Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Written by Evie Dunmore
Review by Monica E. Spence

1879. At a time when women stayed at home to ply domestic arts and raise families, Annabelle Archer is determined to study at Oxford. Upon winning a scholarship as one of its first female students, she is told of one small caveat: she must recruit men to support the growing women’s suffrage movement. But first she has to convince her cousin Gilbert that having a college-educated nanny-governess-cook-maid-of-all-work would ultimately benefit him and his ever-growing brood.

Sebastian Devereux, Duke of Montgomery, spent years repairing his family reputation; now he holds Queen Victoria’s confidence. When Sebastian’s younger, ne’er-do-well brother, Peregrin, invites a group of women students from Oxford to the ducal manse, he tells everyone the Duke was to be away in France. Only His Grace was not in France; he was staring down at a sleeping Annabelle, who was sitting in his favorite chair in his favorite library. Annabelle was ordered to remove herself, not only from the chair, but from the premises as well. From that ignominious beginning one hopes things can only improve, though nothing is easy, including the path to true love.

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.