Sunday, September 23, 2018

Early Review of Last Night with the Earl (The Devils of Dover #2) by Kelly Bowen

Title: Last Night With the Earl
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Devils of Dover (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 464 pages
Publisher: Forever (September 25, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1478918594
ISBN-13: 978-1478918592
Author's Website:
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's been six years since Eli Dawes has been home or contacted anyone from there. In that time he's lost friends, suffered war wounds, healed (at least outwardly), and recently found out his father has passed away. Now he's reluctantly come home to claim his family title, or maybe not. He'll have to decide soon because someone is pushing to have him declared legally dead. The first thing he decides he's going to do is go to his family's country estate where he can sort things out. Thinking not to wake or bother any of the staff that might be in residence at the late hour in which he arrives, he uses the window he used to sneak in and out of as a teen, and finds himself in an unusual position---The only woman he's ever found himself extremely attracted to, but could never have, catches him off guard when he finds himself with a knife at his neck...

Rose Hayward is not the same person she was five years ago. She's suffered the heartless betrayal of her fiance, lived through the ridicule and scorn of the ton, and lost both her parents as well as the wealth she and her siblings believed their family to have had. After essentially being put through an emotional wringer, she proceeded to pick herself up, dust herself off, and make a lucrative living doing something that would surely set the ton's tongues a wagging if it were ever revealed. She's not the naive young girl she once was, and when she finds Eli Dawes sneaking around in her rented studio it takes some convincing for her to believe it's him. It'll take even more to convince her he played no role in her fall from grace within the ton. For six years she's believed he had a hand in her fiance's cruel treachery, but did he? As she begins begins to drill him with questions about the past it becomes apparent she may have misjudged him.

"We see whom we want to see. What we want to see. And nothing is more heartbreaking than the death of an illusion."
This is the second book of The Devils of Dover series, but it can be read as a standalone. Rose is the younger sister of Clara, the heroine in the first book of the series, 'A Duke in the Night'. While Clara and August (the Hero of 'A Duke in the Night') make an appearance in this book, this story doesn't give away any spoilers from their book other than they end up together (which is a given for any book labeled a romance so its really not a spoiler). You also won't feel lost, but you'll most likely want to get your hands on that first book in the series because Ms. Bowen's tales have a way of drawing you in and leaving you wanting more. So be forewarned.

Rose is a strong, fiercely independent, loyal, passionate individual who is very mistrusting of Eli, and for good reason. Six years ago Eli, her fiance, and two of their friends joined the war leaving havoc and mayhem in their wake destroying hopes, dreams, reputations, and lives. She'd grown harder and mistrusting from the whole experience,  but she'd also risen above it and reinvented herself. In the process, she'd also managed to do something to help others. Rose is an exceptional artist who sees below the surface. Her paintings can help build a person's confidence and self esteem by showing them their inner and outer beauty. She also does the occasional risque painting to pay the bills, but both her and her clients keep things very discreet and thus far her secret is safe. While her scars may not be visible, they're no less real than Eli's.

Eli Dawes, the fourteenth Earl of Rivers, hadn't planned on ever going home again after the war. Because of his absence, many had presumed he'd died. He'd been badly injured and disfigured during the war, but that wasn't why he'd never returned. When he'd set out on what he'd believed to be a "grand" adventure, his father had threatened to disown him and said he'd never take back if he went. Eli had believed him and had never returned. He'd been naive back then and hadn't understood what war was like nor fully understood the ramifications of his choice. During his time as a soldier, he'd seen men at their finest and at their worst. He'd grown up in the fastest and most unpleasant way possible and now understood what was important. The once handsome and carefree playboy was gone. A more serious and conscientious man took his place. When he comes across Rose again, the spark that had once flared is still there, but with so much emotional baggage between them, he'll have his work cut out for him in trying to convince Rose to take a chance on him, a chance on love.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I absolutely adored the story. Rose was inspiring, and I loved how the author captured so many emotions on paper thereby breathing life into the story. The angst, the tension, and chemistry between the two main characters created a heady combination infusing the story with realism. I loved how Rose and Eli complimented and completed each other. Each was able to help the other overcome their fears and face the past. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I HIGHLY recommend this one. I totally loved it.

Pictures of Dover and Dover Castle:

The Order of The Devils of Dover series:

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