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..
“The trouble with freedom is it isn’t just an empty phrase that serves well in a speech. The desire to be free is an instinct deeply ingrained in every living thing.”
I’m a huge sucker for romance novels which feature two very intelligent and opinionated people that constantly argues and proves to be a battle of their brains but eventually getting attracted to one another. Bringing Down the Duke is a good example of that romance trope. However, if you’re looking for a cute lighthearted steamy read with less political and social constructs that needs to be broken down interwoven in the story, then you might get a bit disappointed.
I love the idea of this book taking place during the late 1800s wherein the Suffrage Movement was on its initial works. I admire that the author had portrayed the struggle of women to find a voice for themselves and not be squandered by the rule of men as the central portion of the story. It definitely showed in how Annabelle and the gang wanted to prove to everyone that she could do as much as she can (and even better) alongside men in any of their chosen fields. It just spoke a lot of truths as to how women struggled to have equal rights just as men have.
The story itself was entertaining, but didn’t really have the wow factor I expected it to have. It had the common young outspoken and trail-blazing heroine with an alpha male who is way above her station thing going – and both carrying a lot of baggage – on that I often find in other historical romances. The romance between them started of slow, as it was a battle of wits, and then eventually sizzled hot quickly, which was just an okay for me – not really the type of romance that made me kilig and root for them. It was just really that – an okay feeling. It also hurt because it was another missed opportunities and miscommunication type of love story that could have saved readers some time if they just stopped making stupid decisions. It wasn’t even an angsty romance between them, which I would have liked more if that was the direction it was going to.
While I had a few issues with the story and characters’ choices, the story itself did compliment the message that the author wanted to pass along to her readers. Over-all, it was an okay book, and if you like this concept, then I could recommend you check it out.
“How is it fair that a man can tell me my brain was wired wrong, when his main achievement in life seems to be his birth into a life of privilege? And why do I have to beg a man to please make it his interest that I, too, may vote on the laws that govern my life every day?“
About The Author
Evie wrote The League of Extraordinary Women inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and her passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian. In her civilian life, she is a strategy consultant with a M.Sc. in Diplomacy from Oxford. Scotland and the great outdoors have a special place in her heart, so she is frequently found climbing the Highlands and hunting for woolly tartan blankets. She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA)