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Audiobook Review: Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1)

Published September 3rd 2019

Author: Evie Dunmore

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki

Audiobook Length: 12 hours 20 minutes

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….

The series A League of Extraordinary Women begins with the first installment, Bringing Down the Duke. After completing a few other historical romances, I was excited to begin this series as it not only offers some sweet romance stories but also goes into some historical elements with the women’s suffrage movement. The story sets out to bring together a likable and outspoken heroine and an influential hero, who both are trying to figure out how to change society for the better in a world currently set in its ways. In addition to the romantic element, the novel delivered a well-done exploration of politics and society.

Annabelle Archer has been accepted to Oxford University as one of the first female students. She has been given the scholarship to attend and participates in a group looking to amend the Women’s Property Act. She meets like-minded women who come together and form a plan to single out influential men to join their cause. Her first mission is to recruit Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery. When the two meet they have an instant attraction, but Sebastian is driven by his role as Duke, which means he needs to focus on women of his station, which is not Annabelle, who is the daughter of a clergyman. The two begin to get to know each other and I love that it was not only a physical aspect that attracts them, but also a connection of their minds. There are many social rules that are in their way and both are conscious of this and try to figure out a way to make it work, whether together or apart.

Annabelle’s story was fun, as it not only involved her obstacles as a university student. I liked that the story went into the struggles of a student that is trying to balance their schoolwork and their outside interests. Annabelle, Lucie, and Catriona, and Hattie were very enjoyable foursome. I love that each woman will, most likely have her own story. Lucie is A Rogue of One’s Own, Hattie is Portrait of a Scotsman, and so I assume the fourth installment will be Catriona based on this pattern. Sebastian and Annabelle may meld together well intellectually and physically, but there is a class difference between them. While there are some frustrating moments with some decisions that each of them makes throughout, their story was very enjoyable to experience.

Overall, this was a charming novel filled with witty banter and a fun enemy to lovers story. If you are a stickler for historical facts, the novel does miss some exact elements; however, it is clear there was a lot of research done and many accurate elements presented. The minor pieces were not a factor for me and did not affect my enjoyment of the story. This was a very interesting take on a historical romance as it explored the suffrage moment. The characters were very enjoyable in this story and it will be fun to see what the rest of the series holds with the other members of the group. After completing this novel, I am now very excited to begin the second installment, A Rogue of One’s Own!

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