Last Night With the Earl is the second book in Kelly Bowen’s The Devils of Dover series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoyed A Duke in the Night, which was the first book in the series.
Rose’s sister was Clara was the heroine of A Duke in the Night. Rose is happy for her sister, but she is perfectly happy to remain at Haverhall School, giving art lessons to young ladies and taking on commissions for personal portraits. However, her plans for a predictable future change when a man from her past quite literally tumbles into the house.
Eli Dawes has not been seen for years, and is presumed to have died during the Battle of Waterloo. He has been hiding on the Continent for a number of years, but his father’s death compels him to return and reluctantly claim the title he has inherited.
Eli was always kind to Rose, but his best friend was once engaged to her, and did something unforgiveable when he left for the war. This feckless young man must have known that he would die, and therefore had no problem unleashing a massive scandal.
In Rose’s opinion, Eli is tainted by association. He feels compelled to prove to Rose that he had nothing to do with his friend’s misdeeds, and he has the opportunity to act upon the attraction he has always felt for Rose. But he feels unworthy of the title he has inherited, and certainly unworthy when it comes to deserving love.
This was an amazing book. There’s quite a bit of angst from both the hero and heroine as they come to terms with their past. I thought that it was an interesting choice to give Rose anxiety issues as a result of the scandal her ex-fiancé created. It’s certainly not something seen very often in the genre, and it made her a stronger character. Despite the more somber tone, there were moments of levity as well- mostly involving the elderly aunties who live at the school.
I would absolutely recommend Last Night With the Earl. I think it functions well enough as a standalone, so readers don’t have to read A Duke in the Night first, although also a good book. Bowen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. As I’ve mentioned, this is the second book that I’ve read by her, but she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I see that the next book will feature Clara and Rose’s brother Hayward, but it is not coming out until 2019. Alas, I am going to have to read her earlier books while I wait to find out what it going to happen next in the series!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.