I ADORED this book. I actually didn’t like I was going to like it. I had heard it was a wimpy, wouldn’t dare kiss a heroine kind of hero and a snarky feminist pamphlet wielding dragon. It wasn’t it at all. If you’re worried politics and the suffragette plotline takes over the book, it doesn’t at all. It drives the plot along and makes the characters so much more in depth. I personally found it extremely interesting with what was included.
This takes place in Victorian England, 1879, when Oxford had opened it’s first women colleges and suffragettes were fighting for an amendment on the property act. The heroine, Annabelle, has gotten admission to the college on a stipend. She works with other suffragettes to promote parliament members to amend the property act, as well as attending classes, tutoring/working to send every penny she earns back to her remaining family ties. She meets the hero, Sebastian, during her first visit to parliament.
Annabelle was a character I liked. Witty, intelligent, fair, I enjoyed her relationships with her friends and her strength to get through everything she was facing. I adored the Duke as well. He comes off as rather cold and very hard to read at the beginning of the book. I felt like this book was a very slow burn. It feels more historically accurate than other books I have read with the societal risks people faced then. How a gentleman should behave as well. I could really feel the proprietary issues of the time, the risk of being alone with a man. The Duke had plenty of internal struggles about really behaving like a gentleman, especially during the time Annabelle is under his roof and his protection as a guest. I just loved that, it was very knight in shining armor. Of course I like when a hero can’t help himself or doesn’t care about propriety and goes after the heroine but I just really liked this change. I enjoyed feeling him wanting something but really knowing he shouldn’t.
I felt like this story was quite a slow burn. And it’s definitely not as steamy as I prefer. But it didn’t matter to me. It really had feels. Kisses don’t come for over 100 pages, sex doesn’t happen for over 200. I liked the scenes! They weren’t extremely lengthy or detailed, using some explicit language, but not overly much. But I felt the emotion in it, the wanting and it just made me love what I read.
There were so so so many scenes that I just loved with this book. The hero really did build over layers and layers. You would learn a bit more about him, he would do something else that just melted your heart. I’m totally in love with him. He was so amazing for the heroine and I felt like they were perfect for each other. There were some great emotional aspects to this story. It especially built towards the end and I came so close to crying. I got goosebumps. I was hoping for a happily ever after so much for them.
So many books have the class difference trope. A duke wants a governess or a commoner but it will never work! They spend the whole book moaning about how it will never work. They can’t be together. Then, suddenly the solution arrives! They just get married and act like the problem never existed and everything turns out fine. Those books having been bothering me. (If a problem is made throughout the book I prefer a real solution to take place, not just unnecessary drama) I feel like book actually acknowledged those difficulties. And I was so happy with the ending.
Amazing novel, especially for a debut. I will definitely be checking out the following book in the series.
I give ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️