Friday, July 31, 2020

Bringing Down the Duke



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.... - excerpt from Goodreads

Bringing down the duke by Evie Dunmore was praised to be the future of historical romance but I did not feel especially fascinated by it. I have read many of books in this genre and the thing that sets it apart from others is the message behind the book. No doubt having an issue to highlight in a fiction is a good move but sometime I just want to immerse myself in a brainless, funny, swoon-worthy story. 

The classic hierarchy, social circles and ranks will always exist in genres like this because that's how that era was built on. Royalty or anyone close to it will always be on top of the social circle. So when our heroine appears to be a nobody and trying her best effort to recruit men to fight for women's right, she had to stumble upon someone who is the most powerful Duke in England. 

Both lead characters are interesting people with interesting past. A good amount of attraction exist because of opposite traits and personalities. Their status itself makes it a trope, someone low class falling in love with someone out of reach. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives from the characters as it focuses on different situations of the story. Sebastian the male lead had really good growth in the book as Annabelle manages to bring out the best in him. As for Annabelle, I would say that circumstances and life lessons truly shapes her, resulting in her actions. The way she acts at times are agreeable, at times you would feel a tad annoyed because there is much stubbornness. 

I would say the plot of this book is driven by events happening in the book, such as a peaceful demonstration, dinner parties and many more. Through these, our characters are tested in many ways even though this is just a romance book. The struggles of a lady in that era and also men who tries to support them are not acceptable in society. Side characters plays a strong part in supporting the leads, some being reasons of actions, some being the "villains" that changes their path.

Overall, this is just an okay book for me as it focuses more on the message the author is trying to share, feminism. I would not comment on this subject because everyone has their own opinions on how to go about this. I am not fascinated by it as many historical romances has always urge the same topic, we woman are not objects for men to parade around and we have strong opinions too. A woman with great personality makes a good wife and also brings out the best in men themselves. So if you're looking for something sweet and sweeps you of your feet, this is not the one for you. You want to read about women empowerment, this is up your alley.


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