A little feminist, a little romantic, but mostly just fun—and downright dirty on top of that. Yes, please.
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Why I love it
BOTM Editorial Team
When I started at BOTM, I was a professed literary snob—and probably flaunted that term with pride (cue eye roll). I never read romance books because I assumed they were too cheesy and poorly written to be considered worthy of my time. Years later, dozens of romance books devoured, I’m so happy to report that, on that score, I was wrong.
Set in turn-of-the-century England, this is the story of Annabelle Archer, a plucky woman with the opportunity to become one of the first female graduates at the prestigious University of Oxford. Upon entering college, she becomes an advocate for the women’s suffrage movement, which is how she first encounters the Duke of Montgomery—an influential, ill-tempered political adversary whom she must convince into becoming an ally. A clash of two strong-willed, sharp-tongued enemies? Sounds hot ;)
Bringing Down the Duke gives us the best that the romance genre has to offer: light-hearted fun, steamy sex scenes, and lots of brooding, read-between-the-lines dialogue. It also serves up a few additionally tasty accoutrements, including royals, a heroine with a feminist agenda (Suffragism! Get involved, people), and witty repartee that make for a very entertaining read. FYI, this is not a book that takes itself seriously—but I think you’ll agree the result is serious fun. Cheers!
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....
Read a sample →
Y’all I haven’t read a romance novel in a while but this one was ???? It was hot and spicy ???? and set in the 1800s —even better! At first you are annoyed by the hott duke but then you fall madly in love
West Chester, OH
It honestly took me a while to love this book. Once the plot gets going though, it pulls you in hard. Full of unexpected feelings, heartbreak, and the innerworkings of nobility. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved every part of the story, Dunmore’s writing is vivid and kept me flipping pages well into the night. Might be the best “romance” book I’ve ever read. Like Pride + Prejudice but with more life.
I’m not normally one for romance, but this book subverted romance tropes in a very clever way. Once I started reading it, I was unable to put it down. I’m happy that it’s the first book in a series
I didn’t realize it was a romance novel when I chose it - surprise! It was a fun and interesting plot that didn’t feel like it only relied on sex. I’ve recommended this to all of my friends already!
“Perhaps this is about deciding on which side of history you want to be.” This contemporary perfectly combines the tension of a Victorian romance with the political conversations of today’s world.
Tifton , GA
While this is set in the 19th century, it has a 21st-century attitude toward gender roles. Dunmore’s protagonist exemplifies how today’s romance empowers women. She gets the guy and stands her ground.
The right amount of angst and sexy, a feminist protagonist...I loved this book! I’m not usually one for historical romances, but I’m so glad I took a chance a this one because it was so enjoyable :)
South Lake Tahoe, CA
A story about the battle between satisfying duty to one’s station and one’s personal integrity. Quick paced, witty dialogue, challenges of strong British Tradition, and an enemies-turned-lovers plot.
San Diego, CA
A smart, well-written love story that doesn’t feel like fluff! Annabelle is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man but still wants one because, honestly, who doesn’t want to fall in love?
Fort Worth, TX
It was just so cute. Well written with developed characters and an involved plot I didnt expect from a romance novel. You’ll fall in love right along with the main characters! And we love a feminist!!
A super cute book. Requires some suspension of disbelief, but that’s all the best period dramas/romances. Annabelle and the Duke are fun characters you want to root for. A lovely, light and quick read
Brookings , SD
A feminist Victorian romance with great characters, drama and steamy scenes. It’s exactly the right book for a break from “serious literature” while still being a well-written book. Unputdownable!
Cincinnati , OH
I love history and historical fiction; why have I never read historical romance? Now I'm going down a rabbit hole, good thing September isn't to far. Once I got used to writing but then I was HOOKED????
New York, NY
The best romance I've ever read!! The love between the characters and the author was not afriad to make the duke vulnerable and loving. I couldn't stop reading. I LOVE THIS BOOK???? I would re-read this
Love the characters! Annabelle is a strong character who won’t compromise her values but because of her station in life is hellbent to change the course of history and the mind of the one she loves.
Loved this! While the suffragist plotline was interesting and really pulled me in, this is a romance at its core and it satisfied the Pride and Prejudice lover in me. Can’t wait to see more from Evie!
Annabelle is fiesty and witty and strong and courageous. Things get steamy with the Duke in all the right ways and now I’m just waiting to run into a duke in the middle of London while lobbying reform
New Braunfels, TX
My favorite read of 2020! I’m so glad I picked it up! It’s witty & sexy, with lots of banter & female empowerment set in a backdrop of the women’s signage movement in England. I love love love it!
Prescott Valley , AZ
I really enjoyed this book once I got into it, and then I couldn’t put it down. The characters were all so different from each other. I loved Annabelle’s stubbornness and would want her on my side.