Title: Last Night with the Earl
Series: The Devils of Dover #2
Author: Kelly Bowen
Format: ebook, 368 pages
Expected publication: September 25th 2018 by Forever
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
After Waterloo, Eli Dawes, Earl of Rivers, was presumed dead—and would have happily stayed that way. He's no longer the reckless young man he once was, and only half as pretty. All he wants is to hide his scars away in his country home. But when he returns home and tries to sneak into his old bedroom in the middle of the night, he's shocked to find someone already there.
Rose Hayward remembers Eli as an arrogant rake who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into the house currently rented by Haverhall School for Young Ladies doesn't correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and her painter's eye can't help but admire him, scars and all. He might be back from the dead, but now Rose will do anything to make him feel truly alive.
Kelly Bowen's The Devils of Dover is one of my favorite new series of 2018, I simply adore it!
For six years Eli Dawes has been missing and presumed dead, but now that he's the new Earl of Rivers Eli must make his return to society....even if he's no longer the man he once was. When sneaking into his country home though, Eli soon learns that he isn't the only thing that has changed. His estate has been leased out to the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, and the one woman that he never forgot in his absence, no matter how hard he tried, is in residence.
Rose Hayward has spent the last six years since her broken engagement teaching at her family's school and as a highly sought-after, but discrete, painter for those seeking the beauty within. When she finds Eli sneaking into her studio her anger overcomes her. Here is the man that helped her ex-fiance tear apart her life. But this man isn't the same care-free rake she knew and in Eli, Rose finds a kindred spirit. Will they be able to look past their own scars to see the beauty of a future together?
In the first book, A Duke in the Night, Rose showed a very cool persona and while I can't say that I liked her character much at the time, I was intrigued. In Last Night with the Earl readers learn why Rose was so cold and indifferent when it came to Clara and August. After her ex-fiance publicly duped and ridiculed her, Rose retreated from the circles of society. Burying herself in her artistry, and throwing in the towel on love. When Eli, her ex-fiance's best friend and accomplice, shows up Rose's fury is understandable but misplaced, and it's not long before all of that burning rage turns to passion. Eli has his own demons to battle though. My heart wept for these two characters and the hurdles that they have, and still needed to overcome. Rose had such a solid exterior to chisel away at, while Eli had a hard time finding his way past his own flaws. But I loved how Rose managed to turn her own humiliation into a way to help others through her painting. Each of them were multi-faceted characters woven into a compelling tale of love and healing. The prose flowed freely and while historically written, Bowen gives the dialogue a modern twist that eases the plot. I adored how Eli and the entire Hayward family thumbed their noses at the conventions of Society. It was hilarious how uncomfortable it made Eli in the beginning. He came off as a bit of a prude at times, not knowing how to react to the Hayward's forward-thinking philosophy, but quickly discovered how freeing it could be, especially in his current circumstances.
Last Night with the Earl is a tale that is sure to touch your heart. While the story feels dark and weighted at times, there are plenty lighthearted and passionate moments to even the plot out wonderfully. For the Hayward's backstory alone, I would recommend reading this series in order. Though it would still be enjoyable without. I'm eager to find out what Harland has been up to and look forward to the next book in the series, A Rogue by Night, coming next summer. If you enjoy a heartfelt tale of rediscovery, compassion, mending, and love then I recommend you pick up Last Night with the Earl today!
Suggested Reading Order:
Book #1 A Duke in the Night