Bringing Down the Duke – Published 2019
“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….” – Goodreads
This one took a little while for me to really get into, but about a third of the way in it really picked up and I devoured the rest quickly. I actually switched to the audio, and liked it much more! It was narrated really well, and I was able to put it up to 2.5 speed and thought it was perfect.
I loved that this was focused on women pioneers and showed people starting to question their role in society. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I thought this was well done in regards to time period relevance and also charm, wit and romance.
The Duke can be really arrogant, but I loved how Annabelle was able to either put him in his place or bring him to his knees. This novel is definitely authentic feminist. I also loved and approved of the romance, and especially the steam! 🔥
I’ve seen some criticisms of the book, people who think it’s not feminist because they’re using today’s measuring stick. These women represent some of the first suffragists. They fought for women’s rights at a time when women couldn’t vote, couldn’t have their own property, couldn’t get an education – and when they could they were criticized for it and it wasn’t equal. Did they still wear dresses, seem frailer than men and make mistakes? Absolutely. But they were still pioneers for their time.
Overall, I enjoyed this. It’s steamier than I anticipated, I loved the romance, and I look forward to the next book!