Bringing Down the Duke: Sexy Feminism

Bringing Down the Duke is a Victorian-era Historical Romance set amidst the fascinating era of the Suffragists and the rise in the fight for women’s rights in England. 

The author, Evie Dunmore, has obviously researched the history of the Suffragists in depth. Historical figures are mentioned in context and used to drive the drama of the story. What’s interesting is her ability to turn the plight of women from a hundred years ago into problems that we can still relate to today.

The Plot

Annabelle Archer is a woman educated above her station and gender. She suffers as a maid until she is offered a scandalous position in Oxford’s first program for women. The only catch is she has to join the women’s Suffragist, chapter as they are her sponsors.  

During her attempts to recruit men of power to their cause she encounters Sebastian Devereux, Duke of Montgomery. He is cold, impersonal, and one of the most powerful men in Britain. Their paths continue to cross and a sizzling attraction is ignited.  

Both Annabelle and the Duke are restricted by their stations in life, making their growing love seemingly impossible. Which one of them is willing to give up everything for the other? 

The Review

The romance story in Bringing Down the Duke is stereotypical Historical Fiction. There are evenings where accidental meetings happen, balls where our heroine reveals her luminous beauty, and an illness that confines her to the care of our hero.  

The Duke is the usual coldly serious character that can only be set aflame by our heroine. However, Dunmore writes all of this with a fast-paced storyline, simmering sexual tension, and frustrated love.  

Where Dunmore really comes into her own is the added element of the Suffragist movement and women’s rights. This momentous part of history is elegantly slotted into her storyline and adds to the drama and scandal.  

Dunmore showcases the disparity between men and women when it comes to scandalous affairs. Annabelle stands to lose everything if the duke gets his way and has her as his mistress. Even in our modern times, a woman is much more likely to be maligned by society for a scandal, while a man can get out of it unscathed, or even, more popular.  

Summary

There’s still hot steamy sex and stolen kisses in alcoves amidst the turbulence of history. Bringing Down the Duke doesn’t break new ground with the romance story, but the historical backdrop is interesting and elevates it above others in the same genre.

— Bliss
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