Saturday, September 7, 2019

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore ~ Review

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)Source: Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for review consideration.

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery 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....

I don't read historical romance very often, but this one caught my eye. First thanks to the cover, then thanks to a tweet I saw where Death by a Thousand Cuts by Taylor Swift (aka my favorite song on her album Lover) was paired with it. Then, when I couldn't decide what to read, I picked up Bringing Down the Duke and flipped to a random page not too far in. That random page had me SUPER excited to read the book. And so, it was my next read and it was so good I'm glad I picked it up!

From the beginning I was rather into the story. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know the two main characters, Annabelle and Montgomery. They're both very intelligent and respect that in one another. Their banter was witty and fun. I especially was a fan of Montgomery's shift from grumpy to caring to sweet to in love.

The romance featured multiple tropes that were perfect to me. A slow burn, forced proximity, grumpy hero, a slight bit of enemies to lovers (though I wouldn't quite say they start as enemies). I loved seeing their relationship grow as they spent more time together, and I totally get the comparison to Death by a Thousand Cuts now--which was kind of painful but also SO GOOD and beautiful.

There were a couple of things that just barely held this back from being a 5-star read for me, both of which I suspect may be because I don't read historical often. First of all, while I was interested in the storyline the entire way through the book, there were portions that dragged a smidge--and those portions were ones with great detail about Montgomery's and Annabelle's day-to-day life. Though I suppose it's not surprising that I much preferred the parts where they were together. Second of all, it kind of pricked at my nerves at the step the romance took before they started toward their happy ending. I'm not going to be specific, because spoilers, but his proposition irked me. The way he worded it was freaking sweet, though, so my feelings are mixed.

Overall, Bringing Down the Duke was a sweet, fun romance. As the first historical I've read in a while, I'm super pleased with how easily it drew me in and how quickly it won me over. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you're looking for some solid witty banter!

4 stars - A sweet, fun romance full of witty banter!

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