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.
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.
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