Synopsis: Annabelle Archer is a bit too bright for her own good, especially when you consider she’s a poor country vicar’s daughter. Annabelle is accepted into Oxford University’s first women’s cohort, where she attends under a scholarship that requires her to be apart of a women’s suffrage movement. Between studying, protesting, tutoring pupils (because god forbid her cousin let her go without her paying for her replacement in his house!), she’s somehow gotten involved with personally convincing Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery, to support the suffragettes. Who hast just been asked by the Queen to support the Tories. When passions enter the situation the Sebastian has to decide how much his family legacy is worth and Annabelle has to decide how far she’ll go for independence.
Bringing Down the Duke: 4.5/5
I really liked this book. It was a fun and steamy read! Annabelle was an incredibly likable character, but I felt like she never fully got the credit that she deserved. Sebastian took me a while to warm up to, but his huge personal changes really sold him to me. I found this to be one of the most compelling parts of the novel because I love when characters change for the better because of each other. Additionally, the themes of intellect, freedom, safety, and voice were potent. The arguments that the characters had about these topics were insightful and in tune with the time period that they were in. Sure, I had issues with Sebastian as he could be an ass, but I understood where he was coming from. A little longer of an ending would have been good as it just felt very sudden with everything that happened!
- Annabelle: Like I said, I really liked her. She has gone through so much! She was juggling so much between tutoring, learning, protesting, and then adding Sebastian into the mix. I even felt tired for her through the book. She’s a very strong character, but I enjoyed watching her moments of internal turmoil and contradiction. Those are the moments that I find that you see the character for who they are. My only wish was that Annabelle had relied on her suffragette friends a little more and had been kinder. If she had opened up to them, then I would have been completely satisfied.
- Themes: The discussion of intellect, freedom, safety, and voice were scattered throughout the entire novel. Between internal dialogue and insightful banter these elements really kept the story grounded. I found it fascinating how some of the character’s views on these elements changed throughout the novel and they were noted. I appreciate a good continuous story line!
- Character Changes: I found this to be one of the most compelling parts of the novel because I love when characters change for the better because of each other. With Bringing Down the Duke there was no shortage of these. My favorite transition of a character’s opinions was Sebastian’s, because he went from this cold, hollowed man bent on legacy to one that found himself.
- Hattie: Hattie is the sweetest little thing! She was such an amazing friend to Annabelle and I wanted so much more for her! I know that the third book is all about her and I cannot wait for it. She is the bomb.
- Sebastian (At Times): Most of the time I liked him. I found Sebastian to be a perfect model for the time period (1880s England). The issue, is that he can be an ass for so much. I get that he’s an important duke, but there’s only so much douchery I can handle (and I went to a very Greek life college). If he had been taken down a notch or two in the book to a more humble human I would have been much happier with him. He honestly reminded me of a more asshole-y version of Darcy. Same general theme, but just a tad bit more broody/mean.
- Gilbert: Annabelle’s cousin, the reason she is running towards Oxford. He’s never really addressed. Once or twice Annabelle will bring up something about him, but for being such a motivation for Annabelle I expected more. I especially expected more at the end of the novel, but there wasn’t more. This would have been a great plot point that could have been fleshed out for Annabelle and Sebastian to overcome. Oh well.
- Historical Accuracy: Look, I went into this novel with low expectations on historical accuracy. I was right to. It’s not perfect. The dialogue is not that of the 1880s England (I’m ok with that) and there many little things that are off about the time frame. It’s a cute romance novel. Bringing Down the Duke is not any sort of historical non-fiction.
Long Story Short
Would I recommend Bringing Down the Duke? Yes, I would. I found the novel to be incredibly interesting and I quickly devoured it. It didn’t take me long to finish the whole book! Annabelle and her suffragette friends were fascinating, Sebastian is an enigma, and the side plots were captivating. Sure I would have liked a bit more meat to the novel, but there was enough plot to not make me complain. A Rogue of One’s Own is already on hold at the library for me, and I am looking forward to the next one being published! I was really impressed with Evie Dunmore’s novel, especially as it is her debut.
I purchased my own copy from my local bookstore.
Here is the Amazon Link (I am NOT affiliated with Amazon)
What did you think of Bringing Down the Duke? Wasn’t it such a fun read!? I’m finding that Evie Dunmore is going to be a fave of mine!
All opinions are of my own are not reflective of anyone else. I buy/loan all of the books I review unless specified and I only give my 100% true opinion on them.
Did you know there’s a second one out now? Read about Lucie and Tristian’s publishing woes as this heated battle becomes the true meaning of all is fair in love and war. My full review of the book is here.