When Eliza Tricklebank receives an anonymous tip about who murdered the secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia she doesn’t hesitate to print it in her gazette. When Sebastian shows up on her door wanting to follow up on that tip Eliza doesn’t act deferential, instead treating him like an ordinary man, and sends him on his way after chastising him for his rude behavior. This doesn’t deter Sebastian, in fact, it intrigues him. When he shows up again to apologize they decide to pursue the investigation together, the tension between them quickly turning from irritation to friendship.
When I read the synopsis for The Princess Plan for some reason I thought it was a modern romance. So, imagine my surprise when I realized this was a historical. Our heroine, Eliza is not your typical historical woman. She’s “on the shelf” at 29 and because of that status doesn’t give a hoot how she’s perceived in society. This gives her character a modern edge that makes her extremely likable. I couldn’t help rooting for her to become his future bride.
The murder takes place at the start of the book and the intrigue and investigation set a fast pace for this romance. Our prince is not just in London for fun, he’s actually trying to complete a trade negotiation as well as find a bride to bring back home to Alucia. The murder of his closest friend allows the reader to see the lonely life of this prince. The contrast to Eliza’s “normal” upbringing, as well as her cheekiness, makes her an irresistible candidate but they of course have obstacles to overcome. I won’t spoil how this is accomplished, but it makes for a fun novel to read! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I received a free copy of the book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest!
I found myself in a reading slump and have quite a few books I need to read and review. One genre that always helps me get out of a slump is historical romance. It’s a genre that I love and this book in particular looked fun. Part mystery, part historical romance, and so far it is engaging and has captured my interest!
The one thing I don’t love? This cover!
Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.
With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.
Destitute daughter of a vicar, Annabelle Archer earns a place as one of the first female students at the illustrious University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship she must join the women’s suffrage movement and try to gain the backing of a man of influence. Her target? Sebastian Devereaux, Duke of Montgomery and political advisor to the queen. Her beauty catches his eye and despite her fellowship with independent women he’s drawn to her. Can she hold him at arms length while still earning his backing of their movement? Can he convince her to become his without the promise of marriage? Evie Dunmore’s debut novel is atypical of other historical novels in that it dives into the politics of this time and the societal divide a lack of income and good background creates between a man and woman. Bringing Down the Duke was an intricate love story, but also a historical eye opener.
Despite the fluff that the word “Duke” brings to a historical romance title, this novel was anything but. The intricate love story between Sebastian and Annabelle was revealed a piece at a time and was enthralling, don’t get me wrong, but it was the history of the time and how that impacted these two characters that held my attention. I can only recall having read one other novel set during the women’s suffrage movement and as an independent woman myself (even though American), I’m very interested in how and when women’s rights were fought and granted In England. The fact that Evie Dunmore chose this time for a romance gave it a more modern feel.
Sebastian started off the novel as you would expect. Frigid Duke taking all of his responsibilities very seriously gets upended by a beautiful woman. BUT because of the setting we get to see how his thoughts change about women’s rights as Annabelle is threatened through her actions while fight for them. That makes Sebastian different than other historical romance heroes giving the story more impact. In real life a Duke couldn’t consider a woman for his wife if she wasn’t in the correct societal rank without throwing away his own livelihood and lands. Of course in romance novels there are no rules and Dukes marry whomever they want, but this novel doesn’t seem to throw away those societal rules and the Duke’s decisions propel not just the romantic side of the story but the historical plot as well.
I liked Annabelle a lot. She was smart, educated, pretty, but also had a head on her shoulders. She was no innocent and new how her actions would affect her future, but also the future of those around her. She was always thinking ahead. Her attraction to Sebastian was HUGE, but she was no ninny. She knew what it meant if she became a mistress or a wife. Her decisions were based upon real life plot lines and not romance novel plot lines. That made her so much more interesting and real!
Bringing Down the Duke is one of those novels where you pick it up not knowing what you are going to get. The only hint is from the picture on the front where the woman is seated in the saddle of the horse and the Duke is behind her when usually their placement would be in the reverse. A very subtle hint at her independence. I don’t want to give the impression that there isn’t any tension or romance between these two characters. There is plenty of food for the bodice ripping romantic! These two have heat, and their romance was riveting. Even more so because of everything that was happening that I mentioned above! Also, Annabelle’s friends in the movement were interesting and fabulous and hopefully their stories are to come in future novels in the series.
Bringing Down the Duke was everything I love in a historical romance. Riveting characters, sexual tension, and interesting details about the time they are living in. This is a novel that I can easily recommend to anyone who enjoys a great historical romance!
I received a free copy of this ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere!
“Bringing Down The Duke is one of the best debut’s I have read, it is simply stunning! The character’s are beautifully written, each one sparkles with life, the story is fun and original, it is an exciting, gorgeous and mesmerising love story. Evie Dunmore captivates and enthrals the reader with her intelligent, passionate and dazzling writing.” Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
First Sentence: “Absolutely not. What an utterly harebrained idea, Annabelle.”
The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik
First Sentence Read: “I lowered my spaceship’s cargo ramp and slipped in the night with the ease of long practice.”
I went for a mood changer with the switch from historical romance to romantic sci-fi. Bringing Down the Duke was so fabulous that I had to switch it up to try to carry that great book glow into the next novel. I haven’t gotten too far into The Queen’s Gambit to decide if this was the right choice. I’ll let you know!
Now that you know what I’m reading, feel free to catch me up! It’s Monday! What are you Reading?
Kat and her cooks assistant Tess run out on errands for the evenings meal and run into a Chinese man in the street. Literally. Picking up their various packages, Mr. Li and Kat strike up a brief friendship that grows stronger when he gives her the gift of a fabulous blend of tea. When her next door neighbor is murdered and a “chinese man” is the main suspect, Kat is determined to clear Mr. Li, convinced that this nice man would not harm her neighbor. With the help of her usual casts of characters including the enigmatic handyman Daniel she finds herself enmeshed in another whodunnit that reveals as much about her as the other characters in this novel, including our killer.
I’m a sucker for a great historical mystery and the Below Stairs Mysteries have not yet disappointed. This is the third novel in the series and as each mystery is solved the reader learns more about Kat, Daniel, Tess and the other characters in these books. These tidbits have helped keep my interest making me eager to read the next novel to see what new bit of knowledge will be revealed. Daniel is the biggest mystery still unsolved. He’s a handyman, yet is also a bit of a gentleman making the reader feel as if he’s trying on parts for each investigation. Which is the real man and once that mystery is resolved how will he and Kat’s relationship play out? I will definitely keep reading to find out.
The mystery in this novel was just a little lackluster for me. I enjoyed the new cultural references and found the history of tea to be really interesting, however, I wasn’t as invested in some of the new characters as I had been in the first two books of the series. Not to say it was bad, it really wasn’t! I enjoyed the interaction between Kat, Cynthia, Thanos and Daniel more than I did the mystery and sped through the investigation to get to the meat of their relationships. I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge fan of romance novels, so I focused on that part of the book more than the mystery.
Do you like historical mysteries with a hint of romance? If so, then this novel and series should be added to your TBR. Each book can be read as a stand alone but they’re so much more enjoyable if you have some back story for the main characters. I’d recommend reading the other novels before picking this one up. Once you do, you’ll really enjoy your trips to Jennifer Ashley’s historical London.
I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“Death in Kew Gardens reminded me of both Downton Abbey and Grand Hotel, with a touch of Agatha Christie. I will definitely be reading the forerunners in this series and anxiously await for book number four.” A Wondrous Bookshelf
Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!
Today is Memorial Day and I’d like to thank all of our men and women who serve our country and help make the US a great place to live!
Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley
First Sentence Read: “The Chinese gentleman ran from between the carriages packed the length of Mount Street and straight into my path.”
Turn the Tide (A Heart Pounding Romantic Suspense Anthology) with stories by Katie Ruggle, Adriana Anders, Connie Mann, and Juno Rushdan
First Sentence Read: ‘”I hate the mall.” Molly Said’
I’m a big fan of Katie Ruggle and I’m looking forward to reading the prequel short story to her new series about sisters who are bounty hunters. I also love finding new authors and I think an anthology is a great way to discover if you like an authors style of writing. Will they grab my attention? I’ll let you know!
Now you know what I’ll be doing on my day off, what will you be reading?
The first two days at the Booklovers Con have come and gone and my good intentions to post pictures every day has fallen by the wayside because of my need for sleep. Sorry guys! However, today I’ll give you two days of pics to satisfy your book loving needs!
I’ve met some really great authors and taken a few pictures to share. The first night was the kick off party with a Jazz Fest theme, after all we are all in New Orleans! We paraded into the ballroom to a great jazz marching band.
There were authors stationed around the room and I bee-lined towards Christine Feehan to say hi and take her pic.
I’ll admit that I didn’t want to stand in line for food but there were food trucks galore and the band was fab. My sister and I ducked out to eat at a little Vietnamese place we spotted down the street. Yum!
Thursday was chock full of events. A Harlequin author signing and Indie author soirée were fun! Although the lines…not so much. Lol.
I really learned a lot from a workshop for bloggers and publishers and will endeavor to meet some new goals!
The evening wrapped up with a pretty amazing Fairy gala with a full dinner. The costumes and decorations were pretty spectacular!
My sister and I were VIP’s ( we won it in a lottery) and got to sit for dinner at a table with an author. I sat with the wonderful fantasy author C. L. Wilson and she sat with Amanda McIntyre. It was a great hour spent getting to know these authors.
At the end of the day I had a pretty good book haul! Not as much in the past and definitely a smaller amount of swag, but you know what? The experience has been so much better and more intimate!
I’ll try to get out one more post possibly Sunday from the airport! We are packing in the fun at the BLC19!
Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and even though today was 50° and I am wearing a sweater you can tell by the smiles on everyone’s faces that winter is over. Unless you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then Winter is Coming. I couldn’t resist, sorry!
For those of us who celebrate this time of year for religious reasons, may you have a blessed holiday!
For those of us who are looking forward to seeing what kind of candy is in our Easter baskets… what number from the graphic below is your favorite Easter candy? Feel free to share your favorite from your own country if these aren’t familiar!
I am a Cadbury mini eggs gal myself!
May your Easter basket be filled with the blessings of your season, and chocolate! Happy Easter from the Reading Chick!
At a house party on a secluded island with her partner Stoker and his brother Lord Templeton-Vane, Veronica and Stoker find themselves enmeshed in the mystery of the vanishing bride of their host Malcolm Romilly. This novel intertwines the electric attraction between Stoker and Veronica with the story behind the disappearance of Rosamund. The building tension as they discover each clue and fight their feelings for each other escalates until I was eagerly flipping pages to reach the climax of this story.
As the fourth novel in the series, A Dangerous Collaboration is on the cusp of finally giving the reader what we’ve been waiting for… the end of Veronica and Stoker dancing around their feelings for each other. Well, at least that’s what I’ve been waiting for! Each novel has also had a great mystery for them to solve, and this one is no different. Adding in the personal element of Stoker’s brother Tiberius’ relationship with both the bride and groom and this made for a great whodunnit. However, I continue to eagerly pick up these novels because of the tension filled dialog between our two main characters. This novel did not disappoint in that regard.
I’ve admired Veronica through this series for her modernity, her pursuit of a career, and her intelligence. I’ll admit to being just a little frustrated with her desire to talk herself out of her feelings for Stoker wanting that aspect of this series to speed up. Especially how the last novel ended with their feelings revealed! BUT, this was such a great follow up and true to Veronica’s personality that I can’t stay mad for too long that I didn’t quite get what I’d been looking for from the two of them… I can only hope that day will come soon!
The supporting characters in this book gave this novel a more Agatha Christie feel to the mystery. Unlike the previous novels which were mostly set in a big city, A Dangerous Collaboration was set in a remote island location and the characters were simpler or more country which added charm to what had been a more urban feeling series. I really enjoyed the change of scene and the Clue-like aspect to the mystery. Was Rosamund killed in the observatory with a candlestick? I’ll never tell! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“This book’s setting is one of the strongest out of the whole series. It’s nice to get out of London proper and explore this remote island besieged by stormy weather and comprised of eccentric locals. I had as much fun with it as Veronica did. ” Where the Words Take Me
“If you haven’t had a chance to read this series yet and you’re a fan of murder mysteries, historical fiction, and slow-burn romances, then please do yourself a favor and pick up the first book!A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth book of this wonderful, thrilling series and I’m highly anticipating the next (and I believe last) installment! ” Paws and Paperbacks