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The Devils of Dover #2

Last Night with the Earl

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Earl. War hero. Notorious rake. After the Battle of Waterloo, Eli Dawes 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 away in his country home, where no one can see his scars. But when he 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 the arrogant lord who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into her art studio doesn't correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and she can't help but be drawn to him. He might be back from the dead, but it's Rose who is suddenly feeling very, very much alive.

368 pages, ebook

First published September 25, 2018

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About the author

Kelly Bowen

19 books1,184 followers
Award-winning author Kelly Bowen attended the University of Manitoba, earning a BSc & MSc in veterinary studies. She worked as a research scientist before realizing her dream to write historical fiction. Currently, Kelly lives with her family in Winnipeg, Canada.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 268 reviews
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,843 reviews5,560 followers
September 27, 2018
I've loved every single Kelly Bowen book I've ever read, so the fact that I didn't very much like Last Night with the Earl was a real shock for me.

Kelly Bowen is an extremely gifted author of historical romance, but Last Night with the Earl felt off.

I was excited about this story because I love a hero who is broody and who has a disability/disfigurement. I love interesting male and female MCs, and I had high hopes for both Eli and Rose. However, Eli goes from a hermit who stayed away from civilization for years to out in society way too easily. It felt... fake, and forced.

I also really didn't like how Rose was so forceful with Eli and made him socialize when he was truly scared to be exposed, but was such a hypocrite herself. She really bothered me, and I didn't warm up to her.

Aside from that, I didn't get that much of a sense of Eli and Rose's shared history. We are told that they were extremely close friends, but we don't get much of a sense of that relationship. I wanted more details, more build-up, more information that really could give me that feeling of intimacy.

I also was confused by the pacing of the story. I kept thinking that the ending was around the corner, due to something dramatic and concluding-feeling happening in the story, but then I would notice that I had 40% left to read. It was strange, and threw me off.

The whole book felt off-kilter. I love Kelly Bowen's writing, but even that felt strained. I didn't hate the story, but it just didn't gel for me. I will, however, be 100% reading Harland's book. I just hope that the magic from A Duke in the Night returns.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*


Profile Image for Addie H.
490 reviews226 followers
May 4, 2022
On Kindle sale today 4th May 2022 for USD 1.99.

Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Spinster, Scars (him), Unrequited Love, Second chance romance


Second book in this series I have adored. There is a lack of humour/banter in this one as we are dealing with two very damaged characters, but the dialogue and interactions is simply riveting. Rose is definitely the most interesting character, but I am very ok with this actually being her book and not Eli’s.

I inhaled this book in one very very late night.

4.25 stars

- She was the only woman he had never been able to forget. And she had never been his to remember in the first place.


- Rose leaned forward, so close that he could see the tiny flecks of caramel in the dark chocolate of her irises. So close he could feel the warmth of her body and smell the richness of her scent.
“I asked if you believe yourself to be unkissable. Unattractive. Unlovable.”
Her words fell like a series of blows, each one more painful than the last.

- Eli took a step toward her and caught her hand in his. Without thinking about what he was doing, he raised her knuckles to his lips. That chronic, empty darkness within him that threatened to swallow him whole at times had suddenly splintered into a thousand tiny pieces.

- Rose sniffed. “I have no idea how you managed to enchant as many women as you did, Dawes. You have the finesse of a Smithfield boar. Or was that part of your charm?”
He smiled slightly, a subtle curve to his lips. “Part of my charm, I’m sure.”

- There was nothing casual about what he felt for Rose Hayward. If he lost his head around her, it was because he had long ago lost something far more terrifying. Like his heart.

“When I kiss you again, Rose Hayward,” he whispered, stepping back and putting a respectable amount of distance between them, “you will never second-guess the reason why.”

- “Every minute since I stepped onto these damn shores, you’ve challenged me. Confronted me when it mattered. Made me look inward even when I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. And after everything, somehow, you still managed to believe the best of me.”

- Her eyes dropped to his mouth, and for a heart-stopping moment, she almost gave in to the impulse to lean forward to taste the whiskey on his lips. Rose closed her eyes, fighting the desire that was suddenly pounding through her.
“Do it,” he demanded softly. “Kiss me.”

- “There will always be a place for you, Eli,” Rose said, swiping angrily at her eyes. “You are my friend. But there is no place for me in your world. I know my limitations, and I have accepted them. And I will not allow them to limit you. I will not allow you to sacrifice all your ambition, all your compassion, all the good you will do as an earl because of me. I should never have let this—us—go this far. This is your chance to become the man you have always been.”


- He had wanted all of her since the very first moment he had met her. Since the very first time he had waltzed with her. Argued with her. Laughed with her. But she hadn’t been his then, and he couldn’t force her to be his now.

Profile Image for Caz.
2,644 reviews1,001 followers
November 18, 2018
I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up.

Kelly Bowen’s first historical romance was published back at the end of 2014, and she very quickly made her way onto my list of must-read authors.  I’ve read nearly all of her books, and have been impressed with her storytelling and ability to create strong, determined and unusual heroines while at the same time having them operate largely within the conventions of the time so they don’t just seem like twenty-first century women in period dress.  The first Devils of Dover book, A Duke in the Night, introduced readers to the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, an exclusive academy which operates a summer school at which a small number of exceptionally gifted pupils are afforded the chance to pursue studies in fields not usually open to them.  This is held at Avondale House in Dover, which Clara Hayward, the school’s headmistress (and now Duchess of Holloway) has rented for a number of years from the Earl of Rivers.  Or rather, from his estate; the old earl died six years earlier and his only son is presumed killed at Waterloo, although as no body has been found, the title has been held in abeyance until such time as Eli Dawes can be legally declared dead.

But now, having chosen to remain in hiding on the continent since the battle at Waterloo, the new earl has decided to return home and assume his rightful place and title.  He plans to live quietly at Avondale and hide the injuries and disfigurement he sustained during the battle; he’s not exactly a vain man, but he knows how much of his former popularity and social standing was due to his exceptional good-looks, and cannot bear the idea of being pitied, shunned or vilified because his appearance is so changed.

The last person he expects to see on his return to Avondale is the woman he’d fallen in love with six years earlier – Rose Hayward, daughter of the (then) dizzyingly wealthy Baron Strathmore.  Rose was known to be a bluestocking who didn’t appear much in society, but Eli was smitten anyway, impressed by her cutting wit and brilliant mind – but was too late to win her. His best friend Anthony Gibson was courting her and Rose was so obviously in love that Eli had to step back, and instead, flung himself into an endless whirl of debauchery in an unsuccessful attempt to forget her.  Now, after six long years have passed, he feels wary and ashamed when he meets her again, not just because of his ruined face, but because of the way Gibson treated Rose when he broke things off with her, lampooning her and several other society ladies in a book of cruel caricatures which shattered reputations and destroyed lives.

Believing Eli to have been complicit in the book’s publication, Rose hardened her heart against him as well as Gibson, cursing herself for an idiot for being so trusting.  His unexpected reappearance paves the way for a rapprochement between them, especially after Rose admits the reason for her hostility – and also offers the possibility of something more, of something Eli’s wanted ever since first laying eyes upon Rose years earlier.  But he’s changed so much – and not necessarily for the better, he thinks; while Rose challenges, encourages – sometimes outright bullies! – him to stop feeling sorry for himself and to realise that he has much to offer, that his name and status give him the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of others.

Last Night With the Earl is a story about acceptance, forgiveness, redemption and most of all, the importance of looking beyond the surface to find the truth, to the heart and soul of another person.  Rose is a very forthright young woman and an extremely talented artist whose fierce championship of beauty in all its many forms makes her an original, insightful heroine.  For Rose, beauty is something other than what is usually dictated by convention, something that is continually evolving, changing over time and circumstance to become something new and different:
“… we are all perfectly and inevitably flawed, and one’s beauty is because of it, not in spite of it.”

Ms. Bowen skilfully enables the reader to see many things through Rose’s eyes, and makes some very powerful observations through her PoV.  I applauded Rose’s refusal to allow Eli to wallow in misery or guilt; she is blunt, sometimes brutally so, but she has to be in order to force Eli to see himself as the man she sees: “A man who is strong. Noble. And imperfectly perfect.”

Rose’s ability to see beyond the external and cut through to what’s most important is refreshing, but it’s also partly what eventually dinged the book, because when Rose then shows herself to be a proponent of ‘do as I say, not do as I do’, I felt terribly – incredibly – let down and disappointed.  I can’t say too much without spoilers, but her experiences after the publication of the book of caricatures was worse than she admits to Eli and after all the taunting and nastiness that followed she began to suffer debilitating panic attacks.  I’m not saying that panic attacks aren’t serious, horrible things – I’ve suffered them myself so I know they are – but after all Rose’s cajoling of Eli, of the demand she made of him that he needed to stop worrying about all the things he isn’t and show the world the truth of the man he is now, for her to turn around and refuse to do the same felt like a cop-out.  Rose and Eli are so obviously in love and right for each other there’s no other bar to their HEA, and this comes across as a last-minute contrivance that is thrown in for the sake of creating some conflict in the romance.

The story is well written, Eli and Rose are likeable and fully-rounded and their relationship is tender and sensual, but that contrived, eleventh-hour conflict really soured my view of Rose and has affected my final grade quite a lot.  A less than excellent book by Kelly Bowen is still head-and-shoulders above many of the other current historical romance offerings out there, and I’m still giving it a cautious recommendation; it’s just a shame the final few chapters were such a let-down.
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews410 followers
October 2, 2018
Regret is a far worse fate than fear”, Clara said quietly “It will last a lifetime.”

This is what this book was about!

I really enjoyed it! First the hero, Eli, and then the heroine, Rose!

I must admit that it is naïve to think that such a deep fears they both had to face could be overcome so quickly, but, hey, this is romance and fiction, so that’s OK!

Eli’s fear is part PTSD, part his ruined face that make people cry in horror and dismay. He doesn’t want to face that. He just wants to hide and let everybody forget that he survived. He also feels the survivor’s guilt: why her survived when so many others have not…

Rose, at the beginning seems so sure and determined, so full of wise advices. She goads Eli to let go his fears and make himself useful instead of wallowing in his self-recriminations.

Eli is, at first, angered. Why does this woman, who has been his very hidden dream for years, so torture him? Why doesn’t she understand? How can she not understand?

But Eli doesn’t know that Rose can fully understand what he’s feeling. But she wants to help him and in helping him falls in love with him.

Still, while Rose is good with giving advices, she’s not as good as following them on her own. Because she’s been hiding for years. Because she has fears of her own. But while she knows that she has them, she’s not ready to apply counsels she gives Eli to herself.

When Eli confesses that he loved her and love her still, she runs.

So, this is a book of redemptions and a very nice one!
Profile Image for Pamela.
56 reviews39 followers
September 21, 2018
Lyrical, poignant, psychologically complex, and featuring a very layered and a very likable hero and heroine. The prose and dialogue range from above average to excellent. It managed to feel (somewhat!) authentically historical yet still very accessible and relatable to modern audiences, a feat which fewer and fewer historical romances pull off! It was at times a little too drawn out and short on actual plot/story, but that's such a common complaint about so many romances that it shouldn't be held against this slightly slow but rewarding read :)

Thanks to netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!
Profile Image for Sometime.
1,676 reviews118 followers
April 22, 2021
Just a quick review today. The h knew the H 4 years previously and they became good friends but she was engaged to his best friend (who turned out to be a huge jerk). The H falls in love with her, but doesn't know how to deal with it so he decides to become an enormous manwhore and sleep his way through London. The H and his friends were very shallow and entitled.

4 years later, he is deeply changed by his experiences in the war. She is also deeply changed by events that were created by her ex-fiancé (who died in the war). The h pushes the H to end the pity party and begin living. The H also challenges the h to face her own fears. They were such a nice couple, perfect for each other. Too bad he was such a coward 4 years ago and didn't just convince her to dump the jerk and be with him instead.

Safety: h has had one previous partner. H was a well acknowledged manwhore. Yuck. He is a changed man and has been celibate for years. There was an awful lot of time spent remembering his checkered past with all the OW, more than I cared to read about. No cheating. No OW/OM drama.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
716 reviews298 followers
October 1, 2018
(2.5 stars) Bowen has progressively been heading this way through many a book, but this particular latest one has set a record for having the most enlightened, sensitive, "woke" characters ever in a story taking place in relatively unenlightened 1800s England. Well, I certainly can't complain. I live in a very divided country right now with ugly tone deafness abounding, so I appreciate all the goodness, enlightenment, and sensitivity I can find, even if it's fictional.

This is the second in Bowen's new series, The Devils of Dover. It has as its heroine Rose Hayward, the sister of Clara, headmistress of Haverhall School for Young Ladies, who in the first book met and married her true love August, Duke of Something-or-Other, after, of course, giving him an enlightenment course and making him appropriately sensitive to feminist causes.

So Rose is an artist and art teacher at this school, which is located on the estate of the Earl of Rivers and where young ladies are empowered to be all that they can be. Rose has a painful past due to her scumbag fiance who did a number on her self esteem. A good friend of that scumbag who Rose had believed was also her friend, Eli Dawes, 14th Earl of Rivers, ran off to war with Scumbag, leaving Rose with the impression that the two of them had been complicit in her humiliation. Anyhoo, Scumbag is killed at Waterloo and Eli Dawes goes missing and is presumed dead.

The story basically begins when Eli comes creeping back to Avondale, his estate and the location of said school for young ladies, to be discovered by Rose, who, unfortunately, hates him. Not only does Rose hate him, but he is an emotional mess because his former gorgeous self has been damaged in the war. He's lost an eye, part of an ear, and is badly burnt and scarred.

There now. What do we have to get accomplished in this story? Rose must learn that Eli wasn't complicit with Scumbag. Eli must learn not to be a recluse because of his scars and also needs to find a "cause" for his life. Rose needs to get over her humiliation and feelings of disgrace. Eli and Rose must acknowledge their love and need for each other. And everyone needs to lead a life of purpose and altruism.

So Bowen waves her magic wand and all this happens lickity split. Everybody happy. Everybody doing good works. Yay. I sound flip and flippant about this, but it is actually kinda sweet. It's just that everything gets resolved way too easily. And the only person in the whole story who's not nice is dead already when it begins.

BTW, that bonus novella by Burrowes? It's a rehash from THE VIRTUES OF CHRISTMAS from a year or so ago.
April 3, 2022
Kelly Bowen is a new author for me, in spite of the fact that historical romances are the most read genre in my read list. Last Night With the Earl I would say impressed with the strong characterization of its leads and some of the subjects being raised thru the story. There are multiple references to seeing beauty beyond the surface and to knowing a person by looking deeply rather than the structures of the face and the plight of the women and children who become the spoils of war having lost their men for the glory of the country. At a time when the war in Ukraine is raging on, these thoughts are quite sobering.

Rose Hayward is a force to reckon with, at least, initially. Unwilling to accept her friend Eli Dawes as a coward, she prods and probes into his wounds both on his body and soul, thereby forcing him to face the destiny that is waiting for him to be claimed. This plotline was wonderfully done by the author, Rose’s artistic sensibilities allowing her the freedom to see the depths of Eli’s heart and understand his compassionate nature. But and big BUT the story then takes a nose-dive, unexpectedly bringing about a complete turnaround for the character of Rose. I kind of felt that the author used it as a crutch to create the angst in the happily ever after scenario. Rose is accepting of the fact that she was a hypocrite and not really as courageous as Eli believes her to be and truly the panic attack that Rose suffers from evokes sympathy but I did wish that the author had included that whilst she is forcing Eli to do things which he is unable to do by himself.

Kelly Bowen paints the picture of two broken individuals coming together becoming a unit and supporting each other beautifully. The scenes of love ooze sensuality and since I was listening to the audiobook, it played havoc with my heart. On that note, the narrator Ashford McNab deserves a special mention for the inflection in the voices she brings forth to the many characters in the novel. I have been struggling with audiobooks for a very long time unable to concentrate on the story, so this was my first attempt at listening to an HR novel, and BOY, am I glad that after 6 days I have listened and completed ten plus hours of audio.

This review is published in my blog Rain'n'Books, ##Goodreads, ##Amazon India, ##Facebook, ##Twitter.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,706 reviews661 followers
August 21, 2019
The world is so dark right now that I had to take a mini break from horror to read some fluffery and this was a good choice. It was sweet and only a little crazy-making and I really, really enjoyed listening to it. The author writes in a way that captures and holds my attention and makes me care about these people even when they do things that drive me up a wall.

I did have the same little issue I had with the previous book in this series, A Duke In The Night, in that I felt the conflict here wasn't strong enough. The hero (an Earl) is badly disfigured from the war and wants to hide away from society but the heroine makes him face his fears but doesn't share hers completely and instead nearly destroys his heart and newly found confidence because she acts the hypocrite. So be warned about that. It made me a little arrrrggg. BUT the writing is so engaging and the chemistry between the characters so well done that it didn't bother me too, too much.

The narration is excellent too so if you're into audiobooks this is a good one.
Profile Image for Tanya Sridhar.
230 reviews94 followers
October 3, 2018
4/5 Stars.

My first ever book by Kelly Bowen - and I will definitely be reading other books by this author. I overall absolutely loved this book. Shout out to the buddy read or I don't think I would have read this.

Eli is everything I love in a hero. He's or classic story of reformed rake, but I like how in this he doesn't change his ways for that one woman who makes him want to be better. I've always hated that trope. He changes because he accepts and understand that how he behaved, the manner in which he conducted himself was wrong - he changed because he decided to do the right. Simply because it was the right thing to do. God I loved him!

There's a wonderful part right at the beginning where Eli's internal monologue gives us a wonderful insight of complicity. He understands, accepts and regrets that while he may not have been actively participating in a heinou act, he was complicit. And didn't speak up for those who didn't have the priviledge his sex and birth provided him. This was when I fell in love with. God, I'd marry him, I swear.

Is it obvious yet that I loved him? No. Well, also he's heavily scarred from his stint in the war. swoon

Rose, was a wonderful heroine. And don't let my gushing over Eli make you think I didn't love her, I did. Very much. However, I wish she had more. In a way the book felt more about Eli's arc, and I'm okay with that. But I so wanted to see and rejoice in Rose overcoming her fears as well, I didn't want to be told about her arc, I wanted to witness it. Not a very big complaint, I'm just greedy.

Basically if you like a heartfelt romance please go read this.

Ok bye.
Profile Image for Amy ~ Love At 1st Read.
507 reviews27 followers
July 20, 2018
What an insanely amazing story! I’m already anxious to read it again! I absolutely fell in love with Eli and Rose. Both were so strong and had been tested in unimaginable ways. While Eli was considered flawed by society because of the disfiguring wounds he’d received in battle, he also saw himself as flawed because of the man he had once been. Rose suffered greatly from society’s perception of her after the humiliating end of her engagement. Both had fears that would have paralyzed most people. And that’s where the true beauty of this story came into play. I loved watching them rekindle their lost friendship. They shared their fears and challenged one another to face them. “Regret is a far worse fate than fear.” This was such a beautiful and compelling story with characters that seemed so real and pulled me right into their journey.
Though #2 in the series, I had no trouble reading this as a stand-alone. Though I will be going back to read the first book in the series, Clare’s story. I adored her at the end of this book as she advised her sister, Rose. I’m anxious too for brother Harland’s story. He’s up to something and I’m dying to know what it is. I’m also hoping to find out more about the enigmatic King. This book was one of the best I’ve read this summer and I am so excited to read more of this series.
Profile Image for Debby *BabyDee*.
1,140 reviews58 followers
November 22, 2019
ARC provided by the Author/Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This lovely romance is the story of a man with scars that mar his face and a bluestocking who pursues her love of art while teaching at a school for ladies. What made this novel heart-warming and different were the physically flawed characters and their acceptance of their deformities despite the rules and conventions of Society.

Eli Dawes, the Earl of Rivers never wanted to inherit the Earldom despite all the efforts of his father. Eli lived a life of the son of an Earl, debauching woman and presenting a picture as a pure rakehell. He also never pretended to be what his father wished, enlisting in a War with no intention of ever returning…years later believed to be dead by everyone. Not wanting the pomp and circumstance of being labeled hero by society, he sneaks off to his estate, Avondale in hopes of spending the rest of his life in peace. It ends quickly with his encounter with Rose Hayward, the ex-fiancé of his best friend.

Rose Hayward endured one endless, tormenting season where she was mistreated and gossiped about because of an anonymous publication that left her heartbroken by the one man she thought she loved. Scandal left her in a dark place and in a life of seclusion, relinquishing any thoughts of marriage.

As the story continues, there is passion, love, and courage to conquer and overcome. The passion and need the major characters have for one other was spot on and I loved how it was nicely written. The story is slow-paced and easy to read. It has its share of well- developed and relatable characters.

There were some parts of the story that felt a bit empty, for example the way the two major characters met and then his pursuit of her early on was a little bit unbelievable. My opinion in that there was no leading up dialogue on when he fell in love or became smitten with her before he went to war rather than him telling her about his affections later in the story. However, Rose’s character comes off as a strong-willed, hard-nosed kind of individual. But one kiss introduced way too soon, and that side dwindles. I found it difficult to follow her not knowing when she would be a disagreeable agreeable.

4-Stars Recommended Read
Profile Image for Kira.
1,232 reviews132 followers
October 5, 2018

I'm not feeling the romance. It's a second chance romance, but the time when they knew each other when they were younger didn't seem special. In fact, they didn't seem to know each other very well. Now they've met unexpectedly years later. Rose hated Eli for reasons that didn't make sense to me. Her anger was misdirected. Eli came back from the war scarred. In Rose's thoughts she had compassion about his situation but not in her actions or words; she was a bitch. She could have been direct without being heartless. I didn't like her. Eli was the kind of guy that didn't take crap from anyone except Rose apparently. He was meek around her. His was of healing simply meant he did whatever she said. At 42% they've resolved the main relationship issues. I'm not interested in reading the rest. Not much about this feels historical. All of the characters are extremely progressive. Propriety isn't an issue.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,219 reviews164 followers
November 13, 2018
Monthly romance title. Entertaining, with lots of banter and interesting characters, with the added bonus of the author tackling some important issues, such as the treatment of veterans and their families, and the restrictions on women, forbidden to be anything but marriage ornaments.
Profile Image for Under the Covers Book Blog.
2,818 reviews1,365 followers
March 28, 2019

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I've been a fan of Kelly Bowen for a while but honestly the first book in this series was just ok for me and it didn't leave me rushing to pick up this next one.  I should've known better!  LAST NIGHT WITH THE EARL is about a scarred hero who comes back from war after everyone believes him dead and he gets a chance to get the girl he was in love with before leaving who was engaged to his best friend.  I couldn't put this book down!Rose is working with her sister at her Haverhall School for Young Ladies teaching about her passion, art.  I love the concept of the School and the siblings this series revolves around and was very interested to see Eli's reaction to what was going on at his house.  But he fit perfectly well!  The chemistry between Rose and Eli is palpable from the very first encounter in this book where she threatens him with a paintbrush.  I adored the back and forth, the teasing, the sparks, the sexual tension!  They were addicting for me.I'm a fan of strong female leads in historical romance and while Rose had things to fight through, she came out in the end stronger for it.  All that being said, I know the next book will be excellent and full of danger so I can't wait!If you aren't reading Kelly Bowen you may want to rectify that immediately.

*ARC provided by publisher
Reviewed by Francesca❤ ♡ Don't want to miss any of our posts? Subscribe to our blog by email! ♡ ❤
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,482 reviews137 followers
October 28, 2018
Series: The Devils of Dover #2
Publication Date: 9/25/18

Five long years ago Eli Dawes was the toast of London. Heir to an earl, rich, handsome, charming, witty, and, well, there just weren’t enough adjectives to describe him. Of course, debauched also applies. He can and does have any woman he wants – except for the one he really wants. He can’t have her because she is betrothed to his friend. When the opportunity to skip off to war with three friends presents itself, Eli grabs it. Sadly, he is the only one of the group to return home and he is badly scarred – and betrayed by one of those friends. All he wants to do is to go to the family estate, Avondale, near Dover and just hide out. He’s in for a really big surprise when he finds his home occupied by a dozen young female students and their instructors – one of whom is the woman he has never stopped loving.

Eli had been left for dead on the battlefield of Waterloo. He was horribly betrayed while trying to save the life of a wounded young soldier and Eli survived only by chance. Everyone believed he was dead, so maybe he should leave it that way. He had crawled, inch-by-inch away from the battlefield and was found by an old widowed lady who nursed him back to health. His scars were so bad that he thought never to return to England – even after the lady who saved him had died. Then, he got word that his father had passed away and that he was needed to return to assume his duties as earl.

Rose Hayward, sister to Baron Strathmore, had always led a happy and productive life away from London. Once Anthony Gibson, youngest son of the Viscount Crestwood noticed her, she was pulled into the life of the ton. It wasn’t a life she sought, but it came along with Anthony who was now her betrothed. When Anthony betrayed her, made a laughingstock of her and left for the war she just curled in upon herself. On the outside, she was strong, brave and resilient, but on the inside, she was a quivering bowl of jelly anytime she was in a crowd. Basically, she had a panic disorder an absolutely couldn’t deal with crowds.

Rose didn’t just blame Anthony for the betrayal, she blamed Eli as well. She had hated him for five years and would hate him until her dying day! Then, there he was, standing in her art studio very much alive. Wasn’t it interesting that she had a very sharp object at his neck? Their encounter goes downhill fast and she ends up railing at him about the betrayal and his part in it. He professes his innocence and is sincere enough that she believes him.

I love how Rose helped Eli to overcome his feelings about his horrible scarring. She helps him see himself as more than those scars – “to realize that his ruined face belied not a monster to be eschewed but a hero to be embraced”. She also helps him find a way to channel his need to help others and gets him on the right path. It is too bad that she can’t accept the same help from him, but she just hasn’t the courage.

Rose was a lovely heroine, but she did make me want to slap her when she wouldn’t tell Eli what was wrong and allow him to help her. Eli was a wonderful hero and I loved seeing him grow into a wonderful, loving, responsible hero.

The story is well written and I enjoyed the characters and seeing them grow. However, I really dislike loose ends and I had hoped to see what happened with Lady Anne and August’s man of business from the last book. Lady Anne was mentioned but was introduced using her maiden name, so I assume they didn’t marry. Now, in this book, we have Lady Ophelia and Lord Lewis (not Mr. Linfield as he is referred to in this book). Evidently leaving loose ends will be a feature of this series.

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"I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
Profile Image for Amarilli 73 .
2,163 reviews69 followers
March 6, 2022
Tutti usavano gravitare intorno a lui come falene intorno alla fiamma, per sperimentare, anche per un solo momento, lo splendore di quella persona.
Lei era la sola donna che non era mai riuscito a dimenticare. E non era mai stata sua.

4,5 - La Bowen mi aveva già saputo conquistare con alcune serie precedenti, mentre avevo trovato il primo capitolo dei Devils of Dover accattivante ma introduttivo.
Con questo secondo volume si concentra su una tematica non sempre facile da inserire in un libro prettamente romantico: i canoni di bellezza imposti dalla società e la lotta per accettare se stessi o far accettare agli altri corpi non perfetti.

Abbiamo già conosciuto la famiglia Hayward, ovvero i tre figli che sono rimasti, dopo la rovina economica del casato, a rimboccarsi le maniche: Harland, il barone, è diviso tra la sua attività di chirurgo e il suo sostegno segreto alla popolazione di Dover stremata dalla povertà post-bellica e vessata dalle autorità; Clare, la direttrice della scuola per signorine si è sposata con un duca, ma è sempre al fianco dei fratelli; e c'è Rose, pittrice di grande talento, che insegna e sostiene i progetti con i proventi dei suoi lavori.

Rose si è specializzata, soprattutto, nel ritrarre donne non corrispondenti alla perfezione estetica, perché è convinta che l'arte possa possa portare alla luce lo splendore celato sotto semplici difetti fisici o menomazioni.
Nel corso della storia ne scopriremo il motivo, ma intanto al castello che è sede della scuola fa ritorno il legittimo erede, quel giovane conte di Rivers che tutti davano per morto a Waterloo.
E anche Eli ha molto da dire sull'emarginazione e sul bullismo legate all'aspetto, nel bene e nel male.

Ogni volta che lo guardava nella luce soffusa, era colpita dalla sua bellezza. Le formicolavano le dita, e non capiva se fosse per il desiderio di ritrarre lei stessa quello splendido fisico, o se semplicemente desiderasse toccarlo, passare le mani lungo la mandibola, tastare le ampie spalle, esplorare la peluria bionda sul petto, percorrere le increspature dei muscoli dell’addome.

Una storia forse non tradizionalmente romantica, ma intensa, dove finalmente è la protagonista femminile a fare il primo passo, a desiderare, a concedersi il lusso di contemplare, toccare, sperimentare la sua relazione con quest'eroe sfregiato e rassegnato, proprio perché non c'è più niente da perdere. O - forse - si è già perso troppo.

Ammetto che, sul finale, avrei voluto più di loro, o forse della famiglia in generale. Ma spero che il volume sul barone saprà aggiungere altri risvolti. Se non si fosse capito, mi è piaciuto molto.

Non voleva voltare pagina. Non voleva che i loro incontri futuri fossero all’insegna di una distaccata e goffa cortesia, come tra quelli che un tempo erano stati amanti. Non voleva perdere la sua amicizia, che era ancora acerba e imperfetta, ma non per questo meno preziosa.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
December 10, 2018
The more I read from Kelly Bowen, the more I am convinced that her work is right in my lane. This second installment in Devils of Dover series features familiar characters from A Duke in the Night (which I loved!) but this holds up fine as a standalone. Honestly, I expected this installment to be the pinnacle for me. After all, it features a scarred hero, which is usually my catnip. And I did like it. There were just a couple of issues that kept if from being my all-time favorite from this author.

Eli Dawes, the Earl of Rivers, has been missing and assumed dead for years. Badly injured at Waterloo, he was ready to leave his old life behind and hide the disfigurement he endured from an artillery blast. But when solicitors tracked him down at a farm in Belgium after his father’s death, his regret and sense of duty finally drove him home to accept his title. Imagine his surprise to arrive to his family’s country estate to find it rented out to the Haywood family and their school for young ladies.

If you read book one in the series, you’ll remember this is no ordinary finishing school. Clara and Rose Haywood select only special young women with talents often deemed unsuitable for the fairer sex. Medicine, business, serious art. And no one is more serious about art than Rose, herself. Not only does she teach the classes, but she earns a good living creating boudoir paintings, designed often to show the beauty in her subjects. The art pieces–and even the school itself–are about finding valuable outside of traditional model. And it’s just one of the reasons she can so easily see beyond Eli’s scars. It’s a lot harder for Eli, himself, to do the same.

Our hero has been in love with Rose since before the war. Unfortunately, she was engaged to his best friend, Anthony. So rather than break the bro-code, he immersed himself in debauchery with nameless, faceless, other women. He shared a deep friendship with Rose, but nothing else. Now Anthony is dead, and even worse, it turns out the guy never really loved Rose in the first place. So there is nothing holding him back. Nothing but his slow road to rediscovering his worth and some big secret that Rose isn’t sharing.

There were elements I liked about both characters. I appreciated the horror that Eli endured and why he waited so long to go home. I loved that he saw the value in Rose from the very beginning and that he respected her engagement with his friend enough not to interfere. As for Rose, it was awesome that she could see the beauty in what made each person unique and that she made it a mission to help them see the value in themselves. I liked that she was educated and lived by her own choices.

What kept me from loving this book 100%? I felt like Eli’s disfigurement was overlooked a bit too easily. Yes, I know seeing past it was part of who Rose is, but I would have liked a bit more teeth gnashing and angst from Eli about it. There was a little, but not to the degree I would expect with the magnitude of his injury. I’ve seen more drama from a character over a rakish scar. And Rose? You remember how I said she had a big secret? It was decidedly underwhelming. There was a lot of build before the reveal, and then when we “learn” her issue, I felt like it was something we already knew.

I liked revisiting the school and the key players from the last book and how some of the elements ended up folding together. And though the ending was nothing I didn’t expect, it did give me the HEA I needed.

I’m still holding out for a King book, though. He is a highlight in just about every story.

Rating: B

There is also a bonus story at the end. I always appreciate content, but extras in an ebook always mean the real ending of the main story takes me by surprise. (In my Kindle: 71%.)

“Respect for Christmas” by Grace Burrowes tells the story of a renowned courtesan who is trying to put that life behind her. She encounters a baron who treats her like a person and she allows herself to fall in love for the first time in years. The only problem? He is trying to steal something from her. Yes, he makes amends, but I couldn’t invest in this romance knowing the whole time he was going to break her heart. This short was not my cup of tea.

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews344 followers
October 12, 2018
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Teralyn Mitchell

If you’re a fan of historical romance, then Last Night with the Earl is for you. This was such a sweet and easy read that did not leave me emotionally drained, but still featured strong characters and a solid storyline.

Eli Dawes has been dead for the past six years. Or so everyone thought after he didn’t return home after Waterloo. He was severely injured which left him horribly disfigured—half of his face was burned and he lost his right eye. When his father’s solicitors track him down in Belgium and Eli learns that his father passed away—making him the Earl of Rivers—he knows that he must return home. He’s not the same man he was before he left and he’s worried how people will react to him once he returns.

Rose Hayward was shamed and embarrassed six years ago by a man she thought loved her and who she planned to marry. Since then she has stayed away from Society, teaching art at her sister’s school for ladies and taking commissions for special paintings. She has convinced herself that she is fine. She’s gotten over what happened and dealt with her anger at her dead fiancé and one of his best friends, but when that friend shows back up, it all comes flooding back.

Eli climbs into his house in Dover in the middle of the night to avoid having to deal with anyone. However, when he makes it to his old bedroom, he finds that things have changed and the woman he could never have when he was in London before. Rose most definitely remembers Eli and is angry with him for the role she thinks he had in what happened all those years ago…

But when things are cleared up and she learns that Eli had nothing to do with what her fiancé did, the barriers she’s trying to keep between the two of them are slowly wearing away and she has to decide what it is she wants. Eli already knows he wants Rose as much as he did six years ago. The two of them have to figure out how to get over the past to move forward.

I enjoyed that this was a book with two broken characters that had to learn to love themselves and accept what’d happened to them before they could truly be with anyone else. Rose is a fierce, strong, and outspoken woman who is still dealing with crippling anxiety from something that happened years before. She hides behind her brashness and the school so that she doesn’t have to face what she perceives makes her weak. She knows what it is like to feel less than so she tries her best to help Eli and will not let him just accept his fate because he is not perfect anymore. Eli is honourable, head strong, and still dealing with a betrayal much the way Rose was and the changes in his appearance.

It was interesting how Bowen explored what this could do to a person. Rose’s problems were internal while Eli’s were external. However, what was taken from both of them was something essential to them at one point and what made them who they were and is what’s crippling them now. The two of them need each other to help the other see that what they are struggling with can be overcome and I loved that about this story. It was very character driven to the point that the plot was simplistic. Nothing too complex happened outside of the romance between the characters. Some themes and plot points were left unexplored or did not really lend anything to the story. I would have liked something more to come from King taking Eli’s painting and the gift he gave at the end. It was kind of just dropped in the end and it seems suspect that a man would just take a whole art collection to give it back to its rightful owner in the end. There was potential for there to be conflict when it was learned that there was another person who could inherit everything from Eli but again that resolved itself with no conflict.

But even with those things, I did truly enjoy Last Night with the Earl. It was an easy read that will not leave you feeling emotional drained, but will leave you feeling good and swooning over the romance between Rose and Eli.
Profile Image for AnnMarie.
1,144 reviews32 followers
September 21, 2018
Last Night with the Earl is the second book in The Devils of Dover series by Kelly Bowen. Although it's part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone story.

Eli Dawes had the reputation of an arrogant rake before he left for Waterloo. He came back a different man. Wounded in the war he actually stayed in Europe well after it finished, not letting his family know that he was alive. It was only after he was found by somebody sent by his family solicitor who told him his father was dead and he was needed back home to take up his new role as Earl of Rivers, that he did indeed return. The last thing he wants is to take up life in London so he decides to go to his home in Dover, one that has been empty for years apart from a skeleton staff. He doesn't want to face anybody, even staff, so he gains access to the house via a window that he knew he could jimmy open.

Making his way to his rooms in the dark he is shocked to find himself grabbed from behind by a woman who was holding a knife to his neck believing him to be an intruder. That woman turns out to be somebody he has known for years and has secretly loved. A love that he could do nothing about because she was in a relationship with his best friend.

Rose Hayward is that woman. A lot has changed since Eli went to Waterloo including the fact that this house is now rented and used by the Haverhall School for Young Ladies. They offer summer classes teaching young ladies to paint. Rose is one of the teachers. Rose was extremely hurt by her fiance leaving her, and also by Eli, who she thought was her friend, being involved in the break-up and her pain. To say they were both shocked to find themselves in the position they are in now is an understatement, especially as Rose thought that Eli was dead.

What follows is watching as Eli and Rose discover each other again, and how they both have to learn to deal with their demons before they can give in to the strong attraction they are feeling towards each other. Rose has to learn that Eli had nothing to do with the heartbreak she suffered in the past and that Eli is very much a changed man. Eli has to discover exactly how much Rose had suffered and how it changed her in ways he could never have realised.

This book had some beautiful heartfelt moments, not least a scene where Eli and Rose are shown a very rare painting that has Rose fall to her knees with emotion. Or another time when Eli is talking about what happened to him in the war. There are also plenty of light-hearted and romantic moments to keep a good balance in the book and I absolutely loved it. This is a story with a perfect ending which I wholeheartedly recommend.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,279 reviews67 followers
October 7, 2018
"Each painting I do is a personal undertaking for each individual. Each work of art is not meant for public consumption, to be judged and evaluated, measured or mocked by people who do not understand. By those who fear difference because they refuse to open their minds."

This sentence show us that Rose is an artist and a woman who's witty and charming, but not without insecurities. She paint portray; some would be considered scandalous, but that's not the reason why she do it. She wants to bring to light people or what society see as a defect. She's been hurt and shamed by the ton and people she loved, and now, one of this person is back in her life. But he's not the same popular and cocky man she knew before.

Eli Dawes, the fourteen Earl of Rivers was missing and presumed dead at Waterloo. But he's still alive, with lot of scars, both emotional and physical. He was ready to never return, but his father's death and tenacious solicitors have him rethinking his plans. He wants nothing to do with London so instead, he goes to his far-flung estate in Dover. But what's Rose Hayward doing in his old bedroom ? And why is there so many young ladies in his residence ? What is this unconventional School for Young Ladies ?

At page 2, I already knew I would like this book and the smart heroine. Eli and Rose had an interesting history. Not quite friends, but they had the same circle of friends. He was fascinated by her, but she was already promised to one of his friend. When Rose finally learned how mean her fiancé could be, she assumed Eli was the same, while in reality, he was clueless or choose to ignore certain things. So while I wouldn't describe Eli as a tortured hero, he certainly needed to atone for the past and he did it brilliantly. War opened his eyes to injustice, misery and the ugliness of life. Rose's spirit will make him realize other things too and it all made him want to do something to fight it. I like that despite his scars and feelings like he's not totally complete, he doesn't feel sorry for himself for too long. With only a few books, Kelly Bowen carved out a place in my list of favorite authors for creating unconventional love stories in a so much conventional world where we can see characters grow or help others to do so. With Last Night With An Earl, she continue to surprise and delight me. I can't wait to read Harland's story.
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,367 reviews44 followers
October 2, 2018
As with all Kelly Bowen books, I really enjoyed this Devils of Dover development. And the included Grace Burrowes novella, 'Respect for Christmas' was indeed a welcome bonus.
In fact these two together upped my rating from 4 to 5!
Profile Image for Melann.
830 reviews21 followers
July 10, 2020
Un peu fadasse, manque de profondeur, je trouve qu'on passe rapidement sur certaines choses, et beaucoup de facilités.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,248 reviews218 followers
November 8, 2018
Eli Dawes, the Earl of Rivers, was gravely wounded at Waterloo and has stayed away from England ever since. When he returns home, planning to spend his days in countryside seclusion in Dover he encounters Rose Hayward, the former fiance of a friend of Eli's who died at Waterloo. Eli has always been in love with Rose but had considered her off-limits. On the other hand, Rose has hated Eli for years, thinking him complicit in a humiliation that her fiance had executed on her before his departure to war. As the two clash in a series of encounters, some of the truth comes out amid their mutual attraction and despite their individual scars.

This is a more serious Regency novel then I've been reading lately and it tackles some issues well worth addressing, including what happened to returning veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, the waste of talented women simply because of their gender and the horrible impacts that the gossip of English high society of the time could inflict. And it's all highlighted by the extremely fierce and confronting conversations between the leads in this book.

Enjoyable as a romance, and also enjoyable for a different angle on the historical period.
Profile Image for Teresa (Reads_Romance).
292 reviews295 followers
September 15, 2018
***4.5 stars***

I don’t often highlight passages in books. Usually, it’s a complete story that drives my feelings. Last Night with the Earl is an exception. I think I highlighted half of this novel. Eli was one of the most intensely romantic heroes I have read in a while, and I needed him right now. In addition to Eli’s beautiful turn of phrase, the overall prose in this story was lovely and swoon-worthy.

After six years of hiding, Eli, Earl of Rivers is back altered both mentally and physically after his grievous wounds at Waterloo. When he returns to his estate in Dover, he is knocked over (literally) by the one woman he has never been able to forget. Rose, an artist, and a teacher, is wary of Eli with misunderstandings and past hurts standing between them.

As I mentioned, Eli is a wonderful hero. His deep and abiding respect for Rose was apparent throughout the book. His occasional flustered and prudish moments made me laugh. I loved it when Eli would use Rose’s words against her in an argument! Rose was a fascinating heroine. She was fearless on the outside and vulnerable on the inside which made her human. I loved her racy occupation and willingness to help other people see the beauty in themselves.

I do wish this book had been longer. It was a vibrant story with excellent character development, but I wanted more. I would have loved to hear more about Rose and her painting as well as Eli and his reactions to them. I wanted to know more about Rose’s relationship with Eli’s father as well as what happened with Eli went to the Duke about the land at the end. Overall, the story was fabulous, and I can’t wait to go back and read the first book in the series!

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

Find/Follow me on Twitter Instagram and my blog !!
Profile Image for Maida.
Author 13 books442 followers
February 1, 2019
My Mt. TBR claims I have a few Kelly Bowen books there but I haven’t read any of them yet. So, what do I do? Request to read an ARC of Last Night With the Earl. Second in a series so I was jumping blind. Well, my worries were unfounded because I wasn’t lost at all, for this is completely Eli and Rose’s book.

I so admire Kelly’s writing. Her prose is beautiful and the engagement of all the senses takes the reader inside the book. While there is angst, it’s the kind that makes one sympathize with the characters. Not too heavy that it depresses you especially with the inclusion of characters like the aunts who provide a dash of humor.

Eli and Rose produced some serious steam. I didn't expect that, but I love it. I really like both of them. I believe in them and rooted for their love to bring them together. Which it, of course, did but they had to work for it.

I also love the secondary characters, the feminism, and the serious issues discussed.

Lastly, I love "Respect for Christmas" - the bonus story by Grace Burrowes. Another worthy of five stars.
Profile Image for Melanie.
922 reviews29 followers
April 17, 2019
Kelly Bowen continues her Devils of Dover series with the second story of Eli and Rose, a couple who gets a second chance for happily ever after.

Ms. Bowen continues to impress me with complex characters and wonderful prose. The main protagonists are portrayed with many flaws and keep surprising me with their humanity and humor.

This story is heartwarming and at times heartbreaking, making the road to happily ever after that much satisfying.

The narration of Ashford McNab is superb!

Melanie for b2b

Gift ARC provided by the publisher

*Audible purchase
Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
463 reviews20 followers
September 26, 2018
Another title highly anticipated by me that was a disappointment. I was expecting more of a Beauty and the Beast trope but instead this felt closer to a second chance romance. Eli is dark and broody for maybe two chapters before coming out of his shell. And he and Rose begin lusting after each other around chapter two or three which makes a slow read for me. Not sure if I’ll be reading the next title or not.

*An eARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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