The Gentleman’s Gambit

Berkley. (League of Extraordinary Women, Bk. 4). Dec. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780593334669. pap. $17. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Dunmore concludes her marvelous “League of Extraordinary Women” series with Catriona’s story. Along with her friends, she is fighting for women’s suffrage, largely based out of Oxford, where she is a scholar in a world that doubts her ability. Prickly, brilliant, worn out, Catriona has resigned herself to watching her friends fall for men who adore and support them, pushing out of mind the several occasions when those in her own life have cruelly let her down. When she meets Lebanese businessman Elias Khoury, she discovers that he is another man with a hidden agenda—using her family as an entry into Oxford, with the intent of somehow returning pilfered artifacts back to the Middle East. Set against the background of cultural theft, colonialism, and women’s rights, Dunmore keeps her finger on the raging pulse of Victorian England. Not since the aching story of Bringing Down the Duke (and Annabelle and Sebastian get great cameos here) has this strong series been as emotional. Its raw edge is less sweeping romance than inch by inch battle for progress and hope. The redemptive yet reflective epilogue serves as a series capstone.
VERDICT A notable ending to a beloved quartet.
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