Wow, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve sat down and written a full book review. The brain power just hasn’t been there. Hopefully it’s been less long for those of you reading this because I would like to get a review posted for The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai before it’s publication date. But today is June 22, 2019 and I wanted to send Bringing Down the Duke off to Dani and Dani’s Bookshelf today, but I needed to write this review first! Bringing Down the Duke hits shelves on September 3, 2019, which should be two days from now if I timed this correctly!
So if you’ve ever wondered who out there is winning those giveaways on Goodreads, I am happy to exclaim that I won one of the giveaways for an advanced copy of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore! I had to send it to my parent’s house because they refuse to send books to post office boxes for some unknown reason that is epically unfair to those of us who don’t have a physical mailing address.
Anyway, when I arrived home for Father’s Day weekend, I opened my package, squealed about how gorgeous the cover is and then went to bed because I didn’t get home until late. Saturday morning though? I started this book and was the worst daughter because I basically didn’t want to do anything until I’d finished. I found Bringing Down the Duke to be compulsively readable and I absolutely adored it.
For those of you who love Managed in Kristen Callihan’s VIP series the best because you love seeing buttoned up Scotty unraveling because of Sophie, you’ll probably love this book. The Duke of Montgomery gave me slight Mr. Darcy vibes and describing him as buttoned up feels generous. He is uptight and in rigid control. His personal feelings do not get to factor into his decisions because his goal is to regain his family’s ancestral home and to restore his family’s name to where it “should” be. He’s more or less accomplished the latter part of his goal, but his ancestral home remains just out of reach.
When the Queen tells him to win the election for the Tories (the party adamantly opposed to progress) and she’ll get her son (nephew? Idk) to sell his house back to him, he knows just what he has to do. Of course, when he keeps running into Annabelle, the suffragette specifically tasked to convince him to vote for women’s suffrage, he thinks he can just put her in a box and keep her there. Never mind his fierce attraction to her. Genuinely, watching him unravel is the best!
Now, Annabelle is our heroine and I think she’s absolutely wonderful. Overly educated for a woman of her time, she’s thrilled to be able to attend Oxford in their first class of women (sort of). She has to manipulate her cousin, who has guardianship of her or whatever because WOW did women really have no rights back then, and her paragraph about this is fantastic.
Annabelle lowered her lashes. She knew it would look demure, and demure placated her cousin best when he was all in a fluster. Of all the types of men she had learned to manage, the “ignorant yet self-important” type was not exactly the most challenging. Then again, when her very fate lay in the hands of such a man, it added insult to injury. Gilbert would snatch the chance of a lifetime from her here in his cramped little study and go straight back to admiring his freshly pinned butterflies in the display case on the desk between them.
*Note: The above quote is subject to change from the ARC version.*
She does manage to go off to school and finds herself having to do so much. She has to work to pay Gilbert two pounds a month, which her stipend doesn’t cover, she’s got to study, and because her stipend comes from a society aimed at getting women the vote, she also has to attend meetings and work to advance the cause. Everyone is flabbergasted when she approaches the Duke of Montgomery to hand him a flyer about women’s suffrage and she develops a reputation in the Society as The Woman to get things done, essentially.
I don’t want to spoil anything about the plot and how the Duke and Annabelle are ultimately forced together, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I did feel like something was missing at the end, just because it felt so abrupt to me. I think this is a fine line in romance and I’m usually the person jumping up and down screaming because how dare you end the book there? I’m sure for many the end will be totally fine. Oh! And for anyone wondering, the heat level of this book felt like a Tessa Dare style, maybe Sarah MacLean. The anticipation scenes are like… Wow. But there aren’t very many actual sex scenes (maybe three? four?).
Before I wrap this up, I do want to talk briefly about how much I adored the side characters! I thought the women in the Suffrage group becoming a found family was absolutely marvelous. The group of women are all a little different and I cannot wait to meet them for real in each of the spinoffs. (I’m assuming we’re getting at least four books in this series. *crosses fingers*) The next book is going to be a hate to love/second chance, I think, and I am excited but nervous. I didn’t really like the intro of this male lead and I’m apprehensive about whether I will truly be able to find him forgivable.
Are you going to pick this book up? Are you excited about it? Let me know!