Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Title: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
A League of Extraordinary Women Series Book One
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 364 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through First to Read


A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a powerful duke in a 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….


Set in 1879, Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore is a captivating historical romance.

Twenty-five year old Annabelle Archer is a highly intelligent young woman with a scandalous past. She lives with her cousin who exploits her lack of funds by forcing her to work in his household for no pay. When Annabelle gets the opportunity to be one of the first women students at Oxford, she has to convince him to allow her to attend.

Soon ensconced at the prestigious university, Annabelle tries to fly under the radar as she fulfills the conditions of her scholarship from the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. Tasked with convincing influential gentleman to support their efforts to overturn The Married Women’s Property Act, Annabelle approaches the Duke of Montgomery, Sebastian Deveruex.  Will the spirited Annabelle convince the uptight Montgomery to throw his considerable political clout behind their cause?

The daughter of a country vicar, Annabelle never quite recovered from scandal that occurred several years earlier. Highly educated, she is forced to live off the largesse of her priggish cousin which makes her all the more eager to study at Oxford. Annabelle is no shrinking violet but she does adhere to the tenets of society. All too aware her lack of a title, Annabelle is ever cognizant that her behavior must be exemplary. Which is why she is so dismayed by her unexpected attraction to Sebastian.

Sebastian has managed to pull his family back from the brink of bankruptcy following his father’s ignoble demise. He keeps his emotions tightly in check as he goes about his ducal business.  But he is frustrated as he deals with his rapscallion younger brother Peregrin’s antics. Sebastian is a favorite of Queen Victoria and his latest political maneuvering could finally help him regain an important family estate. Sebastian is taken off guard by how much he enjoys Annabelle’s company, but will he be able to ignore his sizzling passion for the feisty young woman?

Sebastian and Annabelle are a well-matched couple but their different social statuses are a huge obstacle for them to overcome. Annabelle has good reason to be leery of his pursuit but subduing her passionate nature takes considerable effort. Sebastian has already survived one scandal and he is not willing to put himself in the midst of another. How long will they be able to ignore the simmering attraction that underlies their witty banter and sparkling conversations?

Bringing Down the Duke is an enchanting historical romance that features winsome characters and a well-researched storyline. Annabelle is a plucky woman who is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the man she loves. Sebastian is initially a bit staid and proper, but he begins to loosen up after meeting Annabelle and his priorities begin to shift.  Their romance is a deliciously tortured slow burn that is entrancing yet frustrating due to their inevitable conflict. This first installment in Evie Dunmore’s  A League of Extraordinary Women is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy historical romances.

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