Down With Darcy in Bringing Down the Duke

There was a quick Pride and Prejudice sighting within the pages of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore.

The setting is England 1879/80. The titular Duke has been asked by the Queen to help the Tories win the election, and by the suffragettes to help them promote their cause. The heroine Annabelle has secured herself an invitation to one of the Duke’s many homes. She falls ill and must stay for a few weeks to recuperate (sound familiar?). The Duke and Annabelle already started off on the wrong foot and their war of wits is at a fever pitch when the following exchange occurs:

She opened the envelope in a deliberate, civilized manner.
The handing writing was different, scratched onto the paper with bold precision.
She rushed through the words.

Miss Archer,

I have been informed that you enjoy Jane Austen’s work —

Her head jerked up. Blast you, Hattie. What would Montgomery think about such an insatiable and random appetite for reading material?

–and we have several of her novels in the library. I -incidentally- selected a copy of Pride and Prejudice. Do not hesitate to send for more.


She gave a bemused laugh. Pride and Prejudice. There was no doubt now that there were playing a game. With book titles.

For a bit of context, the previous book the Duke offered her from his library was Crime and Punishment.

If there’s a list of very un-Austenesque books with Austenesque titles, Crime and Punishment must be on it, somewhere.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Dostoevsky hero must be in want of a happy ending in a Siberian prison.

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