getting them to support changes to the Married Women’s Property Act.  The strategy – identify a man of influence, approach him firmly, but with a smile, and deliver a pamphlet boldly declaring The Married Women’s Property Act makes a slave of every wife! – isn’t difficult to grasp, but at this period, just walking up to a gentleman unannounced and unchaperoned wasn’t the done thing and could lead to worse things than a refusal to listen.  Annabelle is understandably nervous, but nonetheless determined to do her bit when she notices a man who appears to be exactly the sort of man of influence she needs to approach.Sebastian Devereux, thirteenth Duke of Montgomery, is one of the most powerful and respected men in England.  He  has a reputation for being cold and severe, and devotes most of his time to the running of his numerous estates and is particularly concerned at present with regaining possession of his family seat, Castle Montgomery, which his profligate father lost in a card game.  The Queen (who was, sadly, one of the biggest opponents of female emancipation) promises her support for his cause if he will take on the role of chief strategic advisor for the Tory party in the upcoming election – a job he doesn’t have either the time or the inclination to perform.  But he can’t refuse what is tantamount to a royal command.When news of his new appointment reaches Lady Lucie’s ears, she realises a change of strategy is required, and that she needs to know more about the duke. To his end, she hatches a plan whereby she, Annabelle and a couple of other ladies will be invited to the house party being held at Claremont, the duke’s country home, with a view to finding out as much about the duke as they can in the attempt to ‘know thine enemy’.Of course, the house party offers the chance for Sebastian and Annabelle to meet again, and to get to know each other. The spark both felt at their initial meeting really flares to life, and the author does a fantastic job building their romance in a believable manner that enables them to stay true to themselves. Their conversations and interactions are delightful; their flirtations via philosophical discussions and the way Sebastian shows the degree to which he really sees Annabelle through his selection of books for her are completely swoonworthy, and the longing they feel for one another is palpable.Their romance is a delicious slow-burn, which fits their characters and situations perfectly. Both of them are well aware of the difficulties which lie in the path of a relationship between a duke and a commoner, and unlike so much historical romance, which just sweeps those things under the carpet, the author handles this aspect of the story in a way that feels completely authentic for the period. That said, however, I really don’t like that whole ‘I can’t marry you because I love you too much to ruin you’ thing, which I always feel is one character accusing the other of not knowing his or her own mind – and it’s one of the reasons I couldn’t quite push this up into the DIK bracket. Annabelle’s insistence on self-sacrifice felt out of character and also left Sebastian to do all the hard work while she did nothing to fight for what she wanted. I also felt Sebastian to be somewhat underdeveloped as a character, especially compared to Annabelle, and there are a few places where the pacing is a little off; the circling around one particular issue goes on a little too long, and there are a few plot points (notably one concerning Annabelle’s romantic past) that are under-explored.On the surface, Bringing Down the Duke is nothing we haven’t seen before – uptight-duty-bound-hero-meets-unconventional-young-woman-who-gets-him-to-loosen-up-a-bit is a well-used plotline. Here though, the author breathes fresh life into the trope by giving her principals a real depth of character that’s been lacking in so many of the historical romances I’ve read lately. Annabelle is fully aware that her pursuit of an education and personal freedom, together with her espousal of the cause of women’s suffrage could have serious consequences for her, but these things are terribly important to her and she’s prepared to fight for them. She’s not loud or flashy (in the manner of Lady Lucie) but she’s no less committed, and her quiet determination adds weight and seriousness to her character and keeps the tone of the story grounded in reality. She’s a different sort of heroine just as Sebastian is a different sort of hero; he isn’t a cold, ruthless man with daddy issues, he’s a man genuinely dedicated to doing the best he can for those he cares for, and there’s the real sense that his association with Annabelle is gradually changing him because she’s opening his eyes to things he hadn’t previously seen or considered. Sebastian and Annabelle’s pasts inform their characters, but they also act according to their own lights and carve their own individuality separately from their upbringings and circumstances.I can’t finish this review without mentioning the (horrible) cover. It appears to be yet another attempt by the marketing folks at persuading potential readers that they won’t get infected by those nasty romance cooties if they read this book in much the same way so many contemporaries (Fix Her Up, The Hating Game, The Right Swipe etc.) are doing at the moment. I confess that I’m not a huge fan of the dress-falling-off-half-naked-clinch covers either, but this one looks like something daubed in a kid’s fingerpainting class!So don’t judge this book by its cover – or its title, which doesn’t make much sense either. Bringing Down the Duke is an impressive début novel that’s firmly grounded in its historical setting and manages to offer some insightful social comment without bashing the reader over the head with it. The writing is intelligent and accomplished, the central characters are engaging and three-dimensional, and the romance is sensual and tender. I’m looking forward to reading more by Evie Dunmore.
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  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely a solid 4.5.I read very few historical romances in general but this debut might just be one of my top favorites in the genre, and I’m so glad and delighted that I didn’t ignore it when it came onto my radar. This book takes place in late 19th century Britain set against the backdrop of the suffragists movement and I absolutely loved it. The way the author was able to show us the struggles of all the women who wanted to fight for freedom of women (particularly the amendment of the Marr Definitely a solid 4.5.I read very few historical romances in general but this debut might just be one of my top favorites in the genre, and I’m so glad and delighted that I didn’t ignore it when it came onto my radar. This book takes place in late 19th century Britain set against the backdrop of the suffragists movement and I absolutely loved it. The way the author was able to show us the struggles of all the women who wanted to fight for freedom of women (particularly the amendment of the Married Women’s Act) is just brilliant and I can’t believe this is a debut. The politics of the Tory Party and the Queen herself, how powerful people want to quash the movement and how those in the aristocracy view the common folk is shown with amazing clarity and I loved that the author never pulled her punches. The beautiful locations of Oxford are also described very well but also contrasted with how the facilities for female students were completely different/ very discriminatory when compared with those of their male counterparts. The plot was also a lot of fun and entertaining to read and I just didn’t wanna put it down at all, not even to sleep. The slow burn romance is extremely passionate and the attraction between the two main characters just sizzled right from their first meeting. And what an explosive (not) meet-cute that was... just the idea is so ingenious. There is a strong push and pull between the MCs, a possibility of a scandalous romance and reputations at stake - the author manages to capture all these emotions extremely well and I could feel every moment of it. And while I was pretty worried how these two stubborn people from very different stations in life would ever agree to be together, the author brought about quite a flashy ending. While it didn’t feel entirely realistic, I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t have been satisfied with anything else. Annabelle is a commoner with very low prospects but high intellect, not the most admirable quality needed for a woman during those times. Her yearning to be educated at Oxford, and belief about the need for the woman’s right to vote is presented wonderfully. She could be a bit impulsive but I guess her actions weren’t always unwarranted. Sebastian on the other hand is the Duke of one of the largest holdings in the country, a shrewd political advisor and someone who never does anything that could be construed as inappropriate for his station. He comes across as arrogant and cold in the beginning, but behind the perfect facade is a great and passionate mind in need of a challenge.Sparks fly between them since the very beginning and it was highly entertaining to watch their interactions play out. Even when they are arguing or flirting, the conversations range from politics and philosophy to reasoning and logic, and I particularly loved this way of developing a relationship. They also exchange witty exchanges through notes and books and I found it personally very swoony. And despite all this fun I had wondering how and when they would get together, it also made me cry when they tried to hold off on their feelings because of the forbidden nature of their relationship. The author managed to twist my heart so many times, making me all kinds of emotional and I obviously loved feeling that way.Though this is a romance novel, the author also takes time to develop the other important side characters, and I thought it was done perfectly. Hattie, Lucie and Catriona, all women whom Annabelle meets at Oxford and who are fighting for the same cause, quickly become friends and confidants despite being from varied backgrounds and it was very endearing to read about this group. And it was actually fantastic that the author managed to give each of these ladies their own purpose and motivation in life, while also striving for a common goal. The other important character was Sebastian’s brother Peregrin who is present for a very short time, but in quite a significant role. Their sibling relationship was pretty fraught but I liked that we get some sort of resolution to their issues. I’m in love with everyone here and I can’t wait to see them all again.To conclude, I just wanna say that this book was fun, sexy, witty and intelligent and I had a gala time reading it. If you love historical romances with a dash of feminism, then I promise you can’t go wrong with this debut. It has equal parts passionate romance and political commentary about the plight of women, and the author strikes a perfect balance between the two. I’m very very happy that this is going to be a series and after that little snippet towards the end, I’m doubly excited to read Lady Lucie’s story next.
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  • Lacey (Booklovers For Life)
    January 1, 1970
    One of my new FAVORITES of the year. So deliciously slow burn, tension-filled and intense! I loved Montgomery and Annabelle so much.
  • OLT
    January 1, 1970
    This is the best debut historical romance I've read since Mia Vincy's A Wicked Kind of Husband in 2018. I can't think of any recent HRs better than these two, by debut or established authors. Dunmore's HR is not without flaws but it is very well written, has a nicely slow-burning romance, and intelligent, clever dialogue. Yes, getting these two main characters of very disparate social classes to an HEA does feel like a bit of a fairy tale, but I really didn't mind.It's 1879 in Victorian England. This is the best debut historical romance I've read since Mia Vincy's A Wicked Kind of Husband in 2018. I can't think of any recent HRs better than these two, by debut or established authors. Dunmore's HR is not without flaws but it is very well written, has a nicely slow-burning romance, and intelligent, clever dialogue. Yes, getting these two main characters of very disparate social classes to an HEA does feel like a bit of a fairy tale, but I really didn't mind.It's 1879 in Victorian England. Our heroine Annabelle is very intelligent, very well educated (by her late vicar/scholar father) but also very poor. She's living in Chorleywood with her stuffy vicar cousin Gilbert and his family at the beginning of the book, serving as their unpaid nanny/governess/maid, but she wants more from her life. When she is offered a place at Oxford University's new women's college, she has to manipulate Gilbert into agreeing to this, which means promising to send him two pounds a month to pay for a replacement for her and also hiding from him the fact that she is being sponsored by the National Society for Women's Suffrage.This scholarship requires that Annabelle volunteer for the suffrage society's causes, in particular the struggle to get Parliament to abolish the Married Women's Property Act, which gives a husband control and ownership of his wife's property upon marriage, hence rendering her powerless. To work toward this, volunteers such as Annabelle must try to convince members of Parliament of the rightness and justice of their cause, handing out political pamphlets to them and trying to engage them in conversation about it.That's how Annabelle meets Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery, just outside Parliament. It's not a particularly successful meeting but it works well for us romance readers, as we see a bit of antagonism and attraction at the same time. Sebastian is not just stuffy. He's single minded. Before his death, Sebastian's father had managed to lose all the unentailed properties of his dukedom. Since inheriting the title, Sebastian has been on a quest to regain them all. And he's been successful, except for just one place: Montgomery Castle.Now he's in reach of that goal. Queen Victoria has promised to intercede on his behalf with the present owner of the castle, if only Sebastian uses his influence to keep the Tory party in power. Well, this means no liberal leanings for Sebastian at the moment, and, of course, that means ignoring the women's struggle for the right to maintain their own properties or their right to vote.That puts Annabelle and Sebastian on a political collision course but there is an undeniable attraction which must not be given in to. Only, of course, if Annabelle would agree to be his mistress. Well, we all know how HR heroines feel about being the hero's mistress. But wife is out of the question. A poor vicar's daughter, without a hint of nobility in her bloodline?Well, there now. The plot, as you can see, isn't really new or unique. Yet it is freshly done. I really enjoyed the rather realistic inclusion of the suffragette movement and the heroine's part in it. She's not a strident feminist. Just wants to be free and equal. No subservient wife role or that of mistress for her. And she has a little bit of personal baggage from an incident in her past (which I won't get into here) which adds to her stubbornness about certain things in her relationship with Sebastian.There are very good secondary characters here. There's Lady Lucie, leader of the National Society for Women's Suffrage; there are Annabelle's two new best friends in the society, one a rich businessman's daughter and one of the peerage; there's Sebastian's immature younger brother; there's Professor Jenkins, Annabelle's professor; there's Sebastian's former lover, Lady Lingham. All of them are well developed and with distinct personalities. I can see sequels to give Annabelle's friends Harriet and Catriona and Sebastian's brother Peregrin their own romances. They were all appealing characters and deserve their own stories.This is not a perfect book. It has its flaws and so do the characters within it. It is better than a 4-star one, however, but I still won't give it 5. Too much extended drama about the mistress/marriage dilemma, and, for me, not enough about the politics. The romantic component was, however, the kind that appeals to me. Lots of burning attraction before the actual bedding. All in all, one of the better HRs I've read in the past few years.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this Victorian historical romance set in the time of Suffragettes, Disraeli and Gladstone and the admittance of women to Oxford. Annabelle was an intelligent, independent woman and I found the resolution to their romance charming.
  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the synopsis and the cover is bright and gorgeous. I was very excited to read it. I loved Annabelle and Sebastian. She’s smart and loyal and ambitious. He’s stand-off-ish and stoic and easily smitten. Together they’re filled with chemistry and UST and the longing looks across the room were at an all time high. Plot wise, it was good. I enjoyed the suffragette story line and the ladies who were a part of it. I would have liked more of the two of them together, but I think I’m just being g I loved the synopsis and the cover is bright and gorgeous. I was very excited to read it. I loved Annabelle and Sebastian. She’s smart and loyal and ambitious. He’s stand-off-ish and stoic and easily smitten. Together they’re filled with chemistry and UST and the longing looks across the room were at an all time high. Plot wise, it was good. I enjoyed the suffragette story line and the ladies who were a part of it. I would have liked more of the two of them together, but I think I’m just being greedy. Overall, it was a fun read and I look forward to the next book in the series.**Huge thanks to Berkley for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Tracy C
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing debut by Evie Dunmore! Annabelle and Sabastian will break your heart and then put it back together. There is an underlying Pride and Prejudice vibe that is relevant to the time and the storyline was such a unique subject. Can't wait for the other lady's books!!
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  • aarya
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by First to ReadCW/TW under spoiler tags:(view spoiler)[Heroine gets pregnant out of wedlock and has miscarriage before events of book. This is the serious plot point that I thought wasn’t explored enough (see below for review) (hide spoiler)]Entertaining, lovely debut. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering that I’m ridiculously picky re: historicals and find most new-to-me authors boring. This is not the case here: witty banter + swoonworthy moments in alcoves (ser ARC provided by First to ReadCW/TW under spoiler tags:(view spoiler)[Heroine gets pregnant out of wedlock and has miscarriage before events of book. This is the serious plot point that I thought wasn’t explored enough (see below for review) (hide spoiler)]Entertaining, lovely debut. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering that I’m ridiculously picky re: historicals and find most new-to-me authors boring. This is not the case here: witty banter + swoonworthy moments in alcoves (seriously, I think every historical must have a debauched moment in an alcove, I love it) + philosophical debates that are a thinly disguised excuse for flirting + strong female friendships + forced proximity due to illness + Beauty and the Beast allusions (not sure if it is intentional, but I think both the library and Annabelle-running-away-that-first-night are clear BATB references) + satisfying set downs of odious sexist men by Annabelle (my favorite scene in the book, although her target is unfortunately my namesake) + obvious sequel bait that is revealed in only two paragraphs but every seasoned romance reader will recognize it for what it is.This book repackages the familiar into the new: 1) familiar because we all know duke heroes like Sebastian (icy, arrogant, sardonic - you get the idea!) and bluestocking heroines like Annabelle but also 2) new because of the focus on the suffrage movement and Oxford setting. I claim that I’m sick of English historicals, but that’s a lie! I’m sick of any historical that doesn’t go beyond the ballroom and discuss the era’s social/political issues in some manner. I’m honestly okay with duke heroes and don’t have a grudge against them like some readers do! Just, you know, make them more interesting and involved with politics. Minuses: First, I rolled my eyes a bit at the main conflict that lasted forever (“we can’t ever marry, we’re not of the same class!”) but despite it dragging for far too long, I still enjoyed the banter and angst it generated. Second, the secret in Annabelle’s past is barely expanded upon. Considering how serious it is, I expected more time and attention devoted to it. It is mentioned once and becomes instantly irrelevant. Third, there is a loose plot thread in the very end about who did [redacted bad thing that causes trouble for Annabelle]. I have my suspicions, but the text never confirms it; it is very frustrating because I wanted to know who it was. Fourth, Sebastian never apologizes for insulting Annabelle during the dark moment (and if you read it, he definitely needs to verbally apologize even though his romantic apology gesture is pretty great). Minor things individually, but they did make me knock down a star despite how much I enjoyed the book. This didn’t affect my rating but I confess to being a little weirded out that the protagonists are named Sebastian and Annabelle. If you don’t know, these are the main characters of Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. It is especially distracting because (like in the Kleypas books) Annabelle is blonde/gorgeous while Sebastian is an arrogant duke (okay, fine, St. Vincent is the ducal heir but close enough). The Wallflowers are a formative/seminal text for me, and it feels wrong to see Annabelle and Sebastian together! It’s not surprising for me to be weirded out by names. For example, I can’t even read historical heroes named Clayton because that name is forever associated with a Certain Book - I can’t see the name Clayton without shuddering!Overall, a really promising debut and I look forward to reading future books by this author.
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  • Jenny - TotallybookedBlog
    January 1, 1970
    “This is not a game to be won.”“Well, it certainly seems like a tremendous defeat to let you go.”‘Don’t let me go.’ What a wonderfully rich, swoony and interesting debut from Evie Dunmore. We’ve been on a bit of a historical renaissance lately and couldn’t wait to start Bringing Down the Duke. The era and the theme particularly sparked our interest, and the passion we experienced was palpable.Set during the time of the National Society of Women Suffrage, the suffragette’s aspect was something t “This is not a game to be won.”“Well, it certainly seems like a tremendous defeat to let you go.”‘Don’t let me go.’ What a wonderfully rich, swoony and interesting debut from Evie Dunmore. We’ve been on a bit of a historical renaissance lately and couldn’t wait to start Bringing Down the Duke. The era and the theme particularly sparked our interest, and the passion we experienced was palpable.Set during the time of the National Society of Women Suffrage, the suffragette’s aspect was something that particularly garnered our interest and we take our hat off to Evie Dunmore because the research that went into this story was exhaustive! It seems scandalous to think of the sacrifice’s many women made for marriage at that time. The suffragette’s certainly fought a hard-won fight.Annabelle Archer is twenty-five, beautiful, extremely intelligent and capable of great things, however, because of her station and gender, she must endure being a housekeeper for her horrid cousin. Annabelle is offered a scholarship to Oxford, something she desperately wants, however, the terms of the stipend state she must support the suffragette movement during her education.This isn’t a hard ask for Annabelle and her friends Lucie, Hattie, and Catriona. These women are passionate about the cause and willing to fight for the right to be educated, enter parliament and for dissolution of the spousal property policy, in which they women must sign over their property to their husbands upon marriage. These women certainly have a fight on their hands.Annabelle soon crosses paths with the handsome, aloof, commanding, utterly belligerent Lord Montgomery (Sebastian) a wealthy Duke, who is considered to have one of the country’s sharpest strategist minds. So much so, his counsel is sought by the Queen herself. The Duke has the ability to make women fawn and men cower with one piercing look.‘He does have a heart, you see, a retrained, honourable heart, but it bruises just like yours and mine, and I wage it is a hundred times more steadfast.’Annabelle is taken with the thirty-five-year-old Duke, and she, in turn, ignites a passion and lust in him that puts him off kilter. Readers, just wait until you experience the passion and chemistry between Sebastian and Annabelle! It’s tangible and felt like a living breathing being of its own!‘But the truth was, a shocking emotion had held him in its clutches that night – to be inside her, or die.’Annabelle and Sabastian not only gel with their sharp minds, but they meet on an emotional and physical level. Is there a future for them when Sebastian cannot marry below his station, and despite her feelings for him, Annabelle knows their relationship cannot prosper…or can it?‘Very few people would ever see him like this, Montgomery, the man, not the duke. How she wished he were only a man.’Evie Dunmore captured the struggle and strength of the suffragettes perfectly, whilst pitting the battle between love and want versus propriety and rules beautifully. We thoroughly enjoyed this story, though we did at times it could be a little repetitive.This can be read as a standalone, though we’re looking forward to catching up these extraordinary women as the series progresses. “Would you have me change my place in history to prove how much I want you?“ Available to purchase belowAmazon USAmazon UKCome and say hi, at:✲ TotallyBookedBlog✲ TBB on Facebook✲ TBB on Instagram✲ TBB on Twitter✲ TBB on Pinterest
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  • Wendy ⏃: ✦Cheeky Chicks Blogger✦
    January 1, 1970
    4 STARS!Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore was a hit! Just another reason to devour more historical romance books #yumThe setting is England, 1879. Annabelle Archer is the destitute daughter of a country vicar. She has been accepted to be among the first female students to attend the prestigious University of Oxford but first she needs to convince her cousin to give her permission. Her scholarship requires her to support the rising of the Women's Suffrage Movement. Annabelle is charged to re 4 STARS!Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore was a hit! Just another reason to devour more historical romance books #yumThe setting is England, 1879. Annabelle Archer is the destitute daughter of a country vicar. She has been accepted to be among the first female students to attend the prestigious University of Oxford but first she needs to convince her cousin to give her permission. Her scholarship requires her to support the rising of the Women's Suffrage Movement. Annabelle is charged to recruit men of influence to support the cause. She soon selects Sebastian Devereux, the Duke of Montegomery... This is when the fun begins y'all.Annabelle is feisty, brilliant, and fearless. She fights for what she believes in. Her biggest fear is getting her heartbroken. Sebastian comes off cold, calculating, and snobbish. He's involved in politics. Favored by the Queen, he works to get back his property that his own father lost in gambling. The moment Sebastian sees Annabelle: Instant attraction. They fight this push and pull. Sebastian is drawn to her but he knows because of her low status he can't make her his wife. Hello angst, my old friend!What a wonderful debut novel by Evie. Passionate, witty, and refreshing. I couldn't get enough of the writing. Being transported to Regency England was timeless. I'm looking forward to book 2 💃🏼*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Berkley through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
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  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    Hold me, because after reading this, I feel a book hangover coming on. This was a sweep-you-off-your-feet kind of historical romance read but with extra bonuses. What are these extra bonuses I speak of? This was one of the most feminist reads I’ve had in an age and injecting this level of feminism into HR is no easy feat. Second bonus, the battle for equality was on both sides.Annabelle was low-born, intelligent but encumbered by the will of her cousin for what happened in her destiny. After muc Hold me, because after reading this, I feel a book hangover coming on. This was a sweep-you-off-your-feet kind of historical romance read but with extra bonuses. What are these extra bonuses I speak of? This was one of the most feminist reads I’ve had in an age and injecting this level of feminism into HR is no easy feat. Second bonus, the battle for equality was on both sides.Annabelle was low-born, intelligent but encumbered by the will of her cousin for what happened in her destiny. After much struggling she had secured a stipend to be one of the first cohort of women at Oxford. What I hadn’t realised was that life at Oxford for these women was just a smidge of an experience compared to the men. Annabelle joined a suffragette movement and ended up petitioning the Duke of Montgomery, Sebastian.Sebastian was a stick up his…kind of Duke, a lot cold, obsessed with his duty and roles for the queen and parliament. However, this story is a journey of Sebastian’s unravelling. His character development was vast as he opened up his mind to women’s position in life through Annabelle and also as he opened himself up to being able to feel.These two had chemistry off the historical charts, with a slow build of kisses and touches. Being together was an undeniable eventuality and it was compulsive reading, beautiful and delicious. I appreciated Annabelle’s prior experience and how this was handled in the book.She had tried to climb Montgomery like a cat.The story took me on a journey of giggles, entertainment, longing and some heartbreak. I have come away from this book so delighted by the content that I immediately pressed pre-order on a physical copy because I will be rereading this.BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE is a debut of exciting proportions, with a slightly slow start but a pace that will delight very quickly. The story, characters and research underpinning this read make it something rather special. Evie Dunmore is an author to watch and I will be waiting with bated breath for her next book. Rounded up to 5 stars.Thank you to Little Brown for the early review copy.This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Blog here.
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  • Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction)
    January 1, 1970
    A charmingly written historical romantic debut although admittedly it's not quite my favorite romantic debut in a year filled with some amazing, smashingly written romantic debuts. Still, it was cute and Annabelle is a heroine worth looking up to; she's super smart and well-educated. I enjoyed reading this novel that balances history with passion and romance, with the ever still timely message that a woman must often still struggle to find their place in a "man's" world and struggle to speak the A charmingly written historical romantic debut although admittedly it's not quite my favorite romantic debut in a year filled with some amazing, smashingly written romantic debuts. Still, it was cute and Annabelle is a heroine worth looking up to; she's super smart and well-educated. I enjoyed reading this novel that balances history with passion and romance, with the ever still timely message that a woman must often still struggle to find their place in a "man's" world and struggle to speak their mind. It was also an important message about finding one's place in society/life, as well as finding true love and happiness. Thank you Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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  • nick
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5It's no secret that I love historical romances, but frankly, I can be quite picky about them. I've been eager to read Bringing Down the Duke ever since I heard that the book was centered around the British suffrage movement. I was undeniably hyped diving into this book and I'm pleased to conclude that Evie Dunmore delivered on a clever and swoon-worthy romantic debut that is sure to charm all readers of this genre.The beating heart of Bringing Down the Duke was its heroine, Annabelle. She w 4.5/5It's no secret that I love historical romances, but frankly, I can be quite picky about them. I've been eager to read Bringing Down the Duke ever since I heard that the book was centered around the British suffrage movement. I was undeniably hyped diving into this book and I'm pleased to conclude that Evie Dunmore delivered on a clever and swoon-worthy romantic debut that is sure to charm all readers of this genre.The beating heart of Bringing Down the Duke was its heroine, Annabelle. She was a young and intelligent woman who was among the very first women to be accepted to study at Oxford. Her life-changing scholarship, however, came at a price - she must aid the suffragette movement with their aims. Her first task is to convince influential men to alter a sexist law. Annabelle was not a difficult heroine to grow fond of. She was smart, wily, and very down-to-earth. Evie Dunmore makes it seamless to get invested in Annabelle's story, her goals, and the determination she had to reach them. She has got her vulnerabilities as well, especially regarding her class in society, but she doesn't let that tear her down. I found her to be very admirable and it was a joy to read this story in her voice. The first man that she approaches in her task is Sebastian, a certified broody hero. Their first meeting was full of sparks and chemistry, and that only grows throughout Bringing Down the Duke. Sebastian was a powerful man with a very assertive presence throughout this book. In exchange for a castle that his father gambled away, Queen Victoria asks him to lead the Tory party to victory. As with Annabelle, Sebastian was also a man who was goal-driven and would leave no stone unturned to achieve what he wanted. It was a very attractive quality of him, in addition to his quiet intensity.Sebastian and Annabelle may have come from very different backgrounds, but they were more than compatible. Their connection was more than just about the chemistry. They both had similar emotional maturities and shared many common interests, which made for some excellent mentally-stimulating conversations between them. I have to say, somehow, their conversations were even sexier than their physical scenes. The romance was one that built torturously slowly, but it was incredibly gratifying. Evie Dunmore was brilliant at making me wait with a bated breath for them to finally get together as they danced around each other, and when it finally happened? Explosions everywhere! I was wholeheartedly invested in their relationship even through the downs. Besides the red-hot romance, I enjoyed how much page space the author devoted to the historical events. It took Bringing Down the Duke to another level for me, making the book even more enjoyable. A lot of times, I tend to only care for the romance, but Dunmore has a way with her words of delivering on the setting and the plot that had me engaged in all aspects of the story.Bringing Down the Duke is not only one of my favorite debut novels of 2019, but it is also one of my favorite books period. It encompasses everything I love about historical genre and I can't wait to see what amazing books the author has up her sleeves. Read this one, folks!
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