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Bringing Down the Duke

(10 customer reviews)


by Evie Dunmore


“There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing such a man brought to his knees by a beautiful woman with nothing to her name except an inviolable sense of her own self-worth.”—NPR

“With her sterling debut, Evie Dunmore dives into a fresh new space in historical romance that hits all the right notes”—Entertainment Weekly

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford suffragists in which a fiercely independent vicar’s daughter takes on a powerful 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


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About this book

362 Pages
7 - 8 Hours to read
98k Total words


In The Press

Praise for Bringing Down the Duke

One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Romances of 2019

“Dunmore captures the spirit of the era with a sparkling effervescence, plowing through staid stereotypes of Victorian England to give us a group of extraordinary women refusing to live as bystanders in their own lives…A delightful new entry in the historical romance genre that works to both uphold the best of its traditions while pushing it into new frontiers and deepening its ties to history.”Entertainment Weekly

“Evie Dunmore’s debut is a marvel. Set against the backdrop of the British suffrage movement, Bringing Down the Duke is a witty, richly detailed, historically significant, and achingly romantic celebration of the power of love and the passionate fight for women’s rights. A stunning blend of history and romance that will enchant readers.”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author 

“Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke dazzles and reminds us all why we fell in love with historical romance.”—Julia London, New York Times bestselling author 

“Brilliant and enchanting! Miss Dunmore is about to take the historical world by storm!”—Rachel Van Dyken, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Simply superb! Evie Dunmore will wow you.”—Gaelen Foley, New York Times bestselling author

“One of my all-time favorite historicals.”—Maisey Yates, New York Times bestselling author

Bringing down the Duke was one of the best books I’ve ever read—absolutely adored it. Dunmore had me in tears, had me holding my breath…the emotion and passion made the book ache and sing.”—Jane Porter, New York Times bestselling author

“Charming, sexy, and thoroughly transportive, this is historical romance done right.”Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“Funny, smart, and a fantastic read! Bringing Down the Duke was absolutely brilliant!”— Corinne Michaels, New York Times bestselling author

“Full of witty banter and swoonworthy moments….A deliciously delightful romance.”—Woman’s World

“Dunmore’s beautifully written debut perfectly balances history, sexual tension, romantic yearning, and the constant struggle smart women have in finding and maintaining their places and voices in life and love, with the added message that finding the right person brings true happiness and being with them is worth any price. A brilliant debut.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Chock-full of verve, history, and passion.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Full of witty banter, rich historical detail, and a fantastic group of female friends, the first installment in Dunmore’s League of Extraordinary Women series starts with fireworks as Annabelle and Montgomery try to find a path to happiness despite past mistakes and their vastly different places in society. Dunmore’s strong debut is sure to earn her legions of fans.”—Booklist (starred review)

“What an absolutely stunning, riveting, painfully gorgeous book! It’s going straight to my keeper shelf, and I will be buying a copy the moment it comes out to reread again and again.  It’s not only the best historical romance I’ve read in a long, long time, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read! I adored it!”—Megan Crane, USA Today bestselling author of Sniper’s Pride

Bringing Down the Duke is the best historical romance I’ve read all year. I was spellbound by this story of forbidden love between a spirited, clever Suffragette heroine and her straitlaced duke, a man who proves that fire burns hottest when it’s under ice. Evie Dunmore is a  marvelous, fresh new voice in romance who is sure to go far. Don’t miss her brilliant debut!”—Anna Campbell, bestselling author of the Dashing Widows series

“With just the right blend of history and romance (and a healthy dash pride from the British suffragists that would make Jane Austen proud), I was hooked on Annabelle and Sebastian’s story from the very first page. I can’t wait for the rest of League of Extraordinary Women novels!”—Stephanie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of American Princess

“Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke delivers the best of two worlds—a steamy romance coupled with the heft of a meticulously researched historical novel….Readers will be entranced watching Annabelle, a woman ahead of her time, bring the sexy Duke to his knees.”Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer

“I have read the future of historical romance, and it’s Evie Dunmore.”—Eva Leigh, author of Dare to Love a Duke

“Evie Dunmore’s debut novel Bringing Down the Duke is about personal growth, leaving preconceived notions behind and the long hard fight for women’s rights. The novel is hilarious in many parts, but it also provides more serious lessons for the reader. Best of all it has a Happily Ever After.”—Historical Novel Society

“A deliciously original debut featuring a fiercely passionate suffragette who melts an icy duke’s heart. Set against the backdrop of the fight for women’s rights, Bringing Down the Duke is the perfect blend of romance and history.”—Diana Quincy, author of The Rebellious Brides Series

“Evie Dunmore has written a story we need right now—strong, smart, and passionate, featuring a heroine who won’t settle for less than what she deserves and a swoony hero who learns to fight for what really matters. With her debut novel, Dunmore has instantly become a must-read for me.”—Lyssa Kay Adams, author of The Bromance Book Club

About The Author

Debut author Evie Dunmore wrote Bringing Down The Duke inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and her passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian. In her civilian life, she is a consultant with a M.Sc. in Diplomacy from Oxford. She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA). Evie lives in Berlin and pours her fascination with 19th century Britain into her writing.

Additional information



10 reviews for Bringing Down the Duke

  1. Senior

    The major characters are well-developed, and the storyline (involving women’s suffrage) interesting. I particularly liked the author’s use of political philosophers and contemporary historical figures and events. But, Ms Dunmore, do a little research. The brother of a duke, because he is also the son of a duke, is styled Lord Peregrin, not Lord Devereaux. Conversely, a peer is styled Lord Ballentine, never Lord Tristan or Lord Tristan Ballentine. And only servants and shopkeepers would refer to an unmarried woman as Miss; her peers and especially a duke would always address her as Miss Archer or Ma’am.One does not unboard a vessel, one disembarks from it. A horse is not saddled and haltered but saddled and bridled; no one would get on a horse, especially a lively one, that had no bit in its mouth. And so on. You need better readers and editors. I like the characters, so I’ll probably read the next one, hoping that the more egregious errors are cleaned up.

  2. Maggie

    There were part of this book I really enjoyed. The setting was unusual, and there were times my heart was really squeezed.I liked the story line invoking Peregrin and his relationship with the duke. I thought it added some nice depth. I wished the friendship among the girls has been better fleshed out, but I was fine with it.There were just parts of the book where things felt hollow or wrong. I couldn’t figure it out while reading but upon finishing the book (late and sleeping on it), I woke with an idea of what was wrong.~~Spoilers ahead ~~I just can’t get over how the duke wanted Annabelle as a mistress first and foremost. And at first I could forgive the sentiment. It was expedient. But she was clear about what that would mean for her economically, socially, morally. And honestly, the impacts for a woman were devastating. AND THEN HE ASKED HER AGAIN.And this is the problem with the duke and Anna as a couple: I never felt like the duke came to an understanding that being his mistress was not the kind of relationship he wanted with Annabelle. He never gave up on the thought of her being his mistress because it was bad for Annabelle. He would have been HAPPY AND SATISFIED to have had that kind of relationship with her forever. He only proposed marriage because she wouldn’t be his mistress and he “had to have her.”I just can’t get past that.

  3. OLT

    This is the best debut historical romance I’ve read since Mia Vincy’s A WICKED KIND OF HUSBAND in 2018. I can’t think of any recent HRs better than these two, by debut or established authors. Dunmore’s HR is not without flaws but it is very well written, has a nicely slow-burning romance, and intelligent, clever dialogue. Yes, getting these two main characters of very disparate social classes to an HEA does feel like a bit of a fairy tale, but I really didn’t mind.It’s 1879 in Victorian England. Our heroine Annabelle is very intelligent, very well educated (by her late vicar/scholar father) but also very poor. She’s living in Chorleywood with her stuffy vicar cousin Gilbert and his family at the beginning of the book, serving as their unpaid nanny/governess/maid, but she wants more from her life. When she is offered a place at Oxford University’s new women’s college, she has to manipulate Gilbert into agreeing to this, which means promising to send him two pounds a month to pay for a replacement for her and also hiding from him the fact that she is being sponsored by the National Society for Women’s Suffrage.This scholarship requires that Annabelle volunteer for the suffrage society’s causes, in particular the struggle to get Parliament to abolish the Married Women’s Property Act, which gives a husband control and ownership of his wife’s property upon marriage, hence rendering her powerless. To work toward this, volunteers such as Annabelle must try to convince members of Parliament of the rightness and justice of their cause, handing out political pamphlets to them and trying to engage them in conversation about it.That’s how Annabelle meets Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery, just outside Parliament. It’s not a particularly successful meeting but it works well for us romance readers, as we see a bit of antagonism and attraction at the same time. Sebastian is not just stuffy. He’s single minded. Before his death, Sebastian’s father had managed to lose all the unentailed properties of his dukedom. Since inheriting the title, Sebastian has been on a quest to regain them all. And he’s been successful, except for just one place: Montgomery Castle.Now he’s in reach of that goal. Queen Victoria has promised to intercede on his behalf with the present owner of the castle, if only Sebastian uses his influence to keep the Tory party in power. Well, this means no liberal leanings for Sebastian at the moment, and, of course, that means ignoring the women’s struggle for the right to maintain their own properties or their right to vote.That puts Annabelle and Sebastian on a political collision course but there is an undeniable attraction which must not be given in to. Only, of course, if Annabelle would agree to be his mistress. Well, we all know how HR heroines feel about being the hero’s mistress. But wife is out of the question. A poor vicar’s daughter, without a hint of nobility in her bloodline?Well, there now. The plot, as you can see, isn’t really new or unique. Yet it is freshly done. I really enjoyed the rather realistic inclusion of the suffragette movement and the heroine’s part in it. She’s not a strident feminist. Just wants to be free and equal. No subservient wife role or that of mistress for her. And she has a little bit of personal baggage from an incident in her past (which I won’t get into here) which adds to her stubbornness about certain things in her relationship with Sebastian.There are very good secondary characters here. There’s Lady Lucie, leader of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage; there are Annabelle’s two new best friends in the society, one a rich businessman’s daughter and one of the peerage; there’s Sebastian’s immature younger brother; there’s Professor Jenkins, Annabelle’s professor; there’s Sebastian’s former lover, Lady Lingham. All of them are well developed and with distinct personalities. I can see sequels to give Annabelle’s friends Harriet and Catriona and Sebastian’s brother Peregrin their own romances. They were all appealing characters and deserve their own stories.This is not a perfect book. It is better than a 4-star one but I won’t give it 5. Too much extended drama about the mistress/marriage dilemma, and, for me, not enough about the politics. The romantic component was, however, the kind that appeals to me. Lots of burning attraction before the actual bedding. All in all, one of the better HRs I’ve read in the past few years.

  4. Y.N. Hackett

    I wanted to love this book, and there is a lot to love about this book. A younger me would have adored it–and, in another form, did. It reads like a velveteen rabbit. Not like the book The Velveteen Rabbit, but like the titular toy, like my favorite romance novels were read over and over until the characters were more real, the prose shimmered off the page, the tropes were beatified. If you read a lot of romance, this book will probably not surprise you, except in how strikingly well executed it is as something that falls squarely in the genre of all the things you’ve loved about HRs.For me, as a feminist, for whom the historical suffragist angle was a large draw to the book, I’m tired of books like this. I’m tired of heroes who are romanticized for their toxic masculinity and heroines who love them because they alone can see through the tragic truth to the soft core of the hero’s heart, because ouch, his pride was hurt. I’m tired of heroes who fall into toxically masculine patterns like getting drunk and wrecking their rooms or shutting down and destroying their relationships in the name of duty or other such twaddle. I’m tired of interactions between the hero and heroine where consent falls into kind of dubious territory even though technically the heroine is tacitly implied to be enjoying herself.Maybe I’m just too old for this. I needed the hero’s salvation to not be through the heroine making him better by existing and giving his rigid heart a crack to beat through, and a demonstration of his growth on the page. There’s a line in the book that implies that someone believes, idea paraphrased, that “if she can make him feel, maybe he can change and become a better person”. I know it’s a historical, but it’s also being written in 2019. Give us actual growth and redemption in our heroes.

  5. Astrid

    I’m a huge fan of Judith McNaught’s historical romance. Why I’m mentioning that? Because this author’s debut, BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE, transports me back to a time when I was devouring the novels by McNaught. While Evie Dunmore’s writing style is more modern in parts which makes this story extremely readable, I’m not complaining, mind you, because this author’s words wrapped themselves around my heart. However, the story, this deliciously angst-filled plot, the yearning, the complex characters so reminded me of McNaught’s. I think that’s one of the biggest compliments I can give an author.Evie Dunmore shows us how far women have come, how women fought for what we consider normal and rightfully ours. This alone makes it this book worth reading and will give you a new appreciation of the women’s role in society today.Spun around this setting is an epic love story between a commoner and a duke, both very aware of their position in society. Sebastian is right a jerk when this starts off but man, did I fall in love. I fell so hard. He is honorable, considerate, more than he let on when we first meet him, arrogant, high-handed, controlled and incredibly private and emotionally stunted. It was a thing of beauty to watch him turn from this seemingly cold-hearted bastard into a man, who felt deeper than anyone would have ever expected he was capable of. What a complex, infuriating, protective, wonderful man he was.Annabelle is everything Sebastian needs but can’t have. She was just as beautiful a character with her backbone of steel, intelligence, sophistication and unshakable loyalty. She refused to be the duke’s mistress because she had a sense of self worth and knew that even though Sebastian would treat her well, society wouldn’t. She knew the feeling of being a pariah, she didn’t want to repeat mistakes she’d made before. While my heart hurt for them both I could understand her standpoint.Their attraction was so palpable, so passionate and there were times I wanted to smoosh their faces together and tell them to get it over with. There was so much tension between them, the impossibility of their love made this story heartwrenching.Supporting these two are equally strong women, who I suspect will get their own stories.This is a well researched, fascinating romance with characters that make you think even after leaving them to their happily ever after. And what a HEA it was. How can I not fall back into a slump after BRINGING DOWN HE DUKE? Ugh! The story is flawless and flows without hiccups. And I can’t praise the beautiful words enough. Evie Dunmore shows other authors how debuts are done. I loved every minute spent with Sebastian and Annabelle.

  6. Élodie Nicoli

    I was not the read I had planned for today but after reading a previous of the first two chapters, i had to continue my reading.I have seen many great reviews from earlier reviewers, I leave to them the action to convey their thoughts about the historical facts as it is not in my capacities.I will just share how I felt and the sentiments once having turn the last page of this book.For once, I can very much say it is my first read by Mrs Evie Dunmore, as it is also her debut novel, well her first edited one ( as I do suppose to be published, an author has to sweat over a lot of pages before catching a publisher’s eyes.What an error it was to decide to read it, i stayed awake late at night when I had to wake up before the sun rising.I just adored this book.The characters are flawed but it was what made them more engaging.Annabelle is no miss-in-distress. Sure, she is facing some dire straits and paying a harsh price for the errors of her young self.But she uses her clever mind and wits to her profits, refusing to let others dictate her future. She might be a woman, she won’t let it stop her from reaching her goal. She has to play not always fair but it is how life is.She is a strong willing woman and she won’t debase herself even to satisfy her passionate inner core, but she has also her doubts, as they were ingrained and tattooed in her soul, in spite of knowing she is worth than what it is expected from her, when her dreams could come true, she can’t comprehend she is deserving her happily ever after, she rejected it for fear of not being enough.Sebastian Devereux, Duke of Montgomery is everything is expected from such a lofty titled gentleman. Icy cool and composed, never showing or expressing an emotion. Always behaving like he is expected. He inherited his title at a very young age and since he has made his mission to restaure his family name to its ancient splendor. Slowly he is regaining all his lost estates, and now that only one is left, he must obey His Queen’s orders if he want to be able to get the last one back. But his encounter with a pair of green eyes disrupts everything he had planned. He is unsettled for the first time since long, drawn to her like he is magnetized. When around her, he can’t stop saying outrageous things, acting the wrong way.Despite their sizzling chemistry, she is too far below his station to be anymore than a kept woman. Why they spent a great amount of time avoiding the other when at the same time they can’t stand to be too far as they need another’s presence to breath freely.So when after having told her many many time, she could never be more than his mistress, I did understood why she didn’t believed him. Proposing her after having a fright, is not the best path to reassure her of his feelings and his willingness to face the scandal which would assuredly strike.Sure words and insults were exchanged but as their “courting” was not the usual too, he should have realize he could not come and barge in her home like a madman and profess his undying love when he told her with conviction she was no match for a duchess position.The author gave me time to get acquainted with both main characters plus the side protagonists. She developed them in a way, I learned gradually about their pasts, pain and wounds. It rendered them more alive.While I have read some reviews complaining about Annabelle refusing Sebastian’s proposal, despite the hurt both caused to another, I did accepted her choice even if wrong. She thinks she is protecting him from a rushed decision, albeit letting go her own happiness, maybe too to shield herself from future pain.So with this first published novel Mrs Evie Dunmore has won a firm reader.And autumn 2020 is so very far for the second installment.I was granted an advance copy through Edelweiss and the publisher Penguin Publisher Group. I purchased also my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion.

  7. Katherine Inhofe

    This book is advertised as historical fiction. Let me be clear: it is historical erotica. Description is horribly deceptive (barely goes into the suffragist movement). Honestly, don’t waste your time.

  8. Amazon Customer

    So many red flag abuses and manipulations. I get that it was the times…. I do and I’m a glutton for the dominant, overbearing types. I just felt like consent was a nonissue here when it should have been, especially with a character that was built up on her smarts. My personal experience with Physical and Mental abuse may have a part to play in it as well.Not to mention that the first half was a more sexually charged version of Pride and Prejudice (with the book actually referenced). The charms of Austen are based on the wit and sass of the characters, not their physical attributes sex appeal. I am not saying sex cannot be a part of it, I only found it dizzying when one minute we present an intellectually discussion, that is then tossed aside and now focusing on each others lips because what your bedroom skills are mean more than what is in your brain. For a book that is supposed to celebrate Progressive movements in the suffragette era, I just felt like that was undermined by sensationalized tropes.I also had minor issues with the language. The numbers confused me, since I have never read them like that before. Usually they are reversed, but that is a superficial complaint. There were times where sentences seemed awkwardly written. You get what is trying to be said, but it could have been written more clearly. Obviously by my lackluster writing here, I’m no expert, these were just my feelings on it.It was an interesting read, but it really didn’t sell it for me. I feel bad. I would give it 3-stars but Montogomery is just too idiotic and cruel for me to really want him to win the girl.

  9. CJH

    The cover is misleading. The story is not lighthearted and has explicit sex and cringy sexual references. It should have the stereotypical woman with her boobs about to fall out on the cover.I appreciated the attempt at a legit story line but reading about a man thinking about his c0ck just isn’t my thing. Bummer that I spent $8 on this, too.

  10. M. Stults

    I loved this book! It gave insight into the suffragette movement in England and how women began to fight for rights that they lost when they married. It was a beautiful love story between a powerful Duke and the daughter of a vicar, one of the first women admitted to Oxford University, but also a commoner. Initially Sebastian treated Annabelle poorly, but then he began to fall in love with her knowing he could never marry her. He then thought she could become his mistress, but she refused knowing she could never share him with another woman. This book was very well written and for a first book, it was excellent! Very well edited and an enormous amount of history went into the writing of this book. Although there were a number of very sensuous scenes, they were not overly offensive and did not provide the storyline. However, there are some who would be offended and there were a few uses of religious swear words causing me to give it a 4-star rating. I do look forward to her next book due out in 2020!

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