Evie Dunmore brings her debut novel, the first in A League of Extraordinary Women series, to the blog today with
Bringing Down the Duke
Annabelle is tired of being the ‘governess/maid of all work/ servant’ to her cousin, a vicar. He’s more interested in keeping Annabelle in line, a not so easy task as she is determined, intelligent and chafing against the restrictions placed on her by the simple fact of her sex. While we know that am indiscretion when she was a teen left her disowned and needing to rely on her cousin, it has led her to not trusting in any man, and determined to find a way to define and live her own life despite the constraints placed on women. She does have an out though – her own acceptance into Oxford to continue her studies of the classics – if only she can convince said cousin to let her go and her ability to pay him for her absence.
Once in Oxford – it feels a great relief were it not for her tutorials taking place over tea shops and in rooms set far away from the college proper – and with plenty of time to use her brains and determination for other things. Soon she is in the movement to amend and alter the property laws that mean that a woman will give up her property to her husband’s management and ownership when they marry. Secondary issues here result in the laws stating that only “men of property” have the right to vote – and while suffrage and the vote isn’t the primary issue, it’s all tied together. With her two special friends, the three are given the task of ‘changing’ the mind of particular Lords and members of Parliament – and Annabelle’s chance encounter with the Duke of Montgomery – a confidante of the Queen, and feared by all for his powerful management of himself and his interests. Often thought cold and unfeeling, Sebastian has several secrets and plenty of worries – not the least is his failed marriage and his recalcitrant brother.
Sebastian is intrigued and drawn by Annabelle – her determination, brains and ability to make him rethink things in new ways have him off-balance and spending more time (and political capital) on thoughts of her, or actions on her behalf. He was hurt badly once, and it is mostly fear and worries about ‘what people will think” after his rather disreputable father near bankrupted the title and holdings – all of which Sebastian has worked tirelessly to mend. While the difference in status bothers them both – and both have reason for shying away from a more ‘formal’ arrangement, or even marriage – the two of them are unable to deny the attraction or that they are so well matched. A lovely debut that only muddled a few times with stories of Sebastian’s brother’s disappearance and Annabelle’s friends, but these moments gave us a deeper understanding of the characters the two have as friends and family, and added depth. I’m interested in the next book, and can’t wait to see how long it took the scandals around the match of Annabelle and Sebastian took to die down.
Title: Bringing Down the Duke
Author: Evie Dunmore
Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #1
Genre: British, Historical Romance, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Published by: Berkley
Published on: 3 September, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 20 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.