Book Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This book triggered me A LOT but that’s only one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy it much.

Book CWs

  • Cheating (mentioning of mistresses etc)
  • Sexism
  • Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Imprisonment

Premise

It’s 1879 and women in England do not have the right to vote.

Annabelle Archer is one of the first female students at the University of Oxford and in order to keep her scholarship, she must become an activist for the women’s suffrage movement. One of her first tasks: recruit Sebastian Devereux, the Duke of Montgomery, to the cause. Sebastian, being well known as an extremely effective political influencer, would be the perfect ally. The problem is, Sebastian works for the wrong side.

As Annabelle spends more time trying to recruit Sebastian, it becomes clearer that converting him might be the movement’s only chance at succeeding.

Review (No Spoilers)

I’ve never really read historical romance books so I was a little wary of picking this one up. Now I’m wondering if maybe I should avoid that genre altogether.

As a fan of hate-to-love and NA romance, I thought this book would be a great read. I didn’t at all predict that this book would make me cry my eyes out mid-read and debate DNFing it, but that’s exactly what it did.

To understand why this book triggered me so bad, you have to know how much I despise cheating. I’ve been surrounded by cheaters my entire life–every immediate male family member that I have has cheated on their SO at some point–and being cheated on (emotionally or physically) is one of my biggest fears. It’s something that often gets in the way of my current relationship because I’m so freaking terrified that I’ll never be enough.

If you’re like me, I highly suggest that you do not read this book. Due to the setting, 1879 Victorian England, the only way for the MC and the love interest to feasibly get together is for her to become his mistress. There are entire conversations dedicated to this fact and they were so difficult for me to read. Hence the tears. And hence my partner’s suggestion that I DNF the book. The reasons I pushed through were because 1) I don’t like DNFing books and 2) I was reading this for a 24 hour readathon and I wanted to finish as many books as possible.

Even though this book took so much out of me emotionally, I still had planned on giving it 4 stars. What made me rethink this was the fact that I never really understood the main character. There were many times where I felt like she would say one thing and then do something that went against it. Or say one thing and then say the opposite later on. Even at the end of the book I had no idea what her goals were or what she wanted with her life.

There’s a sequel to this book that focuses on some side characters. I’m thinking about picking it up because it seems like the cheating thing wouldn’t be a problem, but I might just pass on it.

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