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Book Review: “Bringing Down the Duke”

TRIGGER WARNING: Thoughts of non-consensual sex

Includes an Affiliate Link.

Genre: Historical, Romance


Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess.

(From Penguin Random House)

If you’ve followed this blog for literally any amount of time (even if you just got here), you probably have come to realize that strong, gutsy women are kind of my jam, especially in books. So when I saw that this book included suffragists, who are probably the strongest and gutsiest women ever, I knew I had to read it.

Annabelle is indeed strong and gutsy. Raised in a poor home, she is accepted to Oxford University on scholarship (ugh, living my dream) from a suffragist group. She moves to London and lobbies for the cause, where she meets the rich, handsome, and duke in the name: Sebastian Montgomery.

And that is where I begin to have issue with the book: I didn’t… love Montgomery for the first half-ish of a book. I get that it’s a romance book, so possessive, wild men are kind of a staple, but dang. Montgomery’s redeeming qualities were really far and few between for me. At one point, when he’s lusting after Annabelle, he pretty much thinks, “Well… I could force her to have sex with me… but I’m a good man and good men don’t do that, even though a lot of men do…” And I just… sir, excuse me?? Maybe it’s just me, but good men (or good people in general) don’t even have that thought? I understand that at the time that the story takes place, it wasn’t as widely accepted that non-consensual sex is bad, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth and made it difficult to like him as a character.

I finally started to warm up to him when he bailed Annabelle and a few other suffragists out of jail. And honestly, it took him and Annabelle sleeping together (consensually, thank God.) for me to finally actually like him. It literally took over half the book and him being good at sex with Annabelle for me to finally really see the appeal.

One thing I really did enjoy was the supporting characters. Annabelle’s suffragists were fierce and unapologetic. Though they are ostracized by society for being unladylike, they don’t let that deter them for fighting for women’s rights. I especially loved Hattie, Annabelle’s lovable, rich friend who fears what would happen if her family discovers her involvement in the suffragist movement.

Along with strong supporting characters, the sex scenes were also steamy. A lot of times when I read sex scenes, I find myself wanting to roll my eyes (Okay, oftentimes I do physically roll my eyes.) or failing to really feel the connection between the lovers. That wasn’t a problem with this book. The connection between Montgomery and Annabelle was obvious, and even the pillow talk was enjoyable.

Even though I had a hard time getting into this book, I am looking forward to reading the books that follow it. I was looking at the synopses on GoodReads (add me on there if you have one!) and I was thrilled to see that the sequel is about Lucie, the leader of the group, and the anticipated third book will be about my main girl Hattie!

If you’d like to purchase this book for yourself, please consider purchasing from an independent bookstore, or if that isn’t possible for you, using my Amazon Affiliate link.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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