Review: Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen (2018)

Devils of Dover, Book 2

Heat Factor: The sex scenes are excellent and well-integrated 

Character Chemistry: They are both soooooo morally upright, so I guess they are perfect for each other

Plot: Earl presumed dead returns, runs into former friend’s former fiancée, woos her for himself

Overall: Not my favorite of Bowen’s oeuvre

This review will take the form of a dialogue between me and my husband. This conversation did happen, because I make him talk about smut with me sometimes and he’s a good sport about it. 

Me: I am sort of annoyed by this book. Rose and Eli are just too good. Can I run this scenario by you, and you can tell me if I’m being unreasonable?

Husband: Sure. 

Me: Ok, there’s a lot of backstory. Rose and Eli used to be friends, back when she was engaged to Anthony. Then Eli and Anthony went to fight Napoleon, and Anthony betrayed Rose. Rose thought that Eli was complicit in the betrayal, so she’s been harboring a grudge against him for years. And now he’s back, and her family is leasing his country estate, and they find themselves together once again. 

Here’s what the betrayal was: Anthony anonymously published a pamphlet of mean caricatures of the ladies of the ton. It came out right around the same time that he headed off to war. Rose figured that Eli must have known about it, because she got her hands on the original sketches, and a note to Eli was on one of them. Now, Eli did know that some of the sketches existed, but he doesn’t know about the the published collection until Rose tells him. But here’s the kicker – he still blames himself for not intervening, even though he didn’t know about the whole publication plan. He says that he should have made Anthony destroy the drawings even when he thought they were just private drawings shared between friends. Because the drawings were mean, and it’s wrong to be mean.

Husband: Eli’s right. He should take responsibility for them. 

Me: WHAT?!?

Husband: First off, of course he knew about the pamphlet. If it was that big a deal, then there’s no way he couldn’t have known. 

Me: But…but…he clearly states that he didn’t know. 

Husband: He definitely knew. But also, he’s right. If the drawings were that mean and damaging, and Anthony was really a terrible person, then two things. First, it’s on him for not realizing the truth about Anthony. And second, he definitely should have gotten rid of the drawings, especially given that Anthony is so mean. Of course he should feel responsible!

Me: So you’re saying that when my eyes just about rolled out of my head because his overindulgence of guilt, it’s just because I’m cynical and jaded?

Husband: Pretty much. 

Me: But he’s still too moral! What about the fact that he heroically saves a lowly peon on the battlefield in the face of certain death?

Husband: What are you talking about? That just makes him a good romantic hero!

Me: Uuuuuuuuuuugh. 

Husband: But I have a question. In the blurb, it says that Eli is a rake. Everything you’ve said is about him being heroic. What makes him a rake?

Me: Well, he was in love with Rose but Rose was engaged to Anthony, and since he couldn’t have her, he slept around a lot.

Husband: What?!?! I’m not annoyed about him as a heroic figure, but I AM annoyed that he deluded himself about his sexy rumpus. He wanted to be a manslut, and that’s cool. He’s a well-born man in 19th century England! He didn’t need some deep emotional made up reason because he was in love with his best friend’s girl. He can just sleep around because he wants to!

[insert 5 minutes of ranting here]

I’m ejaculating right now because I can’t be with the woman I love because she’s marrying my best friend. Come on!

There you have it folks. 

I think Kelly Bowen is a great writer. I like that she writes unconventional heroines and morally upright heroes. She writes really fabulous, steamy, sex scenes that frequently feel like a breath of fresh air amongst all the virgins who see a penis for the first time that populate Regency Smut. She tackles difficult topics, but her books also includes bits of laugh out loud humor. So while this book didn’t succeed in making my heart glow and my eyes sparkle and my toes tingle, it’s still a decent read.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

So Holly, what IS your favorite of Kelly Bowen’s oeuvre?

Take me to the English Seaside!

I prefer my smut melancholy – give me all the emotions!

3 thoughts on “Review: Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen (2018)”

    1. Thank you! I was struggling to write the review and talking to my husband and when he started ranting about the hero’s stupid reasons for being a rake I knew that this was what needed to happen.


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