Bringing Down the Duke

Berkley. (League of Extraordinary Women, Bk. 1). Sept. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9781984805683. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781984805690. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
DEBUT In Victorian England, Annabelle Archer cooks and cleans for her cousin Gilbert’s family. Given the chance to study at the new women’s school in Oxford, she pursues a scholarship from a women’s suffrage group. The terms of the award include participating in marches, handing out pamphlets, and petitioning men in power to change the Married Women’s Property Act. One of the men she attempts to sway is the cold and formidable Duke of Montgomery, Sebastian Devereux, who is working hard to remain in the good graces of Queen Victoria in order to restore his family’s legacy and reclaim his ancestral home. Both Sebastian and Annabelle are determined to get what they want, and their plights collide when Annabelle manages to get herself and her suffragette friends invited to the duke’s house for a holiday party.
VERDICT Dunmore’s debut is chock-full of verve, history, and passion, introducing a heroine who knows her worth and is determined not to be held back by her past. This series opener provides many opportunities for future installments, which will comfort readers as they reach the enthralling denouement.
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