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Bringing Down the Duke
Cover of Bringing Down the Duke
Bringing Down the Duke
"There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing such a man brought to his knees by a beautiful woman with nothing to her name except an inviolable sense of her own self-worth."NPR
"With her sterling debut, Evie Dunmore dives into a fresh new space in historical romance that hits all the right notes"Entertainment Weekly
A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford suffragists in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a powerful duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
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. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....
"There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing such a man brought to his knees by a beautiful woman with nothing to her name except an inviolable sense of her own self-worth."NPR
"With her sterling debut, Evie Dunmore dives into a fresh new space in historical romance that hits all the right notes"Entertainment Weekly
A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford suffragists in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a powerful duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
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. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....
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  • From the cover ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2019 Evie Dunmore

    One

    Kent, August 1879

    "Absolutely not. What an utterly hare-brained idea, Annabelle."

    Gilbert's eyes had the rolling look of a deer that knew the hounds were upon him.

    Annabelle lowered her lashes. She knew it would look demure; and demure placated her cousin best when he was all in a fluster. Of all the types of men she had learned to manage, the "ignorant yet self-important" type was not exactly the most challenging. Then again, when her very fate lay in the hands of such a man, it added insult to injury. Gilbert would snatch the chance of a lifetime from her here in his cramped little study and go straight back to admiring his freshly pinned butterflies in the display case on the desk between them.

    "What would be next," he said, "joining the circus? Standing for Parliament?"

    "I understand that it's unusual," she said, "but—"

    "You are not going to Oxford," he bellowed and slapped his hand down on the desk.

    Her father's old desk. Left to Gilbert in her father's will rather than to her. The sturdy piece of furniture was patently wasted on Gilbert: age-worn on four carved lion paws, it would have bolstered any man's authority, but her cousin was still fluffed up like a startled chicken. Well. It was understandable that he felt ambushed. She had surprised herself. After five long years as Gilbert's maid for everything, she hadn't expected to feel a yearning urge ever again. She'd kept her head down, her feet on the ground, and had accepted that the parish borders of Chorleywood were the boundaries to her dreams. And then the news that Oxford University had opened a women's college had slammed into her chest with the force of an arrow.

    She had wanted to ignore it, but, after barely a week, her self-control, so laboriously acquired, had crumbled.

    But surely, this was not just a case of her wanting too much. Who knew for how long Gilbert's ramshackle household would stand between her and destitution? Between her and a position where she was easy prey for a lecherous master? During the day, she went through her routines like an automaton. At night, the awareness crept in that she was forever balancing on the precipice of an abyss and there, at the bottom, lurked old age in the workhouse. In her nightmares, she fell and fell.

    Her fingers felt for the slim envelope in her apron pocket. Her Oxford admission letter. A proper education could break her fall.

    "This conversation is over," Gilbert said.

    Her hands knotted into fists. Calm. Stay calm. "I didn't mean to quarrel with you," she said softly. "I thought you would be delighted." A blatant lie, that.

    Gilbert's brow furrowed. "Delighted, me?" His expression slid into something like concern. "Are you quite all right?"

    "Given the advantages for your family, I assumed you'd welcome the opportunity."

    "Advantages—"

    "I apologise, cousin. I shouldn't have wasted your precious time." She made to rise.

    "Now, don't be hasty," Gilbert said, waving his hand. "Sit, sit."

    She gazed at him limpidly. "I know that you have great plans for the boys," she said, "and an Oxford-certified governess would help with that."

    "Indeed I have plans, sound plans," Gilbert clucked, "but you already know more Greek and Latin than is necessary, certainly more than is appropriate. And 'tis well known that too much education derails the female brain, and where's the advantage for us in that, eh?"

    "I could have applied for a position as governess or companion at the...

About the Author-
  • Debut author Evie Dunmore is a freelance strategy consultant with a M.Sc. in Diplomacy from Oxford. Bringing Down the Duke is inspired by the magical scenery of Oxford and Evie's passion for romance, women pioneers, and all things Victorian. She is a member of the British Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA). Evie lives in Berlin in an Edwardian flat, and pours her persistent longing for England into her writing.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 17, 2019
    A bright, penniless suffragette in Victorian-era England melts the heart of a notoriously icy duke in this delightful romance. Annabelle Archer is granted a scholarship by the National Society for Women’s Suffrage to become one of the first women to study at Oxford University. In exchange, she’s required to publicly support their cause. When she brazenly offers a political pamphlet to the Duke of Montgomery, it is just the first of many times that she shocks him with her brains and courage. Montgomery is obsessed with getting back the castle his father gambled away and is willing to sell out his own ideals and work with the Tory Party if it will get the queen to grant his request. He is entirely unprepared for a beautiful, radical woman to derail his mission. But when Annabelle finds herself ill and snowed in at Montgomery’s home, the pair discover they are more compatible—politically, emotionally, and physically—than either would have believed. Despite their mounting passion, their disparate circumstances make a relationship impossible, but they set out to find a way to make it work. Charming, sexy, and thoroughly transportive, this is historical romance done right. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary.

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